Changing Perceptions

September 14, 2012  

Since the Superhero program is highly focused on advocacy, we asked our Facebook fans, ’What do you think is the single best thing you’ve done, or said, that has helped change people’s perception about your dog?’

Mostly it’s a case of leading by example with our amazing community and their pit bulls. Besides, who can resist a full-body wiggle and an endless supply of pit bull kisses. Thanks everyone for sharing.

Dressing Willow (above) in jean skirts and tutus draws people to her before they realize she is a pit bull. The Facebook page has brought her recognition. The most important thing is taking her out in public as much as possible and treating her like a dog, a very happy well-socialized dog.

~ Willow Pedano

When I tell people my pit bull Simone is a canine blood donor, I think people get a new perspective on her. I also tell them that many pit bulls are universal donors and save lives.

~ Sarah Mathews

My dog will love you more than your mother does!

~ Lorrie Renwick Haner

We never had to say or do anything. Our Cleo (God rest her soul) was an awesome breed ambassador all on her own. She melted everyone who met her

. ~ Kimberly Wendt Riggs

In the beginning, I used to use a lot of positive stories, logic, statistics, and education. Nowadays, I just bring my dogs Honey: The Dog’s Life and Captain Cowpants (above) everywhere with me in the community for training, therapy work, etc., and let their actions speak louder than my words. Works like a charm!

~ Woof Slc

I let people gush and marvel about Rocky. “Oh, my gosh, he’s so pretty,” “He’s so sweet,” “That is the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen.” After they’ve smooshed and loved on him, then I tell them that he’s a pit bull mix. No one has been able to deny their affection after realizing the truth of his reality.

~ Suzanne Veitz

Yes, Suzanne. My Gracie is the same way. People meet her, love on her, and then I drop the bomb. Fortunately, I live in an area where she’s seen as just a loving, beautiful dog.

~ Holly Haire

As silly as it sounds, making Wilson his own Facebook page was one of the best things I could have done as an advocate. He is able to communicate our message and change peoples’ perceptions better than I ever could on my own. His character and personality paired with the power of social networking has reached farther than I ever imagined and I couldn’t be prouder of him!

~ Stacey Greenwald

Sharing images and stories of pits bulls that are outside the stereotype. I had a coworker refer to pit bulls as “hellhounds” and said “they should all be put down.” I promptly showed him pictures of loving family pit bulls and pit bulls who are positive representations of the breed. He’s reconsidered his position.

~ Sallyann M Marcoux Cote

Just walking Peaches (right) through the neighborhood lets people see that she’s just a normal, well-behaved family dog. We can change peoples’ minds without saying a word!

~ Jennifer Spears Bashford

I try to use simple words and speak logic and ask questions like, did you know that pit bulls are arguably the most abused dogs globally? How can the most abused dogs be that much of a danger to society? Logically, this makes no sense. The answer to the first question is rather simple. They love humans that much! That’s why they are the most abused dogs! Their love for us makes them extremely vulnerable to abuse! As for the second question, they aren’t a danger to society, society is a danger to them!

~ Eric Emminger

Cash’s kisses speak for themselves.

~ Emily Rinker

Mine volunteers at the Kiss A Pit booth for local events. They both sit and allow anyone to come up with them and I encourage it. And I walk all the dogs, individually (there are four) every day around the neighborhood or at parks, etc.

~ Vicki Christian Gramm

Conversation usually starts with, “Your dog is so handsome, what breed is he?” I reply, “American bull dog/pit bull mix.” The person takes a step back and says, “Oh”. I say, “Yeah, my handsome guy was kept in a basement for his first six months and fed a burger every now and then. We are so proud of how far he’s come.” The person steps forward and says, “Aww, can I pet him?” Yes. Then my handsome boy takes it from there!

~ Susan Mohr Kemp

When I volunteer at our local shelter I bring the sweetest pit bulls out to the public side and let them meet each other. It’s socializing for humans and dogs alike.

