It's Not All About How They're Raised... and that doesn't just apply to Pit Bulls
When it comes to bully breeds, I keep hearing “it’s all about how they’re raised” “no dog is born aggressive” etc.
As a huge bully advocate and being the owner of a Bull Terrier with pedigree from an extremely reputable breeder that I’ve owned from puppy hood and a Pit Bull shelter mutt that I acquired when he was about 1 year old I got great insight in this topic.
It’s an absolute fact that we can’t over write or ignore genetics that come with dog breeds. Natural instincts that they are born with which some may display more than others but they are there.
It's not about how the dogs are raise but about HOW THEY ARE HANDLED AND MANAGED which is totally different from how they are raised.
And that doesn’t apply only to Pit Bull's but to any purpose bred breed. It’s normal that a Heeler or Border Collie will try to herd or bite/nip moving objects to control them, it’s normal that as Anatolian Shepherd or other Life Stock Guarding breed will guard property, potentially people and items from others and it’s normal that even the little Yorkshire Terrier wouldn’t mind killing small animals and get a kick out of it.
My Bull Terrier has an extremely stable temperament that I thank to incredibly good breeding but she would still kill a cat if you give her the opportunity.
My Pity Mutt came to me with a rather unstable temperament but at this point is an extremely enjoyable dog. I have raised him with the utmost care as he came to me with strong resource guarding issues and other behaviour issues.
While those issues have reduced drastically but are genetically imprinted, he has to be handled with a certain amount of care and safety protocols. Funny enough, you wouldn’t know about those issues unless I tell you about it. And that’s all not just because of training, which is a huge part of his raising, but HANDLING AND MANAGEMENT.
Some breeds and dogs in general are more prone to any type of aggressive behaviours.
Actually, many purpose bred dogs are more prone some behaviours that we could consider aggressive since many people would consider a Border Collie trying to control dogs at a dog park aggressive when in reality he's just doing his job.
But there’s many breeds that are naturally prone to be more aggressive and that will include any breed that particularly was bred for a guarding job or hunting/fighting.
So, with these dogs, you can raise them as perfect all you want but unless you know how to also HANDLE AND MANAGE these breeds, all your perfect raising won’t be of any success.
It’s not uncommon for many breeds bred to have more types of aggression to either show the behaviours in puppy hood OR in some cases only once they reach maturity. It could be that your Great Pyrenees is the most lovable dog and at the age of 3 he starts tremendously resource guarding that you have to control.
Your dog could be lovable with all dogs and at the age two he all of a sudden turns and doesn’t like other dogs anymore without having had any bad experience.
The good thing is, that with purpose bred dogs that come from responsible breeders that breed for temperament, behaviours can be a better predicted from the get got and therefore puppies can be placed into the right hands.
But when it comes to mixed breeds, or most "Pit Bulls" that are really just a shelter mutt (there are very few American Pit Bull Terriers that come from reputable breeders with pedigree) behaviours can be unpredictable and can pop up at any time.
So with any dog breed that is naturally a working dog, it’s not all about how they are raised at all. It’s about how they are handled and managed.
If you keep saying “It’s all about how they’re raised” you are putting people in danger by creating a picture that any dog can be owned by anybody as long as they “raise” them properly which is a term that clearly is still misunderstood by the main dog owner population.
About the author:
Simone Krebser - CPDT: Owner and head dog trainer of K9 Possible Dog Training serving the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia from Osoyoos to Penticton and Kelowna. Certified dog trainer, certified pet first aid instructor, member of the IACP, dog crazy and chocolate/cheese addict. “My life revolves around dog’s day in and out and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is my goal to help enhance the lives of all the adventurous and outdoorsy dog owners that crave no limits”