Monday, May 23, 2011

Adding another Pit Bull to your family

Some things to consider before you decide if this is the right decision for all involved.  Not all Pit Bulls can live with other dogs especially of the same breed. Some may prefer being the lone dog while others are more accepting.

Your current Pit Bull should be well behaved. In other words they should already have a good grasp on simple commands and behavior that you approve of. He or she should already display dog friendly traits, good temperament, and overall good behavior. If this is not the case a new arrival may follow in their misbehaving footsteps. If you think it’s hard now to keep one high energy dog under control you haven’t seen anything yet. Consider it a kind of doggie see doggie do. Of course this is great if your current dog is a model example of what a Pit Bull should be.

Take into consideration the dogs and their ages. Are they puppies, adults, or somewhere in between? With most dogs it may be recommended to have them close in age. Many feel that this will encourage them to be friends and playmates. However, some Pit Bull experts say this is not the case here. It’s suggested that the greater the age difference the better chance of reducing dog on dog conflicts. Of course it depends on the dogs involved.

Do you have your mind set on a specific gender? Take into consideration that not all Pit Bulls of the same sex get along. Often opposite sex pairings work out better. Don’t forget whatever pairing you decide they both need to be spayed or neutered. Not only does it obviously prevent unwanted results but it can help reduce other issues. Also it’s suggested that litter mates not be paired up. Often times they can become very competitive. Yes sibling rivalry can even exist in the dog world.  

Refresh yourself on your dog’s body language. Can you tell if your dog is only playing? How does she or he sound and act? Are you aware that not all dogs will share the same traits? If dogs are involved in an intense match against each other, do you know whether it’s fun or bullying? Dogs vary when it comes to how they react when playing. Some are very loud and rambunctious while others are less excitable. The riled up ones can be too intense for the more mellow ones. Be sure to always supervise these interactions. Break them up If things seem to be getting out of control or could quickly head that way. Do whatever it takes whether it’s a phrase, command, or noise. Teach your dogs a specific “time out” code. This simple gesture could prove to be invaluable. Whatever you do don’t attempt to physically break up the situation yourself. Even dogs that know better get into what is sometimes called “the zone.” They may end up turning on you without realizing what they are doing. To prevent any accidents always break up intense interactions in a way that protects you from this possibility.

Once you’ve become a multiple dog family you’ll need to split up your time. It’s important to have individual one on one time. Use this time for walking, exercise, and training. Of course don’t forget to take the opportunity to spoil each with some extra love and attention.  

Are you prepared financially? Beyond any adoption or purchase fees there’s also the long term to consider. When stocking up on the flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives and even food you’ll have to consider the extra costs. Also don’t forget the regular vet exams, vaccinations, and any other medical issues.

Sometimes dogs end up showing hostility towards their new friend later down the road. If a conflict does arise are you prepared? Are you familiar with a valuable tool known as “crate and rotate”? [Be on the watch for a future article about this topic.]

For more thoughts on multi Pit Bull homes I suggest you check out the article two pit bulls is a bad idea. It came from an outstanding website. The author has two females. (That’s often considered the worse combo.] He goes on to explain why he tells others not to get more then one. His reasons make a lot of sense. Some were covered here but he also brings up a few other points. It’d be very beneficial to check out what he and others - that have traveled down this road already - have to say.

One final note…

As a Pit Bull lover you’re already aware of the mixed views towards our beloved breed.  Sadly your own family and friends may not agree or approve of your choosing to add yet another “vicious beast” to your family.  Acquaintances and neighbors may also share in the disapproval.  It’s possible that you’ll hear horror stories, misconception, and myths. Though already being a pittie owner this reaction should be something you’re used to. Sadly it doesn’t get any easier.

The only way to combat this is being proactive. Prove that you’re a responsible Pit Bull owner and ambassador of the breed. Make sure your dogs are trained and socialized. Teach them to be confident and affection in every situation. This could go a long way to prove they are great dogs. No matter the reactions you get be calm and do try your best to educate. Teach the anti pit bull people why many of their preconceived notions don’t have any merit. Remind everyone why these beautiful, loving, and loyal dogs have the reputations that they do.  Explain what we pibble lovers mean when we say “blame the deed not the breed”

Whether you have one Pibble or many one thing is for certain you’ll have a best friend like no other.

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