~ Christy Middleton

From Mom: “I find the cliché, “Actions speak louder than words” to be very true when it comes to advocacy, but in the very rare case that Frankie’s (above) happiness doesn’t make someone comfortable for some reason, I find listening to the person discuss why they feel the way they do about pit bulls helps quite a bit. The whole time they talk, I keep Frankie in a sit and keep him still while acknowledging their concerns. I usually work in a few hand signals while they speak to subconsciously show them how well trained he is, and that usually makes them feel comfortable enough to pet him. With those that are absolutely adamant about the headlines they read, I usually ask enough polite questions to help them realize on their own that they have little to no experience with the breed to base those opinions. For example, a statement I hear often is, ‘all pit bulls are born dangerous.” To which I reply, “Oh, wow. So your dogs had a litter of bad pit bulls? Oh, no, so you don’t own a pit bull? I see, well then given your certainty you must have had a pretty bad experience with one you’ve owned or encountered in the past. I’m so sorry. Oh, you haven’t owned a pit bull before, or been around one? Well then certainly someone close to you has had a bad experience? And so on. Sorry, that was way more than 3 sentences!

~ Frankie, I’m a lover not a fighter

I bring “the girls” into the beauty shop (in my home) once in a while for a customer pit bull socialization time. Now customers say they know some pit bulls that are nice and don’t believe all the stories they read. I also take both dogs to school, one in rally class and one in classes to gain her confidence. The other dog owners in the class are surprised that they are so smart, kind and athletic.

~ Jackie Cotton

Fighting breed discriminatory legislation locally by showing how well Milo advocates for positive pit bull awareness and actions.

~ Barbara McComsey

My two rescue pit bulls are well-trained; I let them “speak” for themselves by taking them out in public (just came from the Farmer’s Market) without incidents with other dogs or humans. They are respectful of children and sit to be petted so no one gets scared. It’s my responsibility to teach my dogs, so they can be the real teachers.

~ Nikki Foley

I try to take Mia with me as many places as possible. It allows us to interact with new people, which gives me the opportunity to inform and educate. Mia is a pit bull mix, so people are usually surprised when I say she’s a pit bull, which always leads to advocating and educating!

~ Jill Ashley

My “DaughterBulls,” Chessure and Alice, go with me everywhere. Kids and elderly people are most drawn to them. My girls sit and wait for people to love them, meanwhile I take that chance from the start to approach and educate people on the breed and talk about their past history and how the media misrepresents them. At the end they marvel at how well behaved and sweet they are! We give them my DaughterBulls motto, “Peace, love and loyalty. White Pibblez Lubz!”

~ Kiara Edmee Colon

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8 Responses to “Changing Perceptions”
  1. barbaraleeanderson07090 says:

    Wow, Frankie’s Mom, I’m absolutely going to adopt your approach with people who have fallen into the false hype and bad press!!  And Frankie, you may indeed be a lover, but your Momma is definitely an intelligent, articulate fighter for pitties, and we are all so blessed to have her on “our” side.  Much love and respect from Miss Diva and me. 

  2. DianaJones says:

    People with fears are not going to change ways based on statistics only. Fear is often not rational, but being able to touch and see in person is very powerful (unless perhaps when it is a phobia). It helps none to patronize folks with fears, whether we think they are irrational or not, or based on experience or not. I used to be terrified of rats until I was introduced to some pets of a new friend of mine. They are adorable, and very sweet, but no one belittled me for this fear. We all have fears so we need to respect that in others and use our great dogs to help allay those fears. No one wants to live in fear and real life experience, done in a respectful and gentle manner, will go a very long ways to mend and heal, and show what many are missing out on in these great dogs.

  3. The best thing we’ve done to change the perception of these dogs is to be an example and a true ambassador for the breed. Initially we took them to training (which we continue to do especially considering we’re trainers now), educate ALL we come in contact with.  Thus far we’ve changed the perception of just about all of  family, friends, co-workers neighbors and counting!

    • We also, host events for rescues and advocacy groups at various restaurants, parks, wineries etc. to include the public so they can see how the dogs interact with people and other canines which has been a huge success!

    • StubbyDog says:

      theprettychic You do a fantastic job Kelli, and so do Krush and Sasha!

  4. StubbyDog theprettychic Thank you, we try, some events are better than others 🙂

  5. StubbyDog  theprettychic Had it not been for Stubbydog providing a forum of support for these amazing dogs not sure if we would’ve moved as fast as we have. THANK YOU for all you do!!

    • StubbyDog says:

      theprettychic StubbyDog Thank you Kelli, with people like you to support us, there’s no stopping us all!