I will admit I was perhaps a bit naïve when I started down the pit bull advocacy road. I knew that a lot of people had preconceived notions about pit bull type dogs and that there was a great deal of misinformation floating around the internet but I didn’t know how deeply ingrained in the national psyche many of the myths and misconceptions had become over the past couple of decades.

Without question, there are many true stories that have fueled the anti-pit bull fire but I believe that the media and even the animal welfare network contributed to the focus being on the dogs and not on the human end of the equation. Those of us who love our blocky-headed pups have a responsibility to our dogs and to our communities to refocus the conversation on what we can do as humans to help pit bulls. Here are 7 ways you can help pit bulls in your community today:

1. Foster or Adopt a Pit Bull

Ways to help pit bulls in your community

Rosie, my first foster

Find a local rescue group or shelter and foster or adopt a pit bull. So many shelters across the country are still overcrowded and often have to euthanize for space. Most often, bully breed dogs are the first to lose their lives due to overcrowding regardless of temperament. Even when they are on the adoption floor, the terrible myths and misconceptions about pit bull type dogs, mean they are often overlooked by potential adopters. When you foster a pit bull, it is almost impossible not to become an advocate on their behalf.

2. Advocate against breed specific legislation

Work with a local pit bull advocacy group to help overturn breed specific legislation (BSL). BSL has not been proven to increase community safety. In fact, I would argue that by taking the focus off human responsibility and placing it on the breed of dog, we actually make communities less safe by missing the opportunity to educate communities about responsible ownership. Work to overturn breed-specific legislation and to introduce breed-neutral dangerous dog laws. Legislation that holds reckless, irresponsible owners accountable, will do far more to increase safety that banning any breed of dog.  #endbsl

 

7 ways you can help pit bulls in your community today! Join the conversation. #endbsl Click To Tweet

3. Socialize & Train

Proper positive training and socialization are critical for any dog. Whether it’s fair or not, our blocky headed buddies are highly scrutinized and held to a higher behavior standard in all situations. This makes it even more important to train your pit bull and provide opportunities for safe interaction with other dogs and with people on a regular basis. Socializing means exposing your pit bull to new experiences like riding in the car, attending doggie playgroups, visiting pet-friendly establishments, and attending dog-friendly events in your community. 

4. Volunteer

Find a pit bull advocacy group and support their efforts to help educate and bring resources to communities in need by becoming a volunteer. Outreach and education activities can make a huge difference in helping to counteract the negative stereotypes about pit bull type dogs.

charitable donations can be monetary, volunteer-based or in-kind

Volunteering in the rain!

 

5. Support Each Other

Piper (l) with her brother, Pip. Can you believe these two are from the same litter?!?

So often, I hear fellow dog lovers make nasty comments about a specific breed or size of dog. You may be drawn to a particular type or size of dog but the reality is that we all love our dogs, regardless of breed so try to be supportive of one another by addressing all the stereotypes you hear about dogs. For example, I have many friends with small dogs who are constantly on the receiving end of negative comments about little dogs being “nasty” or “yappy” etc. While I currently have two labs and a pit bull, when I hear people make these disparaging comments, I believe I have an obligation to address the stereotype by by gently educating and advocating in an effort to dispel myths and misconceptions. It doesn’t help any dog if you remain silent.

6. Spay & Neuter

I can’t stress this one enough. It is estimated that of the 1.2 million dogs euthanized each year, 40% are pit bull type dogs. That is LITERALLY hundreds of thousands. Spaying and neutering your dog (regardless of breed) reduces the chances of an unwanted litter and reduces the number of dogs being surrendered to shelters. There are low cost spay and neuter options available in most communities. Search for an affordable clinic near you.

7. Be a Responsible Pet Guardian

Responsible ownership starts with you.

Above all else, be a responsible pet parent by properly training and caring for your dog. Regardless of your dog’s DNA, being a responsible pet parent means learning about dog behavior and body language, enrolling your dog in training classes, socializing your dog, providing veterinary care, spaying or neutering your dog, observing leash laws and generally helping your dog be a canine good citizen. At the end of the day, pit bulls are just dogs and I believe the pit bull “problem” is really a human problem. We have to take responsibility for our dogs and we have to come together as a community to help provide the resources that all dog parents need to do right by the dogs they love.

