THE WORLD'S MOST VERSATILE BREED
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!
SEARCH & RESCUE
(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
ing of water rescue and cadaver work. Dakota is in high demand by California authorities
specialized work, and has been deployed to assist the FBI as well as used to search for
Columbia spaceshuttle astronaut's bodies. (R) An active duty SAR pit bull named Puller
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
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.
Hearing Dog "Max" who works for owner T. Houson, Ph.D.
NURSING HOME VISITATION
(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.
(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.