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Monday, May 14, 2012

American Pit Bull

Having a Pit Bull is one of the greatest experiences of my life. These dogs are not for everyone and it is a good idea to educate yourself on the breed before making your purchase or adopting. This video is a clip from the discovery channel that showcases the American Pit Bull. They are truly a strong tenacious breed that requires patience and lots of love. They are painted by the press as demon dogs, however we are quick to forget they are a part of the American fabric.

The video shows the history of the breed. Many people do not understand how important they were to Americans. they also talk about the negative press and breed bans in different cities. I like the way they present the breed, except when they talk about snapping. They touch on responsible dog ownership and the importance of socialization at a young age. the video also shows the anatomy of the Pit Bull. This was interesting how they develop their jaw strength. I really enjoyed this video and the positive messages about rescuing Pit Bulls from shelters.

Our Story

My partner is not in love with my dog as I am. About two years ago while in a transition in my life I decided that I wanted to have something to take care of. I knew that I could not handle a baby at this point in my life, so I decided I wanted a puppy. Besides we lived in the most dog-friendly place around and I felt the neighborhood needed another member.

A friend of mine had told me about a litter of pit-bulls. They were from a good local breeder that she was interested in. The breeder was trying to get rid of the litter and had reduced the price dramatically, and if I wanted one. When I arrived at the breeders house there was one puppy, which was the runt on the litter staying away from the pack. I knew when I saw her that she was the puppy for me. She came up to me and picked up her head and looked into my soul. I couldn't resist, I had to have her. She was just the cutest little thing you have ever seen. The first thing she did when I picked her up is take her paw and put it on my cheek. I took some time and discussed with the owners the whole process of growing the puppies and the temperament of the parents which were there on the premise.

However, there was one problem, I lived with partner who did not want a dog and had told me on several occasions that we should not get a dog because we are never home. Plus, we lived in a one-bedroom condo and there was no space for a dog to stay. I put his advisement to the side and decided to bring this puppy home anyway and deal with the ramifications later. I had always grew up with dogs and I felt was financially secure and had a good home to offer. She would be my little princess. I would need to go shopping and made a list of supplies to pick up on the way home.

1. Puppy Food - I decided to keep her on the puppy food the breeder had started her on, so I wouldn't upset her tummy.

2. Toys - Puppies like to chew so I decided to get her a couple different Kong Toys.

3. A crate - I purchased a large crate (puppy apartment) with a divider so I could adjust as she grew. My thought was she was going to grow fast and I would not have to keep replacing the crates.

4. Puppy Wee-Wee Pads - This would be so she would have a spot to go when we were not home.

5. Carpet Cleaner- An absolute must if you have carpet, just make sure it is safe for puppies.

6. Fleece Blankets - I picked up some extra blankets to keep her warm that were only hers. I made sure they were washable.

7. Flea and Tick medicine for puppies - I also purchased a bottle of puppy shampoo.

8. Food Bowls - I bought small ones for food and water.

9. Collar and Leash - I wanted her to get used to a collar as soon as possible, and walking on a leash.

10. Nail Clipper and File - Puppies nails grow fast so I wanted to be prepared.

I put my new puppy, which I named Mischa in an old cat carrier and set on my journey home. When I arrived home my partners car was already there and my heart started to pump. I was scared that he would make me take the dog back. So I went inside to see what kind of mood he was in and found him asleep. I thought great, this was my opportunity to get the dog inside. i brought her in and put the carrier in the kitchen where I could set up some training pads and gates.

When he woke up he was like “ What the hell is this....”. When he is mad he calls me by my last name, he was mad and I must have heard my last name a million times. He told me to get the dog out of the house. I fought him for about an hour before I said I would take her back. Well I figured I would soften him up over time and we would be able keep her. He likes to act stone cold sometimes but, I know he is a big teddy bear.

