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KNOW THE REAL STORY.  MEET THE FAMILY PIT BULL/STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER

Knowing that Poodles were originally bred as Macho Hunting Dogs and that the little black and white Boston Terriers were the original fighting dogs for their ''vicious' nature, there is reason for folks nowadays to recognize the REAL PIT BULL or American Staffordshire Terrier has taken on an incorrect 'label' simply based on ignorance.

For over 50 years, people who only saw the German Shepherd as such a fierce supporter and would not get near one.  Now they are known as wonderful family pets.  Rottweilers and Dobermans can be incredible guard dogs, but they must be trained to be so.  Their natural personality is as simple, quiet and loving as any dog could be.  Yet, American's fear these animals based on two Hollywood films in the late 60's and early 70's portraying them as uncontrollable and vicious killers.  Much like the  'cat and dog' syndrome that so many still feel is true. ''You can't have a dog and a cat in the same family atmosphere'' is so very false. They are likely basing that on the famous cartoon series they watched as children and nobody has ever taken the time to explain the actual truth.

THE WORLD'S MOST VERSATILE BREED
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Owning a pit bull opens up a wide range of sports and activities which you and your dog can play at. Even though the pit bull was bred with baiting and fighting in mind, bulldogs have traditionally been utilitarian working dogs useful around farms and homes. While a friendly, confident breed, many are natural guardian dogs, keeping loved ones safe without excessive aggression. The bulldog's athletic body, keen intelligence and legendary tenacity make him capable of amazing feats of strength and endurance. Its important to find a sport or activity which both you and the dog enjoy. Some dogs are naturally better at some activities than others. For instance, some dogs are extremely avid on the springpole while others refuse to mouth it. Some enjoy weight pulling while other dogs dislike it intensely. The challenge is to expose your dog to all the activities available in your area and see which appeals to you both - after all, you are partners!

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SEARCH & RESCUE
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(L)Aboard this helicopter is famous search and rescue trainer Kris Crawford and one of her
three SAR pit bulls (all rescues!). This is Dakota, a dog who has mastered the special train-
ing of water rescue and cadaver work. Dakota is in high demand by California authorities for
specialized work, and has been deployed to assist the FBI as well as used to search for the
Columbia spaceshuttle astronaut's bodies. (R) An active duty SAR pit bull named Puller watches
his handler closely during a working dog workshop.
Pit bulls have excelled at this important and interesting activity. It is an exacting hobby, and requires lots of money, lots of time, lots of slogging through tough terrain, and more importantly it requires exceptionally dedicated dogs and people. To learn more about the use of pit bulls in search & rescue, visit Kris Crawford's outstanding site at: http://www.forpitssake.org/To get involved contact your local law enforcement office to contact local SAR groups. Only dogs which are completely under control and of sound temperament will be welcome. Below is a portion of a news article describing Crawford's thoughts on why bulldogs are so suitable for SAR.
Woman Casts Pit Bulls in a New Light
David Read - Tracy Press
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SERVICE DOGS
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A pit bull service dog assists this young man who lost both his legs. No other
breed offers such strong, stable ability in such a compact package. With the
help of his dog this man attends college and cares for his wife and young child.
Pit bulls have been used as service dogs for the physically challenged for over two decades now. They work as hearing assistant dogs, physical assistant dogs, and in a variety of other capacities. They offer stability, strength and a willing nature, all necessary for the serious task of service dog. For information on service dogs, contact The Delta Society.
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Hearing Dog "Max" who works for owner T. Houson, Ph.D.

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NURSING HOME VISITATION
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(L) Dread, a Schutzhund III dog, visits with a nursing home resident.
It has been my experience that many elderly people remember pit bulls
from their childhood, and have no fear of them.

This is something you can do either alone or with a group. Well mannered dogs are welcomed in a variety of care giving institutions. The dogs are either taken from room to room, allowed to wander at large, or are taken to a main room where they performed tricks to amuse the residents. Needless to say, a rowdy, hyper dog will not work in this situation, as the elderly are susceptible to scratches and bruising. My own experience was that my more sensitive dogs became depressed after an hour of working, and needed a break. It can be heartbreaking work. I much more enjoyed putting on little shows for retirement homes, which you can easily do with your dogs and kids. The residents love it. Information can be obtained from the Delta Society.

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OBEDIENCE
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(L) Pat Cook and OTCh Rollo, UD, without doubt the best bully obedience team
ever to grace the ring. Rollo is quite a dog; tough, stable, beautiful and a rescue
dog! (R) Amy Morris and Petey show the world what an obedience trained bulldog
should look like. Petey multitasks; he competed at the IWPA Nationals his first
year pulling is preparing to compete in obedience.
Any pit bull can be shown in obedience, papers or not. In fact, most of the serious dog sports (agility, weight pull, ring, SchH) do not require a dog to have papers. AKC obedience trials are open to all AKC Am Staffs, and any dog which can pass the ILP board as looking enough like an Am Staff to pass as one. In order for a pit bull to receive an ILP it must be spayed or neutered and conform to the AKC American Staff standard. That means red nose dogs are out. You can try, but probably will be discriminated against. UKC trials are open to any dog registered with the UKC, and I believe they have an ILP like program also. Schutzhund clubs now offer obedience only titles also.
In obedience trials dog and handler are required to work as a team, demonstrating the dog's ability to obey commands, and to be a useful canine citizen. In my experience pit bulls respond best to positive training methods. See the links page for links to pure positive training sites.