A lot of towns and counties in the United States have passed laws against the ownership of pitbulls because as they put it "pitbulls are a dangerous breed." They see pitbull attacks as the norm and not the exception, but is there any truth to that? The fact is that pitbulls are not even the breed with the most attacks in the country. That distinction goes to the Golden Retriever. It is important however to say that a pit’s bite is stronger and more dangerous, but does that really justify their reputation?
How Many Bites?
In the US there were 38 fatalities caused by dog bites out of which pit bulls caused 23. Though those numbers sound scary, by comparison 197 kids under the age of 12 die each year from gun shots, 2800 people choke to death each year, and an average of ten people in the US drown each year. Though all of those things are bad, the chances of getting killed in a pitbull attack are very small. Still attacks do take place and proper handling of the breed is necessary.
A Bite's PSI
Pitbulls get that reputation because when they do attack there is a good chance that damage will occur. There is a rumor that pitbulls have a bite force that measures 2000 pounds per square inch. That type of force is scary, and it would make pitbulls very scary if it were true. The truth is that there is no study to ever suggest that type of force in a bite. The PSI of an alligator bite measures at 2125, and the pit bull does not even come close to that. Lions measure at a PSI of 950 and the pitbull is still not there. When measured independently the PSI has only measured at 235 which is lower than both a Rottie and a German Shepherd. As far as attacks, the Golden Retriever has more attacks per year than the pitbull.
Facts About Pitbulls
While 235 PSI can cause damage it is not as bad as people make it seem so what is the truth about pits? Pitbulls are very athletic. While they are not at dog shows yet, they are still a breed that people love to own. They are very loyal and loving to the family so the chances of them attacking are rather low. Their temperament is actually on average better than most breeds with the American Temperament Test Society giving pitbulls a passing grade of 83.4%, while other breeds average only 81%. That said, your pitbull will protect you if you are ever in trouble. They are brave and will care more about your safety than theirs. The breed loves to please its humans, but you should know how to handle dogs before you try to adopt one.
When adopting an adult pit bull it is important to have behavioral tests done. That will give you an idea of how much attention the dog will need once you take it home. Most rescue organizations will conduct such tests and give the potential families all the information they need on a specific dog.
The Importance Of Training
An untrained pitbull does not necessarily mean a “bad dog”, but you do need to make sure that you train it and that you are always in control. A dog trainer is the best choice especially if you do not have much experience with the breed. You need to make sure that your pup listens to your commands and that you are the alpha of the pack. These dogs are actually very obedient when trained right because they love to please their owners. Training is not something that happens once and you forget about it. You need to re-enforce training every day and you need to do so in a way that your pooch sees it as a positive experience.
Another thing that is very important is exercise and plenty of it. If you train your dog and you give it enough exercise it will not have the energy to get into trouble. If you can actually go on an hour-long walk before you go to work and one after work you will have the most loving pet that you could ask for. Try to get your family involved in the walks so that the bond becomes stronger with every member of the family. Your dog will be very thankful if you keep that routine and a good long walk never hurt anybody. If you do not have the time to do long walks you may want to hire a dog walking service.
Not The Dog
As much as the reputation would suggest that the pitbull is a dangerous breed, it is not the dog that is the problem; it is the human. If someone uses a pitbull for fighting they will do so to survive, and not because they want to. Pitbulls are usually the most loving dog that you will ever have, but when handled by the wrong human for unscrupulous activities such as dog fighting then they can develop aggression. The good news is that just because someone tortured a pit bull, some rehabilitation programs have shown that no case is completely lost, but they do need a lot of time and patience.
Pits will act the way you train them so if someone wants an attack dog to show to their friends then it is as harmful as any weapon; if however you train them with love then that is what they will give you back. To say that the breed is for everyone would not be factual and training is necessary, but most of the time it is not the dog that is the problem, but rather the person who does not know how to raise them. Dogs are not toys nor should they be trained as weapons. Pitbulls are actually very smart and with a lot of love they will give you the best companionship you could have.