Thinking Of Getting A Pit Bull? Important Things To Consider!

Getting A Pit Bull Needs To Be A Carefully Made Decision

Photo of a Pit bull.
Photo of a Pit bull. | Source

Deciding To Add A Pit Bull To Your Family Should Be A Thoughtful Decision

With a friend of ours recently acquiring a four week old pit bull puppy, my first reaction was aww, how cute! After looking into it a bit more, however, I have come to believe that the decision to become an owner and parent of a pit bull should be a very well thought out decision, and one that is not simply based upon "how cute!"

All puppies and baby animals begin as darling little creatures that are hard for many people to resist! This particular puppy is still being fed by a bottle, which led me to believe that she probably shouldn't have been sold at such a young age. As it turns out, she was bought from a breeder who was only into breeding these dogs for profit. Normally, a puppy should be eight weeks old before they are sold or adopted out.

Consider Both Sides Of The Argument Before Making A Decision

In the case of our friend, she basically only read things on the Internet that said that pit bulls have unfairly gotten a bad reputation and that they make wonderful family dogs. She had read about how they grow up to be great dogs if they are well-loved and treated well. She believes that if they are raised right, they will be fine.

To look at and to believe only one side of the argument is not really the best way to go into a decision of this magnitude. It is better to consider the other side as well. There are people out there who either have been bitten or attacked, or both, or who know someone who has. They tell quite a different story. Some of these people were seriously injured or even killed by what they thought was a wonderful family pet. I've heard stories from those who said that their dog simply "snapped" before attacking them.

I think it's like the animal trainers who work in zoos or in shows that use animals. When you consider the famous Siegfried and Roy show in Las Vegas, they thought they knew the animals they worked with daily very well and that being attacked couldn't happen, or at least that the chances were very small. In their case, it did happen and Roy was viciously attacked by a tiger in October of 2003, ending the pair's career.

The most important thing to be aware of is that these are animals. Even though they have become domesticated and share our homes with us, they still have that bit of animal instinct inside of them that I don't believe will ever be taken out of them. Even giving them love and treating them well can't take away the basic animal instinct that has been bred into them for centuries. Caution is advised, even in the case of family pets that you think you know very well. When pets are near babies or children, for example, they should always be supervised by an adult for safety reasons.

What Causes The Horrific Injuries When An Attack Happens?

The biggest thing that causes injury to people or animals is the method pit bulls use instinctively when they bite. It is sometimes called a grab and shake method. They have very powerful jaws and have a very strong grip on anything they grab with their teeth. They hold the item and shake it as a matter of instinct. When it comes to the bones and soft tissue of people or animals, this causes extreme injuries that are known as mauling.

The things that make the injuries even worse are the traits that pit bulls have as a result of genetics. They grab onto something with a tenaciousness that is almost unmatched in the animal world. Sharks biting style comes in a close second to the strength and tenaciousness of the grip of the pit bull. When a pit bull is involved in holding the object it has bitten, they often show a very heightened level of pain tolerance, making it easier for them to continue to attack even when someone tries to stop them.

In a very sobering fact, at least 50 percent of those attacked by a pit bull were the owner of the dog or a member of the owners family. This is a pretty strong example of thinking that you know your pet very well, but when nature takes over, it can be unstoppable. I read someplace that you can't "love" the natural instinct out of a pit bull. You can raise them in a warm, loving environment, just to have something snap inside the dog one day.

There are also pit bull owners who have been successful in owning their dog for the average lifespan of the dog, which is about 14 years, without problems. I honestly think it may just be the luck of the draw in the type of puppy you get. I believe genetics plays a part in whether the dog you get will be well-behaved and an exemplary family pet. The thing you have to consider before getting one is, do you want to take that chance and hope for the best?

Consider Both Financial Costs And Time Costs

Pit bulls need to be socialized at a very young age, and from what I have read, they need to be socialized again when they become about the age of an adolescent. Obedience lessons are a highly advised thing when deciding to own a pit bull. I've also read that pit bulls are extremely intelligent and learn quickly, making the obedience training you get for them very effective.

You must also establish at a very young age that YOU are the pack leader. You must be able to enforce discipline and codes of acceptable behavior or be ready for potentially unpleasant consequences. They must know that you are in charge, from puppy-hood on.

Another important consideration is that the average pit bull needs daily exercise due to high energy levels. This can vary according to the dog's temperament. The average, however, is about an hour of exercise to three hours a day. You have to be willing to make this type of a commitment. If you live a couch potato lifestyle and your idea of walking the dog is walking him 1/2 block and back home again, the pit bull may not do well. They can become frustrated, which can lead to problems.

Veterinary expenses are a given. You should get the pit bull spayed or neutered, and possibly micro-chipped for identification purposes. And of course, they need to have all the shots that are recommended by your veterinarian.

You also need to think about food expenses. Pit bulls can grow to be pretty large dogs and can have a very healthy appetite. With the very short hair they have, grooming is usually not a problem and shedding is normally not a problem either.

One expense that many potential owners are not even aware of is this. If you decide to rent a home or apartment in the future, you may not be able to rent a place if you intend to move into it with a pit bull. It depends on where you decide to rent and the rules in place for the rental property. In another important consideration, if you own a home, you have to tell the company that provides your homeowners insurance that you have brought a pit bull into your home.