 

We have to come together as communities to help provide the resources that all dog parents need… Click To Tweet

What suggestions do you have for helping pit bulls?

Join the conversation and share your comments below.

About the Author:

Alison Reder

38 Comments

  1. Tonya Wilhelm March 10, 2017 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Really great tips. Being a responsible pet parent is so important for many reasons. And fosters, they are the best!

    • SimonDawg March 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks! Fosters are indeed the best 🙂

  2. DearMishu March 10, 2017 at 8:37 am - Reply

    Omg I think one of the most popular post on my twitter is a pit bull smiling, with love. Ppl loved that!!

    • SimonDawg March 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      Pit bull smiles are pretty hard to resist 🙂

  3. The Daily Pip March 10, 2017 at 9:00 am - Reply

    I really hope to foster again. I have a bad history of keeping animals I foster, which I know kind of defeats the purpose, but eventually hope to foster again.

    P.S.: Do you know the blog Two Pitties in the City? They don’t blog as much anymore because they have a child and new business, but they have done wonders at changing the perception of pitties at least here in Chicago. They used to be pretty high profile and were at many events. If you don’t know them, check out their facebook page and blog. I don’t think they are part of BlogPaws, but really great people to know.

    • SimonDawg March 12, 2017 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      Yes…there is that whole issue with foster failing 😉 Thank you for the recommendation to check out Two Pitties in the City!

  4. The Daily Pip March 10, 2017 at 9:01 am - Reply
  5. Lola The Rescued Cat March 10, 2017 at 11:46 am - Reply

    I think pit bulls are beautiful dogs who are very misunderstood. If I had a house and could have a dog, I would definitely look for a rescued pit. Nice post.

  6. Hindy Pearson March 10, 2017 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Excellent post!! I have written a few articles about BSL because it makes me furious. How an entire “breed” of dogs can be slaughtered for no reason other than how they look is mind boggling. The media gets ahold of a story and turns it into a witchhunt. They get the public so riled up they’re out for blood, and that blood is the dog. There’s barely a mention (and I’m being generous) about the irresponsible owners who bought them to create a tough image, or neglect and abuse them so badly they turn on whoever walks by. I’m so glad you’re helping to raise awareness, and your tips are just the trick.

    • SimonDawg March 12, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      Thank you! Sadly, your “witch hunt” analogy is spot on and it is the dogs who suffer every single time. Until human beings start accepting responsibility for their actions (or lack of actions), either by choice or by legislation, nothing will change.

  7. Tenacious Little Terrier March 11, 2017 at 12:37 am - Reply

    There are programs that offer spay and neuter programs specifically for pit bulls by us. And a rescue makes special videos for the pit bulls up for adoption.

    • SimonDawg March 12, 2017 at 5:55 pm - Reply

      Videos are a great tool for increasing adoption rates for pit bulls! Glad to hear you have affordable and accessible spay/neuter programs in your area.

  8. Jane March 11, 2017 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    I love all the tips you have listed! You’ve done a wonderful job with this and it will be so helpful to the pit bull community. I definitely agree that it is everyone’s responsibility to be good pet guardians and to support each other. It takes an entire community to raise awareness and end BSL.

  9. Cathy Armato March 11, 2017 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    It broke my heart to see Pit Bull and Pit Bull mix dogs shunned by potential adopters. I was really excited when the rare Pit Bull lovers came to the shelter to rescue a Pit Bull. Those people are the best! You make great points here. If you have a well socialized Pit, take them everywhere. The more people see good Pitbulls the better.
    Cathy Armato recently posted…Irish Dogs That Say Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!My Profile

    • Alison Reder March 12, 2017 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      It makes me happy to see so many shelters using “mixed breed” instead of “pit bull” on adoption cards because I think it gives them a better chance of at least having more meet-n-greets.

  10. Talent Hounds March 12, 2017 at 11:10 am - Reply

    So important to spay & neuter and to train and socialize all breeds well. Agree it is usually a human problem with most dogs – my rescue Pug is reactive and so are several chihuahuas I know but they get away with a lot because they are small/manageable and their teeth and jaws are so small. Pit Bulls need legal advocacy in Ontario.

