In the United States alone, there are an estimated 80 million pet dogs belonging to families everywhere. While this number is staggering, it's far from surprising.
Think about the number of dogs you see every day and the variety of dogs you see everywhere. From small teacup pups to larger, stronger dogs that could scare off even the most heinous of criminals — we have them all.
One breed among all others stands out as the most controversial, due to its history of being bred for dog fighting purposes: the pit bull or pit bull terrier is one of the few breeds of dog that many families tend to avoid because it is known to be an aggressive species.
While other large, common breeds of dogs such as German Shepherds and Alaskan Malamutes can do extreme damage in the event of an attack, pit bulls still get a bad rap largely because of constant negative reports in the media.
Many families, justifiably so, are concerned about what owning a pit bull could mean for them and their children.
Are Pit Bulls More Aggressive than Other Large Dogs?
While pit bulls are considered to be more aggressive than any other dog, the fact remains that there are no studies indicating that pit bulls exhibit more aggression toward humans compared to other breeds.
Aggression toward humans is determined on a case-by-case basis. A golden retriever is as likely to show aggression toward humans as a pit bull. So, anyone who is looking to bring a dog into his or her home should be looking at the animal's individual traits rather than counting out an entire breed because of an assumption.
When you are looking to purchase or adopt a dog, it is important to ask the breeder or shelter employees what they know about the animal and its personality.
If you are looking for a pit bull, they might encourage you to go for other breeds. Be sure to tell the breeder or shelter worker that you have a child.
This information will help them guide you to a dog that is more suitable for your household. You want a dog that has a good temperament and can be easily socialized especially around children.
Pit bulls are no more dangerous to keep around children than any other dog.
However, there are ways in which you can limit the chance of a dog attack in your home. Children typically touch dogs without asking permission, which can have devastating consequences if done in a way that irritates the animal.
How Can You Prevent Dog Attacks?
While children should always be instructed on the proper ways to touch and treat an animal, it's important that they are watched closely if they are around large, strong dogs such as pit bulls.
Dog attacks on children often result in horrific injuries. Most cities and towns require dogs that attack to be quarantined or euthanized. Dog attacks have devastating physical, emotional and psychological impacts not only on children who experience the trauma, but also their family members who see children suffer through the physical and emotional pain.
The best way to prevent a traumatic dog attack is to be careful any time your children are around dogs, even if they are your own.
When walking your pit bull, be sure to keep it away from small children who may attempt to pet it roughly or annoy it in some way.
All it takes is a sudden pull of the tail for even the best-behaved dogs to become highly aggressive. This means that children should not be allowed to touch large dogs without permission, or unsupervised.
By ensuring that any children who see your dog are prevented from harassing it in any way, you can help to prevent any sudden attacks outside of the home.
Teaching Children How to Treat Animals
If you are concerned about the safety of children you have in the home, teach them proper behavior while they are young, so that they will grow to respect your dog. Think about some of the behaviors your child may exhibit when around an animal.
While some children treat animals very well, others have not yet learned the concept of animal welfare and will exhibit behaviors that are sure to annoy the dog in question.
These behaviors can include riding the dog as if it were a pony, pulling the dog's tail or ears, and even hitting the dog – all of which can lead to dogs getting aggressive. Avoid accidents by teaching your children how to treat your dog so that you will not see signs of aggression even when a child does not behave perfectly.
In addition, make sure that you are always supervising your children when they are in contact with your dog, as it will give you the chance to correct any behaviors that could potentially lead to aggression.
Simply put, pit bulls are as safe to have around children just as any other breed of dog.
They are no more aggressive towards humans than any other breed of dog and can be just as calm and loving as one would expect from a breed that is considered to be more docile. However, much like any other breed of dog, pit bulls can get annoyed from improper treatment, and have been known to attack children when provoked.
In order to keep your family safe around your pit bull or other dogs, be sure that each member of the family knows the proper way to handle them.
Children should not be allowed to play with the animal without permission and supervision. In this manner, you can have yourself a happy, loving pit bull companion, while also minimizing the risk it may pose to children or other members of the family.
When Pit Bulls Bite
If your child has been attacked by a pit bull, or any other breed of dog, make sure to contact emergency personnel immediately to help ensure your child's injuries are properly treated and the incident is documented.
Although children may trigger certain responses from dogs, dog owners also have a responsibility to warn or keep children away from their dog if they believe their dog may attack the child.