The insurance company will normally increase homeowners insurance rates when they learn of your new pet. This is because pit bulls are considered to be a high risk. That is, if the homeowners insurance company even covers pit bull expenses.

In some cases, the insurance company will make the owner sign papers saying that insurance will not cover any damages caused by the pit bull (i.e. medical and lawsuit expenses of anyone who is injured, or expenses from law suits if another person's pet is injured or killed). If this happens, you as the owner of the pit bull take on all financial responsibility if your pet injures or kills a person or an animal.

On the other hand, if you keep it a secret that you've added a pit bull to your home and the insurance company finds out about it, they may cancel your policy and you could have difficulty obtaining another policy. It's important to check your insurance companies policies and be aware of them. Being aware is better than being blindsided later if something happens.

Make The Decision After Careful And Thoughtful Consideration

I am not an expert on pit bulls. I may have made errors in writing this, even though I tried to be as accurate as possible.

I believe that the decision to bring a pit bull into the home should be a very carefully considered decision, and not one that is made on a whim or a feeling of "how cute, I want one," the way that one of our friends decided to get their pit bull puppy.

I think the owners of a pit bull should know what they are getting into. If you are an experienced dog owner and are willing to invest the time and effort in training your dog to be a great citizen, then you will probably be fine.

If, however, you are an inexperienced dog owner, or even a first time owner, I've tried to cover some things to think about before making your decision. There is information out there about the best dog breeds for your personality type. The best dogs are those that are well matched with their owners personalities and temperaments. I believe it's always best to make a wise, well-thought out decision.

Author Bio

I have been a freelance writer since 2010 for websites like HubPages, Textbroker, BlogMutt and Constant Content. I was also a newspaper writer for a high school newspaper, and I wrote magazine articles for a country music magazine called Neon Rainbow from September 2001 through June of 2003.

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Comments 6 comments

Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob Bamberg 19 months ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

Hi Kathy, long time, no see! It's nice to connect with you again!

The fact that your friend was sold a 4 week old puppy, the breed doesn't matter, is one of the reasons why many veterinarians no longer put any faith in what breeders say or recommend.

To be a breeder, all you need is a pregnant education, no certification, no minimum competency standards, no oversight...anyone can call themselves a breeder. It sounds like your friend's breeder operates a puppy mill style business.

Pretty much everything you wrote about pit bulls applies to almost any dog. The way a dog is trained and maintained has almost everything to do with the temperament it eventually adopts.

Pit bulls aren't the only dogs to be black listed by insurance companies; there are a number of them. And if you lie to your insurance company about the breed of dog you have, you could be prosecuted.

Up until a few years ago, many communities, counties or states were adopting Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) which prohibited certain breeds of dogs within their borders. Pit bulls were a favorite target. At that point the only defenders of dogs facing prejudice were shelter workers, who were largely dismissed as bighearted, but misguided, by the politicians.

Then, veterinarians, behaviorists, trainers and other professionals (even the American Bar Association) started testifying at public hearings in favor of those dogs, pointing out that no breed is inherently vicious. Suddenly, states were enacting legislation that prohibited cities and towns from adopting BSL.

I wrote a hub about the subject, and at the time of the writing, 13 states had prohibited BSL and the list is growing.

A good first step is to talk with a veterinarian. They'll provide good guidance and can refer you to reliable sources of information as well. If people know groomers, dog walkers, pet photographers or others who work with a variety of animals, they're good resources also. And, be careful of the's loaded with good information, true...but it's also loaded with bad information.

You raised a most important point in that folks need to do some homework before acquiring any pet. Voted up and useful.

KathyH profile image

KathyH 19 months ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thank you so much, Bob! Your kind words mean so much and you've added so much to this hub! It's great to connect with you again, too! I'm planning to write here more often and will read your hub, too.

Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob Bamberg 19 months ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

Thanks, Kathy. I'm trying to get more active again here, also. I work 6 days a week now, so I don't have that much time. There sure is a lot to write about, though.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 19 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

Hi Kathy, thanks for this interesting article.

Bob was spot on when he discussed the problems with breeders. They may have sold the puppy so young because the mother did not have enough milk and they did not want to bottle feed, or they just didn't want to keep all the puppies around.

Anyway, tell your friends to read about bite inhibition since the pup was taken away too early and never learned it from her mother. Also, make sure they socialize the puppy with other dogs every day so that he does not grow up with dog-dog aggression.

They are great dogs (I have one) but those new owners need to do things right, from the start!

KathyH profile image

KathyH 19 months ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Great advice, DrMark1961! Thanks so much! I think you're right. She did tell me that the mother dog looked thin, and they thought maybe that's why the pups were sold so young. Thank you, I'll be sure to tell her!

Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 15 months ago from San Diego California

As a letter carrier I have a natural aversion to Pit Bulls. That said, I have seen some wonderful pit bulls, young and old, that are so docile they get chased around by the Chihuahua in the yard. The difference is in upbringing, I believe, and probably also in genetics, as you have suggested. There are most certainly breeders who deliberately engender aggressive characteristics in these animals to sell them to drug dealers, dogfight rings, and the like. Great hub.

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