One day I saw my partner and Mischa playing on the floor. At that moment I knew that Mischa would be a part of our family forever. He eventually came around and realized we should have done this earlier. He likes to take her out in the car and to the park. Mischa comes everywhere with us, she is such a good dog and really likes to run the roads. She is perfect for our busy lifestyle, and we love her more and more every day. And while I am writing this he is out walking Mischa happy as can be.

If Mischa could talk....

If Mischa could talk she would tell me I love you everyday. Instead of using those desperate eyes, trying to communicate what she wants, she would start every sentence with "Mom, can we...?" I know every evening she would tell me after our walk that she wants to go for a ride in the car. She would tell me that she wants to go for a hamburger at the local drive-thru. Then she would tell me that she wants to go to the park to visit her friends from play group. She would tell me she likes to play with the funny looking donut toy and teasing her friends.

Every morning Mischa tries to communicate me, if she could talk, it would be easier for her. She does a good job trying to tell me things with her suggestive behavior. In the morning before I leave for work and right after our morning walk she sits in the hallway with those sad eyes, just looking at me. When I grab my keys she picks up her head in hopes I say let's go to work. If she could suggest that everyday was a good day to go to work. She would also convince me that she would be on her best behavior.

Before bed, she would request something to chew on like a meat bone. Sometimes I think that she would tell me to be quiet because she has to rest up for the next day. She might even complain she is a light sleeper and suffers from sleep apnea. Mischa snores so loud the neighbors can hear it. She would also request a quick tummy rub before retiring to her bed for the evening. You have to love dogs!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Find Maddy!

Home on a Monday and I had just let Mischa out on the porch to eat her bone, when I heard my neighbor yelling out for her dog, Maddy. I had hoped she would find Maddy on their back porch, sitting there waiting to be let back in the house. The calls within seconds were becoming louder and more frantic, when I heard my neighbor say to Mischa on the porch “help me Mischa, find Maddy”. I knew that moment it was different from the others and called Mischa inside and told her to “find Maddy!” We went outside and immediately began to walk the neighborhood calling out for the lost little beagle. Mischa was walking and sniffing the ground and ignoring the other dogs around. When I went to turn up the hill Mischa pulled back on the leash. I thought she was being stubborn, but little did I know she had a plan to find her friend. Mischa began to walk in the opposite direction towards the property fence. There was an old door in the fence that was cracked open. Mischa led me through the fence into my neighbor’s yard.

She kept walking and sniffing the ground for about a mile while I called for the missing dog. Then out of nowhere I heard that distinctive beagle yell. It was Maddy! Mischa walked all the way to the end of the street. Just then a man came walking out and asked if I was looking for a dog. He said he heard the dog barking in the back and allowed me access to his property. Mischa and I walked all the way to back of his property and called for little Maddy. We did not hear anything, but Mischa kept pulling into a patch of dense woods where I could not go. I was afraid to let her off the leash in fear that she would lose herself. I pulled her back and said let’s go.

I thought Maddy had moved once she heard us calling her, so I returned to the main road. Once we were up there we heard her again, by this time I had called her owner to meet me and she had arrived in the car. We went down to where we heard Maddy, back to that man’s property and she was found only about 15 feet from where Mischa had been trying to pull into the woods the first time. Maddy’s leash was stuck on an old stone wall and she was immobile. Maddy was about a mile away from the house when she was found. Mischa had never been trained to search and rescue, but that day she understood what she needed to do. Once we were back in our yard Mischa began to run around with a big smile on her face as to tell the world “I found Maddy and she’s safe!” I am so proud to be a pit bull parent….

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Interview with Animal Farm Foundation Volunteer

For this interview with an Animal Farm Foundation volunteer I wanted to explore the experience of helping out at the Foundation and gain knowledge of the process and techniques used. The reason I chose a volunteer is I hope to inspire others to take action and to volunteer with shelter dogs, especially Pit Bulls.

