How Do You Keep It Positive? (Pt. 1)

January 10, 2013  

Answers to our Community Question of the Week

Almost all of us have experienced less-than-gracious comments or gestures while out with our dogs, so we asked our Facebook friends: “How do you keep it positive when responding to negative reactions to your pit bull?”

We can be polite, we can try to educate, we can ask people not to discriminate, but most of us agree that one of the best ways to change minds is to let the dogs do the talking (or the wagging, or the kissing, or the smiling). Thanks everyone for sharing.

I state facts that would prove whatever they are saying wrong as well as tell them where I found the information. ~Brittany Ladd

Come say hello. One giant kiss and a patient sit and wait for affection usually does it. ~Stephanie Dostal

I let Mia do the talking… er, I mean licking. ~Jill Ashley

I find out what experience they had with pit bulls. I explain to them I once too had a negative attitude about pit bulls. I explain a few positive facts about pit bulls and encourage them to do their own research. ~Tracy Smith Smelcer

I remind people our pit bull is afraid of our 8-pound de-clawed cat. But seriously, I always like to engage in a meaningful conversation about where they heard whatever, and direct them to more informative places. ~Liz Mayer

I tell them three things that always work: 1. We named our organization Stubbys Heroes after Sargeant Stubby, a WWI Veteran pit bull mix. 2. Pit bulls are service dogs, companions, therapy dogs and working dogs. 3. I was once terrified of all pit bulls, as I bend down to kiss my girl on her head. ~Johanna Falber-Mcvay

I ask them to look passed the breed and meet a dog named Butch. Media-feared people are difficult to convince. But, I explain their history and hope their curiosity will lead them to research on their own. ~Donna Bauman Ganley

Explain the long history of the breed with our country, from war hero to nanny dog and a kiss or two from my girl. ~Jason Spielman

I let my dog do my talking for me. Anyone that can stay negative around my happy outgoing baby is going to be negative no matter what I tell them! ~Eva Emmell

Daisy never got any negative reactions – too charming. ~Sean Flora

First I remind myself to be like my pit bull, who would forgive anyone, anything, and loves, loves, loves absolutely everyone. Then I stick to the facts if they’re open to discussion, and approach the conversation ready to agree to disagree. The more factual, casual and upbeat I can be, the more receptive others usually are. ~Bridgette Ruggles

I remember it’s a matter of compassionately teaching the truth about the breed to the person who is in fear. I also have to take into consideration the experience the person has had with pit bulls and or dogs when talking with them. It’s not hard to keep it positive if I remain empathetic to the person’s feelings. Pets reflect their owners so since I want people to see my dog as loving, gentle, etc. Then I must exhibit those same qualities. ~Penny Page

I have to respect their fear and not bully them into my point of view. Let my dog show her beautiful personality and give them some facts about pit bulls. ~Penny Brown

I encourage them to come and interact with Vlad. He’s changed a lot of minds after having all 95 pounds melt into them, giving kisses! I also explain the importance of socialization and proper positive reinforcement training. ~Jen Woleslagle

I say it’s unfortunate that they feel that way and should look passed the negative stereotype and get to know a pit bull before they judge. After all, no one likes to be stereotyped! ~Katey Cusack

I let Cade do the work and if they are open he will curl into their lap, if they are not we just cut our losses and move on. ~Lynette Vautier-Cyr

I tell them about 35 years of ownership with no incidents. ~Silvee LaPibble

I just smile and say, “I honestly didn’t know she was part pit bull until she was grown, so she was raised as a Labrador.” That usually breaks the ice enough for me to go into her more charming qualities and not her breed. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they end up petting her and leave smiling too. ~Kellie Crider

I tell them the statistics on what they’re saying and then usually pull up pictures of my 2-year -old sitting on and snuggling our two pit bulls. ~Rebekah Posey

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” And if you do want to judge please judge my dog as an individual and not as a whole. ~Allison Moniz

When asked what kind of dogs I have and I say pit bulls. The usual response is, “Oh, you have mean dogs!” My response is, “Have you ever met my dogs?” Then, “I would like to introduce you to the American Pit Bull Terrier! The real one.” Never has anyone left with the same attitude after meeting my dogs! My dogs are the ultimate breed ambassadors. Also, this breed is naturally easier to train due to their food driven personality. ~Nick Thebarber Tidwell

I tell them that he passed both his Canine Good Citizen and therapy tests on the first try. I also point out that I adopted him 8 years ago and he has been a dream to train and live with for every one of them. ~Deanne Greene

Usually she changes minds herself with her positive attitude. If she reacts negatively it’s because she senses something wrong. If I need to I simply say that I had the same reaction before I actually owned one. Now, I doubt I’ll ever own a different breed. I was completely wrong. ~Pamela Antrup-Compton

Deanne, love your post! My Jerry is a dream to train, too, and I think it’s great to hear someone else talk like that about their dog. ~Paula Price Maciolek

I always try to work into the conversation that, out of interacting with over 2,600 pit bulls at the shelter where I took photos, I had nothing but positive experiences. ~Heather McClain Howell

I think of all the times my pit bull has made me happy, and it’s their loss to judge them. ~Amber Wolf

That my girl Lucy is my pet and my best friend, not a breed. I treat her the same as my corgi and my cats. I judge pets and people by their character, not their looks! ~Teri McCann

If you can’t educate them, ignore them. Clearly my pit bull is the more intelligent one anyway. ~Jesslyn Barriault

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