August 18, 2015 | Posted in Doctor Sigmund Furry Series

Who’s-the-Real-Bully-400PXDear Dr. Furry,

Why has the pit bull been given such a bad rap?

Dennis, Tulsa, OK


Dear Dennis,

The short answer to this question is probably because its owner has a bad rap and hasn’t done his/her job of socializing their little guy or gal as a puppy!

See? It all stems from childhood.

Poor little pit bull puppies are not born with a bad rap. Their owners are, in large part, responsible for the dog’s reputation. Observe an unruly pooch and observe the owner’s behavior or demeanor; and you’ll have your answer.

People at the ASPCA have offered the following on pit bulls and some of their masters:

“His (the pit bull’s) intimidating appearance has made him attractive to people looking for a macho status symbol, and this popularity has encouraged unscrupulous breeders to produce puppies without maintaining the pit bull’s typical good nature with people. To make matters worse, irresponsible owners interested in presenting a tough image often encourage their pit bulls to behave aggressively. If a pit bull does bite, he’s far more likely to inflict serious injuries than most other breeds, simply because of his size and strength. A pit bull bite is also far more likely to draw media attention. Many dogs of other breeds bite people, but these incidents almost always go unreported. They’re just not exciting enough fodder for television and print.”

The ASPCA stresses socializing a dog from puppyhood  on, which includes teaching him how to interact, play and communicate with members of its own species, dogs of different breeds and of course, humans.

The ASPCA’s experts go on to say:

Pit bull puppies may need even more socialization than other breeds. Numerous positive social experiences can teach a pit bull puppy to enjoy the company of other dogs. Frequent social interaction may also help pit bull puppies modify their natural play style, which is often more rough-and-tumble than that of other breeds. Some pit bulls, like individuals of many breeds, only remain friendly with dogs they meet during puppyhood—which is another great reason to make sure your pit bull puppy makes plenty of friends. Your dog can either fuel pit bull myths or become an ambassador for his breed. It’s all up to you and the way you handle him.”

By the way, Dennis. Do you remember Petey, the little dog with the ring around his right eye in The Little Rascals television series? He was a pit bull.

Read more about pit bulls here: pit-bulls