The truth is many organizations could not survive without their faithful volunteers. Many times volunteers out number the paid staff. It is important to remember that volunteers do their work out of good will and deserve much respect. While many Executive Directors receive the credit for excellent work, it is the actual volunteer/workers that are the true hero's. They are truly an asset to any organization.

The way I connected with volunteer Vivian is through the Foundation. She has been a top volunteer for a while and has a lot of experience working with Pit Bulls. Previously, I have discussed the Animal Farm Foundation in my blog and wrote about their website and work they do with Pit Bulls. To view the blog on the Foundation click here. Below is the interview with Vivian. Thanks to Vivian for making time to educate me and you on the process of volunteering at the Foundation.

If you are interested in volunteering for the AFF after reading this interview, please click here.

Q: How long have you volunteered for the Animal Farm Foundation?

A: From March 2009 to September 2011

Q: What was the process you went through to become a volunteer?

A: Filled out an application

Q: How long have you been volunteering?

A: I’ve always done some sort of volunteering on and off in my life.  I think the first volunteering I did was as a teenager for Meals on Wheels.

Q: How do you feel about the volunteer program at the Animal Farm Foundation?

A: I think they have one of the better volunteer programs that I have dealt with.  They foster a relationship with their volunteers by providing training and education and giving acknowledgement and praise for the services volunteers provide.  They work with the volunteer as an individual to make the best use of that person’s time and abilities.

Q: Can you explain your role as a volunteer in the dogs training, life, adoption, etc?

A: I began volunteering at AFF as a way to use my community service leave by spending a day per week over a few months. During that time I did a lot of dog walking!  I would walk 4 dogs a day, one at a time for a mile or so each, giving them the opportunity to get out of the kennel, have some leash training and human companionship.  I also did some computer work for them consolidating and updating contact lists, etc.  They also hold training classes for the shelter dogs and I would work with one of the dogs in the class.  Lastly, if I had extra time, I would spend some snuggle time with one of the dogs.

After spending time there and getting to know some of the dogs I discovered that one particular dog had been there over a year, probably because she needed to find a home without other animals.  I had a particular fondness for this dog, as did many of the staff, and asked if I could begin to bring her along to work with me one day a week to give her time away from the kennel and work on her training in an environment that would give her more exposure to people.  Not long after that she was adopted and I continued bringing a dog to work one day a week.  At first it was a different dog each week which was more difficult because it was an introduction to something new for them each week requiring more time and energy from me, taking me away from my work.  I then requested to work with the same dog each week until they were adopted and that worked better. I also fostered dogs at home some of the time.

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer at this organization?

A: I was interested in Pit Bull rescue, they are conveniently located, and they were willing to work with my skills and availability.

Q: What best do you like about the volunteer work?

A: I like the satisfaction of knowing that I can lend a helping hand to someone whether they are human or animal. 

Q: Did it require special training, classes, or certification to work with the dogs?

A: I didn’t have to go through formal training, but I chose to learn their methods of working with the dogs so that the dogs had consistency.  AFF also invited the volunteers to attend any programs for other organizations and the community that were held at their facility.  It also helped that I have a lifetime of working with and training dogs.

Q. Do you own your own Pit Bull?

A: Yes, and he is a rescue from Philadelphia.

Q: What has been your experience with the dogs from the Foundation?

A: They have all been great dogs to work with and on more than one occasion it was difficult not to adopt one for myself.  I have never worked with a dog that made me uncomfortable, but I have worked with some dogs that had some issues to work around.

Q: Where are some of the places you take the dogs?

A: Mostly to work. Some of the dogs that we fostered at home went hiking with us and joined us when we were out in the community.

Q: What is the most challenging about the volunteer work at the Animal Farm Foundation?

A: Dealing with my allergy to dogs.

Q: Do you have any advice for Pit Bull owners or important things to know as an owner?

