“It’s All in How You Raise Them”

It’s tough being a Pit Bull advocate.  Not only are the dogs you love attacked by media hysteria, ignorance, and faulty logic, but the humans behind the dogs are attacked as well.

We’re stereotyped to be criminals, thugs, uneducated; the list goes on and on.

This is why it is so very important that we choose our words wisely.

When a Pit Bull Advocate says, “It’s all in how you raise them”, they mean that dog owners should be loving and responsible toward their pets and that it’s no wonder that some dogs act out given that many are abused, neglected, and otherwise mistreated.

What anti-Pit Bull folks hear though is quite different.

“It’s all in how you raise them” is easily construed to mean that Pit Bulls are inherently dangerous, unstable, and unpredictable so you have to be really careful with how you treat them.

When a Pit Bull Advocate says, “they are only mean if you train them to be that way”, they mean that proper socialization and a safe and loving environment are necessary for any breed of dog to learn to love and trust humans.

What anti-Pit Bull folks hear though is quite different.

“They are only mean if you train them to be that way” is easily twisted to mean that Pit Bulls are just ticking time bombs, waiting for the wrong person to pick them up and teach them to hate people, who they will then chase down the street in roving packs, mauling and terrorizing.

When a Pit Bull Advocate says, “any dog will snap if you provoke it”, they mean that it’s important to be knowledgeable and educated when dealing with dogs of any breed, and that learning dog body language and signs of distress are vital to being safe around dogs.

What anti-Pit Bull folks hear though is quite different.

“Any dog will snap if you provoke it”, can sound like an excuse. As Pit Bull Advocates who know what a truly stable Pit Bull is and should be we should all have a zero tolerance policy for aggression towards humans. This breed never was, and never should be, aggressive towards people and there’s not a single breed standard that allows that kind of behavior. Sadly, Pit Bulls are likely the #1 most abused dog breed in the world. And 99.99% of them will happily lick the hand of their abuser. Do Pit Bulls attack people? Sometimes they do, and so has pretty much every single other breed in existence. We do nothing to further our cause by defending dogs who exhibit behavior that goes against the very nature of the breed.

So I’m proposing that we drop these phrases from our vocabularies. Let’s not give the anti-Pit Bull contingent any further fuel to the fire of hate that we face every single day. Let’s take a deep breath and realize that we are fighting an uphill battle. It took a long time for Pit Bulls to get the bad rap that they have now, and it will take a long time to restore their image to its former glory.

Careful word choice is important to ensure your message is conveyed in the most positive and educated light possible and hopefully, help you change minds along the way.

~Rachele

Public Relations, California APBT Association

www.facebook.com/CaliAPBT

www.twitter.com/CaliAPBT

Owner, Pawsitive Attention Pet Services

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2 Responses to “It’s All in How You Raise Them”

  1. Melanie Forthun says:

    WELL PUT, GREAT WORK. I will use these tips in the future when communicating with people about Pitbulls or advocating for their equality.

  2. admin says:

    Thank you Melanie!