Sharing one’s life with a dog can be a rewarding experience. It’s important, though, to be familiar with breed traits before making that commitment.
Bully breeds— the Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, boxer, bullmastiff and several others – are becoming popular, but their reputation also scares some people away. If you’re thinking about adopting one of these spirited creatures, there are several things to consider first.
To start, there are several municipalities that do not allow people to own these dog breeds, so check to make sure yours isn’t one of them. You also have to consider whether your homeowner’s insurance covers the breed you want. If you rent, check with your landlord. Once you’ve passed those hurdles, think about the dog’s needs against your lifestyle, as well as the dog’s likely temperament against yours.
With the right owner and training, bully breeds can make wonderful, loving pets; but they need a lot of attention and training. More than anything else, it’s vital that you establish dominance so your dog knows who’s in charge. This is necessary with any dog, but when the dog is as strong and energetic as bully breeds tend to be, it’s even more so.
Bully breeds are especially active. They need a lot of exercise and attention. These are not dogs that are content to lie around the house sleeping, so if you don’t have the time or energy to take them for walks and play every day, rethink adopting one. Lack of activity can lead to destructive tendencies, such as eating your furniture or tearing apart your other possessions.
If you have a fenced yard, be certain the fence is high enough that the dog can’t jump over it and secure enough that it can’t open the gate or tunnel beneath, as they are notorious escape artists. Due to their reputation in the general public, it’s essential that you always have control over your restrained bully. The last thing you want is for your dog – no matter how sweet and friendly he is – to scare someone, leading to possible legal problems or issues with your neighbors. Bullies are large, strong and energetic and can be frightening to people who aren’t familiar with them.
If you aren’t familiar with the breed but still think it’s a good match for you or your family, speak with a reputable trainer or a veterinarian about how to train your new companion so that he’s a model citizen and a joy to have in your home. In short, while you should never adopt any animal on a whim, bully breeds require a bit more time, attention and research. Be certain you’re interested in the breed for the right reasons and that you’re prepared to take on the responsibility.