A: I personally feel that every dog owner, not just Pit Bull owners, should have a well mannered, well trained dog.  A dog that has a job and knows what their role is in the household is a happy dog.  Having a well mannered dog is even more important for owners of Pit Bulls because of the exploitation these dogs have had to endure.  I encourage owners to strive to have their dog be an ambassador to the breed and work to end discrimination against these dogs.  I’m not trying to say that every dog will be the socially perfect, but if you have a dog with less desirable traits for social situations then owners need to be sure that the dog isn’t put into a situation that makes him uncomfortable or where other people or dogs could be at risk.

Pit Bulls are great dogs but they are not for everyone, as with any other breed of dog the personality of the owner should be compatible with the personality of the dog.  Each dog should be looked at as an individual.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Pit Bulls Lovers Blog

The Pit Bulls Lovers Blog was established in 2004 by Jason Mann. Jason gives excellent real life advice on everything that has to do with Pits from training tips to owning a Pit Bull and the responsibility that comes along with it. His blog offers many links to other blogs and websites that have a Pit Bull theme. He is a top blogger that has advertising on his page. One post in particular I really enjoyed about responsible ownership because of his no holds bar attitude. This is extremely important to all Pit Bull owners to have a well behaved trusted Pit Bull. Like the saying says one bad apple spoils the bunch. This has been true for all Pits in the media.

Jason, I would like to thank you for all of your effort to promote responsible ownership. The post is a thoughtful and provocative list of responsible dog ownership. I believe that it is our duty to change the image of the Pit-Bull breed by presenting well behaved dogs in our communities. Having my dog as a trusted valued member of the community is important. Mischa and I work hard to be ambassadors for all Pits. It is a passion of mine to educate neighbors and friends on what a joy the breed brings to my life and others. Training is ongoing and not one day passes where there was no lesson learned. Reaching out to local organizations can be a source of help as well. Many ASPCA’s have a referral list of local organizations that may work with Pit owners for free training and behavior modification. Responsible dog ownership is about taking action!
As an excellent source of information for Pit Bull owners, I can see why it can help define their destiny as responsible owners. It offers support to inexperienced pit owners and is a great place to start if you are entertaining the thought of purchasing or adopting a Pit Bull.

How to Ride Safe in the Car

Many people when getting ready to go on a trip to the local store or friend’s house bring their dogs along for the ride. One thing to remember is to make sure your dog is secured in the car or truck. This will protect your dog, family, and yourself from possible injury if an accident occurs. Here are some tips on how to ride safely in the car. Make sure your dog is comfortably restrained in the backseat of the car at all times using a safety harness or other protective device. It is important that the dog does not ride in the front seat for safety reasons. This also will cause fewer distractions to the driver. Also, if you drive a hatchback of some sort, remember that the very back of the car is vulnerable. Known as the crumble zone, this is not a safe place to keep the dog. Many like to travel with their dog in a crate, but remember to secure the crate with straps to protect it from becoming a projectile. A pet tube can also be used to protect the dog in the back seat. This can also help a dog who is prone to bark at objects or other animals outside the car. With many options out on the market to keep your pet safe and pending legislation in many states to secure pets while in a vehicle, it is a good time to start.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Animal Farm Foundation

The Animal Farm Foundation is located in Dutchess County of New York State. The  link will take you to a Foundation that is well known for their work with Pit-Bull type dogs. The links on the home page will show the work they do which includes rescue, training, and re-homing the Pit Bull dogs to loving homes. Working hard to match the dogs with the right owners to create a lasting relationship keeps their adoption rates high. By adding videos of the dogs along with attractive pictures under the available dogs link is a creative idea. Under the about us section the Foundation tells a story where they receive their dogs from. Some of the dogs come from abuse cases and shelters. Under the about us and home page they have narratives that explain how they work training the dogs by taking them out into the community and having volunteers take the dogs home. This helps the dogs experience life as it would be with an active owner. Under the education link, the Foundation showcases their work in our communities to educate people on responsible dog ownership and dispel myths on Pit-Bulls. They even offer free classes to the community of Pit-Bull owners in our area. They work feverishly with other shelters and professionals on Pit-Bull adoption strategies, public relations, and dog training. Under the grants tab they have a list of grant programs for low cost spay and neuter for Pits as well as AKC Good Citizen incentives. The Foundation offers training to Pit-Bulls for becoming service dogs to help people in need. Media has long painted the Pit-Bull as a demon breed and one organization that leads the charge in the Hudson Valley to change the Pit-Bull image is the Animal Farm Foundation. They have an organized website with a portal to like them on Facebook. Amazingly, they have over 14,000 likes to their community page.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easy Homemade Treats

