“Hey, Dad, I’ve just adopted a Pit Bull and I’m bringing him home.” Jim’s heart sank. Aren’t they the most dangerous dog in the world? After all, Pit Bulls are killers, right?
Actually, Pit Bulls are not natural-born killers. They are one of the powerful dog breeds, along with German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and a few others. Powerful breeds need an owner who has a lot of energy. If the owner or handler has low energy, the dog knows it and tries to assume the role of pack leader, the dominant role.
With some dog breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers, it will not matter so much if the owner lets the dog take over as leader. The dog will not be as happy and content, but no one’s life will be in jeopardy.
Powerful dog breeds, however, require a strong, high-energy handler. If the dog becomes the leader, he could become a threat to other dogs and even to people.
If you are more of a submissive type, don’t despair. You can learn to be dominant. To start, hold your head up and walk like you own the world. Project a feeling of energy, believing you are in control.
Consistently maintain that stance of having confidence, energy, and leadership. You don’t want to appear weak, even for a minute, and with Pit Bulls and other powerful breeds, it is even more important that you maintain that leadership position.
Some Pit Bulls, as with all dogs, are born submissive. These will be easier for you to dominate. Others, though, are born dominant, and these dogs will require more effort on your part. You will have to take the dominant role as soon as the dog comes to live with you, and be ready to defend that role at all times.
How do you assume that dominant role? It’s not a matter of yelling, beating, or threatening your Pit Bull. In fact, those actions will make you look weak and turn your dog into a neurotic mess. Those are the Pit Bulls who attack people and other dogs.
Being dominant is a matter of internal strength, of confidence, and what Cesar Millan calls “calm-assertive”. He believes there is a shortage of people with that character quality.
Calm-assertive means relaxed but in control. It takes energy, but it’s much better than the alternative – letting the dog become the one in control. If you don’t have the energy to maintain dominance over a powerful breed like a Pit Bull, you need to consider getting a different breed that doesn’t require as much energy.
When a Pit Bull is with an owner who has learned how to lead, he will feel at ease and be happy to follow. Dogs need to be in the submissive role to be happy. That does not mean he needs to be beaten and broken. It means he needs an owner who can assume the position of leader with a calm-assertive, self-confident energy.
Pit Bulls want and need a strong leader. They will not be happy with an owner who does not assume the role of leader. They also need a lot of attention, and someone with the time to thoroughly exercise them every day. A dog worn out from a good run is a happy and content dog.
It’s sad when Pit Bull attacks happen. The attacks could have been easily prevented if Pit Bulls and other powerful breeds were handled by people who knew how to take over as leader and exhibit a calm-assertive energy. There is no need to ban certain dog breeds. There is only a need to train people to be leaders.
Carol Stack enjoys writing about dogs. She lives with her husband, children, four dogs, and seven cats in the United States. Carol and her daughter Christy have created a web site for dog lovers that offers tips on selecting a dog, dog care and dog training. Please visit the site at http://www.christysdogportal.com/
Bred in mid 1800’s England before coming to turn-of-the-century America along with immigration, Pitbulls were the dog to have. Everybody loved them, from parents to farmers to hunters. Countless American