One More Dog-talk

This is mostly the sort of thing I’d do at my home blog, but since I don’t really get comments there I felt like gabbing here this time.

The other part of my dog’s make-up is some kind of bull-terrier. Probably Staffordshire. I made the choice yesterday (it was the morning of our monthly women’s meeting– this one was a tea workshop/tasting. Fascinating.) to say I had adopted a small lab-mix.

Entirely true, this allowed me to describe my new family member without needing to defend her, or my choice, just yet.

Actually, when I happily shared that I had finally gotten the dog one of the church mothers laughed, and said, “I knew she was either going to say she’d gotten a dog or was pregnant. I guess we’ll have the dog first.”

There is one woman in this group who also has a dog, and she seemed to understand my excitement.

“Amy has been praying about this for a long time,” she pointed out.

In a chicken-or-the-egg manner I wonder if this is why Shadow seems to fit so well– the groundwork laid, or the “right” dog provided/picked.

I suppose it’s a combination, though I like Katz’s observations in that article.


In getting a pity-lab I decided to “spurn the world’s opinion,” and in describing her as a lab, I am attempting to save us both from general opprobrium.

I think it’s not unreasonable to assume that those who will recognize (or ask about) the pit in Shadow will be close enough also to notice the permeating sweetness of her disposition.

This may only work until the first person meets her, or it may last longer. I just want to do what I can to get her a fair hearing.

It is this pit-ness that makes me ultra-sensitive to how she responds to newness, and other dogs in particular.


Shadow seems to be aware of people’s perceptions of her. She has reacted fearfully to the three grown-ups that were apprehensive of her but still tried to interact.

Two of these were my parents, to whom I had/have done my best to explain the solidness and general positivity of the breed locally (we have no dogfighting in our area, so the breed’s popularity is as a pet, and the majority of temperaments are representative of that.)

Shadow was very fearful of them and avoided contact until after we all went on a long walk.

By the end of that, both the dog and my parents seemed to have seen enough to make them all comfortable, and all parted on fine terms.

The most interesting thing to me about that walk was my husband did all the dog handling. A few times he jogged with her reluctant participation.

“This is a great dog to jog with,” he came back to tell us. “Makes me feel really fast: I’m out-running a dog!

His analysis when we got home:

“I don’t care what her breed is, or how they’re ‘supposed’ to act. She’s done better in two-days with minimal training than [our last lab-mix] did” in four months.

My dog-resistant husband is letting himself be won-over. That is saying a great deal.

I could make a list (but I won’t here) about all the specific ways Shadow is meshing with our family, and they greatly outweigh the small things we’re working around.

As nervous as I feel, and it is just a little (I can’t help it– can one totally ignore the pounding to mistrust?), I see God graciously re-confirming this is a proper match, and want to work carefully to secure that.

This entry was posted in Pets.

5 thoughts on “One More Dog-talk

  1. Well, technically, Nicole, the breed only has to be taught to be aggressive the way border collies are taught to herd, or huskies are taught to pull.

    That is to say, more or less depending o the dog.

    They really were designed initially to be animal-aggressive (very different from human-aggressive), as they were the canine gladiators– taking on animals as large as bears.

    Selective breeding in recent generations, and proper upbringing, has done much to curb/redirect the original purposes of the breed, but as the roots still exist it would be irresponsible of me to “trust” any dog too much.

    I did a lot of research last fall and winter about pits, and recomend anyone interested in one to do the same.

    My most recent analogy about pits parallels them with discipline:
    I know what mine is like, and trust mine with my kids. I don’t trust a stranger’s, and don’t expect a stranger to trust mine. It takes knowing the individual dog/situation. The value of our children demands no less.

    All that being said, I do trust Shadow (I wouldn’t have adopted her otherwise) but it will be a long and varied time before I trust her off-leash with another dog. I need to know her more, first.

    I think this is prudence with any breed, but especially important with pit mixes.

    Think of it as knowing alcoholism runs in your family. You may or may not have the propensity to become an alcoholic, but you may never know until too late.

    No one should be careless with alcohol, but those with familial red-flags should be especially cautious.

    It is a dangerous pride that encourages us take risks with so much at stake.

  2. Jay’s observation when I described my first analogy above (comparing various breeds of dog) seemed worth sharing:

    “Trainers of these animals are organizing instinct, not developing a skill set from scratch.”


    A very good informational site about pits is Pit Bull Rescue Central, a site that dwells as much on the practicalities (including risks) of PB ownership as the defense and positives of it.

    As a group attempting to forever-place, it is in their best interest to have the interested parties fully informed.

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