Treating your dogs to a special homemade treat is not only a way to show your love and devotion, but a way to show that you care about their well being. With so many processed treats on the market, it is hard to keep track of ingredients. Plus, all natural treats can be very pricey. Taking time to make your own treats will make your four legged companion happy and save you some money.

Making homemade treats is an experiment, and like every experiment there is trial and error. My advice is to start with something easy like frozen yogurt pops. Try to build off of what your dog likes already and slowly add new ingredients as you get more comfortable with the recipes. For Mischa, she loves peanut butter, so I made her some homemade peanut butter dog biscuits, which were very easy to make. They even create great gifts for people that have dogs around holidays and doggy birthdays. There are many great recipes on the Internet for dog treats. Just remember to watch sugar and sodium levels. If you don't cook or bake don't worry. There are many treats for dogs you can make that do not require an oven. One of my favorite things to make in the summer time is flavored ice cubes. They are easy to make and are a refreshing treat for your dog. Making them takes five minutes. Flavor some water with low sodium chicken or beef broth and throw it in the freezer. Mischa even likes plain ice cubes if I don't have any on hand. You can purchase a bright colored ice tray so your family knows that there is something special in the freezer for your dog.  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trimming Nails

Mischa's nails grow fairly rapidly and taking her to the groomer every two weeks is no longer in my budget and I have decided to practice nail trimming with her. I quickly found that this is not easy or fun to do. It requires a boat load of patience and determination. First, I make sure she is calm and lying down. Taking her for a long walk or having a play date will drain the dogs energy. Second, I present the clippers to her letting her smell them and check them out. Using the standard clippers works fine and they are widely available at all pet stores. Third, about 15 minutes later I return to her with the clippers and some treats. After I present the clippers, I give her a treat to reinforce that the clippers are a positive thing and when they come out she gets a treat. Fourth, about 15 minutes later I return to her with the clippers and treats repeating step three. Then I proceed to start with her back paws and only clipped one nail. Then I praised her and gave her a treat, then walked away.

Below I have included a short video on proper nail trimming and locating the quick.

The next day, I repeated steps one through three and at step four was able to cut ten nails before she started to fuss too much. I am always careful not to cut too much nail or hit the quick, which is a vein in the nail. If your dog has black nails it is best to trim more frequently and only take a little at a time off. Just snipping a little at the end of the nail will work. Working with your dog will create trust and in the end it will prove to be time well spent. Some dogs will not need this much reinforcement but it is always good practice to introduce new equipment to them with something positive. Remember, lots of praise and a reward for your brave companion.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Finding the Right Dog Trainer

Looking for the right trainer for your dog can be a tough task. I found that asking other dog owners for recommendations is a good start. Often they have a good sense of the trainer and can tell you what they liked and disliked about the training techniques. This is a place to start thinking about what your goals are with your dog and match up the strengths with the trainer. Many people offer basic training or obedience classes for dogs. I personally have wasted money on these classes finding that they really do not understand dogs and most of all I get the feeling that the trainers feel most dog owners are inexperienced. The most you get out of some of the classes are basic training like sit, stay, lay down and some socialization around other dogs.

