Considering a dog? Reasons to consider a pit bull

Pit bulls have a really bad reputation. They've been used in dogfighting rings. There have been stories about attacks in the news and their size and vocalizations can be very intimidating. With proper treatment, however, they can be really sweet dogs. In case you're considering a dog for your family, here are a few things to consider.

Pit bulls are very strong and protective. If you live in a rural area, they can be very useful for chasing "farm pests" such as raccoons away, but they usually do not damage crops or gardens themselves. They might dig, but they're not any more likely to mess things up than other dogs. They're also excellent guard dogs, but that probably goes without saying.

They can be aggressive toward children if provoked, but so can a lot of other dog breeds. I say this to mean that, contrary to common belief, their use in dogfighting rings does not make them inherently more "fearsome" than other large breeds. A big problem with dogfighting rings is that the dogs are abused and starved to make them more aggressive. This can happen with any dog. Contrary to popular belief, their jaws do not lock when they bite. 

If they're treated well from "puppyhood", they are practically babies when it comes to people they've seen before. My friend's pit bull wouldn't leave me alone when I visited, but that was because she knew I'd pet her and loved animals, not because she wanted to attack me. My sister's dog was similar-he'd bark when she'd answer the door, but all she had to do was shut the door and open it again. Now he was nice because he'd seen me before. Other dogs I've known would not have been so for much longer, if ever.

Remember, every dog is an individual. Whatever the breed, the way a dog is treated plays a huge role in how it behaves toward people and other animals. For this reason, you shouldn't dismiss pits out of hand. Even so, it's important to learn a bit about a dog breed before bringing one into your home.

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