Last Saturday (December 8th) we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the date I met my best friend. Ten years ago, I came home to my new live-in boyfriend (and later, husband) and a little blue-nosed pit bull puppy. She was petite and feisty and upon meeting her, I decided her name would be Jada Pinkett Smith, which we later shortened to “Jada.” Admittedly, it was easier for me to name my dog than it was all three of my children.
Over the past ten years I’ve figured out what makes this breed so special and what you need to know if you have the privilege of parenting one. Here are 8 facts you should know about pit bulls:
They Need To Be Active
“A tired dog is a happy dog.” This quote couldn’t be more true for pit bulls. Pit bulls need a lot of exercise so if you can’t keep this dog consistently active, maybe it’s not the best breed for you. I admit to slacking sometimes on her exercise and it makes me feel terrible.
They’re Not Good Guard Dogs
Many people have the preconceived notion that a pit bull, because of it’s known “aggression”, would make a great guard dog and nothing could be further from the truth. The joke in my family towards Jada is that you could probably break into our home and she’d probably sit on your lap. Pit bulls are actually very friendly, especially with people, and do a bad job of guarding unless specifically trained to do so.
They Are Insanely Affectionate
Another joke we have around Jada is that unless you’re OK with her sitting on top of you, you shouldn’t come over. Pit bulls are probably one of the most affectionate breeds and crave constant attention and affection. I call her my shadow because she’s usually just at my feet and many times I have actually tripped over her. I’m so used to her being right by me at home that the few times she’s out the house for whatever reason, I miss her.
They Will Go Through A Destructive Phase
As a puppy, Jada nearly destroyed all of my shoes, a brand new pair of luxury eye wear I had recently purchased and my desire to be a real dog owner. It was too much to handle and it made me question our decision to become pit bull parents. I figured the best thing we could do was crate her temporarily and I’m glad we did. The phase passed quickly but in its course it caused a lot of damage and I wished I had crated her sooner.
they need to be socialized with other dogs
One of my fondest memories of Jada as a puppy was taking her to Astoria Park so she could play with other dogs. Every night at 9 pm, people would come together with their dogs and they would all play on the field. Not only was she getting exercise and being “socialized” but she also learned how to behave around other dogs. While pit bulls are great with people, they may not be so friendly with other dogs, unless you make the effort to socialize them. I’m proud to say that Jada has never had an altercation with any other dog.
They’re Great With Kids
Pit bulls, prior to having a “bully” reputation, were also known as the “nanny dog” because of their way with children. They are great with kids and love to be playful. That being said, as responsible pit bull owners, we never leave the kids unsupervised with Jada.
They Need A Forever Home
The one thing I totally underestimated and will overstate with anyone who wants a pit bull is to make sure they have a permanent home before adding a pit bull to their family. We got Jada while renting in New York and have moved (since then) about 6 times. Moving in itself sucks. Moving with a pit bull is the worst. Most homeowners will not accept the breed or “large breed dogs” which makes moving very difficult and stressful. In fact, it’s a big reason why so many pit bulls are given up. Giving up our dog was never an option so we’ve always managed to move to a place that would accept her and have been very lucky but if I had to do it over again- I’d choose a more permanent living situation from the beginning.
They Hate To Be Alone
Pit bulls are the type of dogs you don’t want to leave alone for too long. They are in constant need of human connection and if your pit bull is feeling lonely, that’s when they might play mean pranks on you- like destroy your stuff or poop inside your shoes (ask me how I know…).
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