Dogs are somehow all different and learn differently. Even their personalities and traits are not the same and may require more work in some areas. Training that is helpful in the home like crate training, barking issues, chewing issues, and coming when called are rarely taught in the basic classes. However, we still waste our money because we feel it is something to do with our dogs. For example, I have found the technique used in these classes by bribing the dog with a treat does not work. Eventually your dog will figure out when you have a treat and when you don’t and choose to listen when they feel you are carrying an award. This is why you should do more research into what the trainers offer and the various techniques they use. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find out if they are for you and your four legged companion. A good trainer is transparent and will welcome any questions you should have and address your concerns. They would even let you attend a class or training session to observe their techniques. Individual attention is important when training your dog. If you decide to go to a class, make sure the classes are small so the trainer can try different techniques with your dog, if needed. Most of all, a good trainer should make training practical to everyday life for you and your dog. Learning to communicate and work with your dogs natural instincts is important. Take your time looking for the right trainer to help your dog to become a valued and trusted member of your community.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

5 Must Haves When Taking Your Dog to Work

More and more workplaces are allowing our four legged friends to join us at the office or in our cubicles. The dog friendly workplace helps boost morale and can make the office a happier place. Clients and employees enjoy being greeted by our friends. The following are five must haves when taking your dog to work. Get ready to pack your bag!

1. Make sure you bring comfortable bedding like a bed or blankets from home. This will ensure they have a place to rest and calm down from all the excitement. Plus, they will have something familiar from home and a safe place to call their own.

2. Bring lots of treats with you for your dog and his/her friends at the workplace. A small container full of soft yummy treats will make you the hit of the office. Remember to reward good behavior and not the bad.

3. Food and water are the basic essentials to bring with you. Usually, there is water available so remember to bring a bowl. Food can be more creative by freezing rice and meat mixture with some soft canned food in an over sized Kong toy. This will make feeding time fun and keep your dog busy while you complete that next task.

4. Remember to bring leashes with you both long and short. Depending where you work a fun romp outside on a long leash is a nice time to get some exercise. If needed, you can put your dog on the long leash to keep them next to you in your cubicle. A short leash can be used to go to and from meetings or between buildings.  

5. Toys will complete this list and create some play time with you and your dog. Tug toys, chew bones, balls, and Kong's work well in the office space. Usually, if you bring a small basket it can serve as a toy repository and at the end of the day you have a place to put the collected toys if you do not plan on taking them home.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bone Marrow for Dogs

Mischa loves to chew on marrow bones which offer many hours of chew time and most of all, a fun treat. I give her raw cow shin bones which you can find at your grocery store or local butcher shop. They come in large sizes or the butcher can slice them thin for smaller dogs. The reason I give them to her raw is to keep the nutrients in the marrow. When the bones are cooked they can break and splinter. They taste better to the dog if they are raw as well. When buying a pack at the store they usually go for about $1.00 a pound. A pack of two large bones is about three dollars, which is fairly cheap considering the price of dog treats. Since the marrow is rich in fats, I only give Mischa one bone a week. During the summer I put them in the freezer. This allows the dogs to have a yummy frozen treat and they last a lot longer in the freezer than in the fridge. If your dog has any type of discomfort or pain associated with their teeth, this may not be the treat for them.  Please make sure to monitor your dogs with the bones and after a day they should be thrown away. If your dog is a master at cleaning the bones you can pack them with treats and soft dog food and refreeze for more yummy treats or a meal on the go.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sporn Mesh Control Harness

Like many dogs, Mischa had the problem of leash pulling. I notice this especially when she was excited or could not wait to greet another dog, or even chase squirrels. I spoke with many pit-bull owners about the pulling and recieved some feedback on ideas that I was not crazy about. Some of the ideas for the behavior were the choke chain, pinch collar, and noise makers attached to the leash. One owner recommended the sporn mesh control harness, which sounded more humane than the other options. I decided to give it a try and instantly fell in love.  
This harness can be found at a variety of pet supply stores and even at Wal-Mart. It has a simple design and your dog will find this comfortable to wear. The mesh harness is made out of a breathable nylon fabric and has extra padded support under the front legs. This harness gives you more contol over dog and provides less stress for you when on walks. When your dog goes to pull, pressure is applied to the rear of their front legs which is uncomfortable for the dog. This harness worked magic for my 85lb strong, young dog. Paired with a retractable leash, it makes for a great time when on the trail or at the park. As soon as I stop, she stops immediatly. I no longer feel like my arm is going to detach from the socket when she pulls and this allows us to enjoy our walks together.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mischa’s Favorite Spot

