Being a responsible owner simply means being a “good neighbor” not only in your immediate neighborhood, but in the community as well. First and foremost this means you must keep your dog under control at all times!
The following facts must be considered if you own or plan to own an American Pit Bull Terrier:
Although American Pit Bull Terriers with correct temperament are real people lovers, they do not always tolerate other animals, particularly animals they have not been raised with. This is not true to all American Pit Bull Terriers, of course, but responsible owners must believe in Murphy’s Law. . . that if anything can go wrong, it will!
If you choose to build a kennel, it will need a top on it and it must be built of very heavy gauge material, as it is possible for any dog to chew their way out of their kennel. Many people do have a psychological aversion to putting their dog on a chain. However, a proper chain set-up is a very reliable and inexpensive way to keep your dog out of harm’s way, while allowing him more room than most kennels. It is not true that chaining a dog will make it mean. A dog that is teased, mistreated or neglected may become mean, but not simply from being on a chain. American Pit Bull Terriers have been raised for many, many years on chains, just as sled dogs typically are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with chaining your dog as long as it is done properly. However, a chain set-up should never take the place of a fence! If you cannot afford a fence, you cannot afford an American Pit Bull Terrier. The chain is only to keep your dog inside a fence, not a substitution for a fence. Use a chain of sufficient strength. Always provide your dog with plenty of shade and water. Let the dog play in your fenced back yard … but only when you are home and outside with him! Seek help from your local American Pit Bull Terrier Breed club or an American Pit Bull Terrier breeder with questions concerning how to properly keep your dog up.
It is also a fact that NO ONE WANTS YOUR DOG RUNNING LOOSE ON THEIR PROPERTY! It is rude and thoughtless to allow your dog to tear up trash, leave their “calling card”, or run through flowerbeds. Some people have been brainwashed to be afraid of the American Pit Bull Terrier. You are a very poor ambassador for the breed if you let your wonderful, playful, friendly dog go bounding up to someone who is frightened of him in the first place; when your dog is out, he should always be on a leash with an adult at the other end. Do not force your dog on your neighbors. Believe me, if you walk your dog in the neighborhood and he is always under your control and well mannered, people will notice. We have to continually ask ourselves what kind of impression we are making with our American Pit Bull Terrier. If your dog is the type that really has distaste for some other animals and isn’t quiet and calm around others, perhaps you should try to walk him when other neighbors are at work, late in the evening, early in the morning, or someplace less populated. Does this mean that American Pit Bull Terrier owners have to go to some additional trouble … that they have to go out of the way a bit just because of the breed they choose to own? Yes, it does, if we are going to be accepted along with other breeds in our society.
Finally, one of the most important aspects of being a responsible owner is evaluating the temperament of your dog. You must evaluate your dog honestly and objectively. Any reputable breeder will guarantee the temperament of the dogs he sells. If he won’t, go someplace else.
Find a Safe Dog Tester to have your dog evaluated by a professional. As an owner you will learn basic Canine Psychology and Responsible Dog Ownership.
Original article written by Rebecca Shaw published in the Discover the American Pit Bull Terrier Pamphlet