Despite their somewhat questionable reputation, pit bulls can make wonderful companions and loyal family pets. Although the media seems to love painting a picture of pit bulls as vicious and unpredictable animals, the truth is that a well-bred pit bull is loving, friendly and affectionate. The following tips will help to ensure that you are taking the best possible care of your pit bull terrier:
- Check local laws before bringing home your pit bull. Because of their reputation, there are several communities that have enacted laws pertaining to the keeping of pit bulls. These range from stricter leash laws to flat out bans. There is nothing more heartbreaking than bringing home a dog, falling in love, and then finding out that it isn't legal to own a pit bull in your area.
Check with your homeowner's insurance company or landlord to make sure pit bulls are permitted in your home. Again, because of their reputation, some insurance companies will not insure homeowners who own pit bulls, and some landlords will not rent to tenants with pit bulls. For those of us who know and love this loyal breed, these laws may be disheartening, but you are much better off knowing before you bring your new dog home.
Plan on spaying or neutering your pit bull. There are already more dogs in this country than there are homes for them. Don't add to the overpopulation problem. Also, spaying and neutering can decrease your dog's chances of getting several diseases, and cut down on territorial marking or aggression.
Make sure that your pit bull receives regular check-ups and medical care from your veterinarian. Your pit bull will need regular rabies and distemper vaccinations, as well as heartworm preventative, flea and tick preventative and check-ups. Talk to your veterinarian about what is best for your dog.
Start socializing your pit bull as early and as often as possible. As with other breeds, it's important that your pit bull get used to other animals and people from the time he is a young pup.
Take your pit bull to obedience class. Pit bulls are extremely smart and eager to please their people. They usually do well in classes that use positive reinforcement training methods. With this type of training, you'll find that your pit bull is excited to work on training. In fact, these dogs can excel in advanced obedience, agility and other dog sports. A well trained pit bull is an ambassador of the breed, and the best way to close the mouths of their critics.
Make a place in your home and your heart for your pit bull. Pit bulls are very social, people-loving dogs. Pits that are kept outside and away from their people can become anxious and depressed. These loving animals are going to need several hours of your company and attention each day.
Your pit bull will need regular grooming. With their short coats, pit bulls are not big shedders so you can get away with a brushing once a week and an occasional bath. He will also need to have his nails trimmed about once a month or so.
Pit bulls require a great deal of exercise. If you're a couch potato, this is not the breed of dog for you. Pit bulls are exuberant, high energy dogs. You'll need to provide exercise and mental stimulation to help your dog burn off energy each day. Some good ways to provide this for your pit bull include taking long walks or jogs, working on obedience training, providing stimulating toys such as stuffed Kongs or Buster Cubes, or playing fetch.
The most important part of caring for your pit bull is providing him with lots of love. With good care, these fun-loving animals will give you years of entertainment, affection and loyalty.