Pit Bull is definitely one of the most misunderstood dog breeds. Many people believe these beautiful dogs are mean spirited and aren’t capable of being “man’s best friend”
It’s a social misconception, that’s been going on for generations.
Overcoming the Fear of a Pit Bull
If you have a Pit Bull you know how sweet they are, yet a family member, or more often than not, one of your neighbors may think otherwise. Have you ever wondered why people actually think negatively about our innocent pets?
I have thought about this a great deal, and have authored this article to help you understand where your neighbor’s fear may have started, and how helping them overcome their fear of Pit Bulls is necessary not only for them, but especially for the sake of your dog!
To get started let’s review some basic information about Pit Bulls.
Why Are People Afraid of a Pit Bull?
In my experience, when people say they don’t like Pit Bulls, they actually mean they are afraid of them. Furthermore, they probably haven’t even met a Pit Bull. Their fear is based on misleading information found online, on TV, or in the news. Remember, fear sells.
The Pit Bull’s Rocky Start
Sadly, throughout history people trained Pit Bulls to fight. Like it or not, we have to acknowledge that “Pittie’s” were bred as a fighting dog. Over time, however, the need for aggressive behavior changed.
Another critical fact is the bad press. Whenever a person gets injured by a dog, the media assumes a Pit Bull was fault. The shocking story is focused around Pit Bull’s even if the breed wasn’t even close to a pit bull. Fear gets ratings, but it feeds the negative social narrative, and fuels the fear.
Something Worth Remembering
Although we Pit Bull lovers want to convince you they are all are all snuggles and love, we do need to remember Pit Bulls are strong, muscular and active dogs. I am the first to admit my sweet, adorable, luv-bug can appear intimidating sometimes!
So honestly, a fear of the breed is understandable if you come face to face with one. Then again, isn’t it normal to be afraid any dog? It is our natural instinct to protect ourselves and fear can keep us from [perceived] danger. We shouldn’t forget any dog breed can be aggressive if not trained properly.
Not All Dogs Are Pit Bulls
Today there are at least five breeds of dogs that are commonly misidentified and lumped into the category of Pit Bull’s: the English bull terrier, the American bulldog, the boxer, the American pit bull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier. “Pitbulls or Pit Bulls” are not recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Our dog “Artemis” is believed to be an American Staffordshire terrier. In any case, it’s best to get ahold of fears and love them for the great doga they actually are. Below are some methods to check out to help your neighbor get over their fear of your dog.
Methods to Overcome the Fear of a Pit Bull
Understand The Fear
First, they need to understand where the fear comes from. What logic is driving the fear? It will surely have a bug somewhere. Rationalization won’t work, they need to recognize the fear and accept it as it is.
According to Psychology Today, “Face your fears whenever you can. Notice the powerful urge to avoid, and don’t give in to it. In most situations, it is worse for you and your life to avoid what you are afraid of instead of facing it. Taking those small, positive, steady steps to banish your fear will do wonders to calm down your brain and your life.”
Watch Out For Negative Comments
Maybe your neighbor have repeatedly heard too many negative comments about Pit Bulls. People tend to assume the worse if they hear it enough. How often have you heard people ask; “Does it bite? Is it friendly? I heard just the other day one attacked a friend of a friend!” These types of comments can be a source of fear.
Baby Steps Are Best
Don’t rush the process, take baby steps. Rushing your neighbor head first could result in a negative impact instead of a positive one.
Start by showing them pictures or letting them watch your pup from a distance. This process will help them become familiar with your pet (and less afraid).
Meet An Adult Pit Bull
If you have a puppy, great, but meeting a Pit Pull puppy won’t help calm fears, they are too cute! Puppies are not scary, so they won’t actually be facing what they are afraid of.
If at all possible, try start with a mellow, adult Pit Bull. You could try inviting them to meet a therapy Pit Bull. This sounds like a lot of trouble but are talking making peace with your neighbor here. It will definitely change their perception and will ultimately benefit you and your dog.
Learn Doggy Language
Again, this may be difficult but your neighbor needs needs to communicate with your dog in a positive way. learn to talk like canines. They need to smile and hold out their hand palm side up. Be sure they talk to them gently, in a soothing voice. You know your “Staffie” will respond in a positive way and this help your neighbor loose their fear.
This process can be a great way to start a wonderful friendship. Pit Bulls love to please their owners (and their neighbors).
Hyper-Active Pit Bull
Many dogs are simply hyper-active. If this is the case they may need help to calm down before meeting a neighbor face-to-face. I recommend a dog approved CBD to help with this. One such provider is Joy Organics. (AD)
This product is made with the same high quality ingredients used in their people products. Personally, it helps our dog Artemis with her separation anxiety when we leave the house.
Time Meet Face to Face
Now it’s time for your neighbor to actually interact physically with your Pittie. Have them start communicating as mentioned earlier and if your dog is calm and eager, have them pet him/her. Petting a dog is a good way to get rid of the fear for good.
Welcome The Love
Prepare your neighbor for an on slough of hugs and kisses. This is why we love our Pit Bulls! You know love, love but your neighbor isn’t warned ahead of time they might feel scared again and there goes all that hard work!
I’m not going to lie, you know Pit Bulls can be overwhelming sometimes. Make sure your neighbors know what makes your dog tick. They will surely come to adore your Pit Bull as much as you do.
A Word From My Sponsor
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