Having a dog that loves to chew can be hard for an owner. Finding just the right bedding to ensure your dog is comfortable can be a challenge with a chewer. I can tell you, a lot of money was spent on buying fancy beds for my girl. It was a waste of money. I found she would rip them open and de-stuff them a couple days after the purchase. On top of the price, there was a mess to clean up, and finding out that some of the stuffing ended up in the digestive track of my dog was a little unnerving. Furthermore, I found the beds were hard to keep fresh.

I always bought the type of bed with the removable cover so I could wash it easily. The cover always shrunk in the dryer and never fit the same after washing. One time the zipper broke after I had tried to put the case back on the bed. Finding the right sleeping arrangements took some time. Through trial and error, I finally found a solution, blankets. I had some older blankets that we had no use for and layered two of them on the floor for Mischa. She took to the arrangement, making herself comfortable in her new bed of blankets every night. Sometimes, I will find a fleece throw on sale and throw it over the folded blankets for some added softness. Having blankets as her bed is wonderful because I can wash them all time and I don’t have to worry about squeezing on a cover or using Febreeze to freshen the part of the bed I could not wash. On a personal note the blankets idea stemmed out of Mischa’s favorite spot, the laundry pile. When I would sort the laundry on the floor, and was not looking, she would make herself comfortable on top of one of the piles. I never thought in a million years a dirty pile of laundry would solve one of my problems.

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

Breed specific legislation (BSL) can be compared to a band aid. It is not a long term solution to handling dog breed issues. Many times the responsibility is truly in the hands of the owner, if they choose the road to irresponsible dog ownership the owner  should pay and not the breed. Breeds like pit-bulls are the main breed affected in bans. This is mainly from the negative press from the media. Unfortunately, this is not based in any truth. Many of the dogs involved in attacks are not pit-bulls but of a mixed breed. Breed specific legislation does not stop criminals from dog fighting dogs or using them for illegal purposes.

Behind breed specific legislation is nothing but paranoia and prejudice. This hits home to me as a responsible owner. When there is an attack in my community by a pit-bull type dog, I hold my breath and start to tell people that it is an isolated incident. I feel the need to protect the name and have Mischa be a model pit-bull. To show how well behaved and fun the breed can be. No matter how hard I try, when something does happen, it makes the whole breed look bad. People who know Mischa can rationalize that not all pit-bulls are vicious because of their exposure to her. However, people who do not understand the breed  will judge and label them all as dangerous. In order to stop breed specific legislation from coming into our neighborhoods we must all show responsible dog ownership. I truly believe if some rescue groups and local ASPCA’S could offer responsible dog ownership classes to the public, the classes might help people with their dogs in the beginning of dog ownership. The classes could offer insight to different breeds and help identify warning signs. For dog owners, adding a support system could be an effective alternative to banning breeds. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mischa's Introduction

Since there is so much in the media showing pit-bulls or pit-bull type dogs as having a bad reputation, I wanted to show that they are sweet loving dogs and deserve a fair chance in life. The name of my beautiful girl Pit is Mischa and she is smart, loyal, and silly.  I would like to document her moments and share some tips and hints as I learn more on responsible dog ownership.

Mischa came into my life 2 years ago when I purchased her from a breeder in Upstate New York. She is a blue nose pit-bull and one of the best dogs I have ever owned. She loves to work, listen, and play. Many call her the queen of the neighborhood, while others call her princess because they say I spoil her too much. One of the questions is if I watch the Dog Whisperer? Yes, it is one of my favorite shows. I find the way you work with your dog is all about the relationship.