    • Alison Reder March 12, 2017 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      You have some amazing people doing pit bull advocacy work up in Ontario! Let me know if you want me to connect you 🙂

  11. Joely Smith March 12, 2017 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Piper and Pip are gorgeous! Our Brandy (RIP) was part Pit Bull part Jack Russel. LOL She sure was a funny girl. So full of energy, so very loyal. Excitable but never mean, She did not like to see people leave so she barked a little when people were headed out the door. You provided excellent information.
    Joely Smith recently posted…Once Upon An Orchard Mile – My Spring / Summer WishlistMy Profile

    • Alison Reder March 12, 2017 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Joely! Dogs are so funny, aren’t they? They all have their unique little quirks. I love that Brandy would bark a “goodbye” 🙂 Glad you liked the post.

  12. Karen Harrison March 12, 2017 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    The city I live in has BSL in place, unfortunately. Other cities around here don’t, though. I hate the discrimination against pitties. It’s about trying to educate people that NOT all pitties are bad, each dog is different. Not everyone is willing to listen, though. To be honest, I’ve had bad experiences with other breeds, but never a pittie. Learn the facts before judging!

    • Alison Reder March 12, 2017 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      Sadly, there are several places here in Colorado that also have BSL in place so the work to educate at the local level is critical. Hopefully, we can start focusing on effective legislation that will hold humans accountable and will address dangerous dogs, regardless of breed.

  13. Kitty Cat Chronicles March 12, 2017 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    It’s unfortunate that pit bulls have such a bad reputation. Discrimination or stereotyping isn’t cool, whether it’s against humans or animals. Thanks for these great tips. I know sometimes it’s hard to see that we can all make a difference, but your tips are things that we can all do to help!

    • Alison Reder March 12, 2017 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much. I really appreciate the feedback. 🙂

  14. Bryn Nowell March 12, 2017 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    Perfectly put. Pit bull type dogs are a collection of breeds that have received so much negativity. They are dogs, like any other. Which means they need training, socialization, love, and the owner’s ability to gauge their animal’s specific quirks. That is no different from any other dog. Also, fangirl moment, now that I can say “Gah, I MET PIPER AND I LOVE HER!”a

    • Alison Reder March 12, 2017 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Exactly! They are just dogs! And, Piper loves you too!! Most definitely a mutual love-fest 🙂

  15. Sweet Purrfections March 12, 2017 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Two of your recommendations really stood out to me: Support each other and be a responsible owner. I think the support for each other not only goes for different breeds of dogs, but support for different species. Too often I’ve heard dog people share their dislike for cats and vice versa.

    • Alison Reder March 12, 2017 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      You are so right. I grew up with dogs and cats and have had both as an adult. I don’t understand why some folks feel the need to choose. It’s not an “either,or” situation. Give Truffle and Brulee kisses from me 🙂

  16. Robin March 12, 2017 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    All of the pitbulls I know are really sweet dogs! If I had to choose a word to describe them, it wouldn’t be “dangerous” it would be something more like “lazy”. LOL They seem to love taking naps. I hope that one day people will decide to look at pitbulls for what they really are – ordinary dogs. It is sad that humans have done such horrible things with this breed and then gave the dogs the reputation of being mean. Your suggestions are great!

    • Alison Reder March 12, 2017 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      Ha! “Lazy” definitely describes many of the pit bulls I’ve known and they are often power nappers (and power snorers). 😉 I share your hope! I’m glad you liked the suggestions. Thanks!

  17. Beth March 13, 2017 at 1:00 am - Reply

    These are such great tips! I really love how you advocate for Pit bulls and offer us easy ways to make a difference too. I know that there a lot of people who love pitties. I hadn’t thought that calling a dog a pit bull instead of mixed breed might limit the people who would consider adopting it.

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder March 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you liked the tips! 🙂

  18. Sagide March 13, 2017 at 3:42 am - Reply

    Great post. Pit bulls are really lovely dogs with a big heart. It’s sad sometimes they get a bad reputation.

  19. Jenna Hughson March 13, 2017 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Love love LOVE these pooches!

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder March 17, 2017 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks!

  20. Seville at Nerissa's Life March 16, 2017 at 11:39 am - Reply

    CONGRATULATIONS! Congratulations on your bein’ a finalist in the Nose-to-Nose Awards. purrs

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder March 17, 2017 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Congratulations to you too! See you at the conference in May!

Leave A Comment

CommentLuv badge