The Pit Bull That Never Quits

February 27, 2012  

A dog with many talents proves herself to be an athletic champion and a girl’s best friend

By JuliAnna Juli

She may be a pit bull, and she may be a “vicious looking” dog to some, but it’s all about what is inside that counts.

As I sat on my couch, at the age of 14, I could hear loud barking out in the backyard. At that time, I had two dogs. So I went outside to see why they were barking. My dog was not the one who was barking: It was this pit bull who was looking at me with strange golden eyes. Her stare was very deep, and she continued to bark as she tried to show me something. On the other side of the fence was her tiny puppy (6 to 8 weeks). I had to bring them in. We had a 6-foot fence surrounding our backyard, and the only way she could have gotten in was by jumping the fence.

With a pit bull loving nature, I already wanted to keep her. I had never had a pit bull in my life and had always wanted one. This was my chance. When my parents got home, I asked if I could keep her and the puppy. My responsible parents told me that I had to wait to see if her owner would claim her. She had a collar on, which meant she came from somewhere. We cared for and nurtured her for about one week before we went to the animal shelter. There we had her checked for a microchip. They could not find one. The animal officer told me that if I cared for her for one week and she wasn’t claimed, she would legally become mine. I knew then that I was going to be able to keep her, and I was filled with excitement!

The owner showed up while I was in California on a trip. My parents were home and had to deal with her. She claimed that we had her dog. In the end, she let us keep the pit bull and her puppy. Her previous guardian had named her Leila, but I called her Hype. Her hyper activity was so extreme, the name fit her well!

Training Hype

Two-year-old Hype had a tendency to jump 6-foot fences. When she got bored at our house, she’d go back to her previous guardian’s house and vice versa. That was when we added an electric fence. She could no longer get out.

She had a case of obsessive compulsive disorder about anything that could be thrown. She absolutely loved to chase the ball. Hours and hours of play still wasn’t enough. She still chewed our furniture and destroyed our house. Manners were the last thing on her mind. I had no control of this dog.

Daily, I played ball with her and gave her love. She even got to sleep with me in my bed. Car rides were a great time for her, and so she goes with us to pet stores or on small errands. I spoiled her more than any other dog I have ever had. She was a lot like me, personality wise: “My way or the highway” and smart. She was almost too smart for me. Our bond became strong. She became obsessed with me, following me everywhere, looking for me and just being with me. I became her master and she became my best friend.

I began to take her on walks, though my arm was sore every day from her pulling me. I hated being pulled, so I had to do something. I began to teach her how to heel. Then I had to have her sit when I asked, so I taught her those things. Sometimes, she needed to calm down, so I taught her “down” also.

We also took a home companion class. She learned quickly, and within a day or two did everything I asked. Once I showed her how to do it, she did it for me. Her bond and her eager-to-please attitude helped her succeed. It was an eight-week class for one hour, one day a week. However, it wasn’t just the class that did it; I took her home and played with her. I didn’t “train” her, I played with her. All my training was play. To her it was a game. She got the best reward she could ever want and that was for her ball to go flying through the air so she could go get it.

By April of 2011, I took my first eight-week agility class. We learned the basics of agility, but it was the same as in the previous class: I took her home and played. I had her go over jumps and go through tunnels just for the fun of it. She loved it. Agility became one of her favorite sports. I have to say weaves were the hardest to train, but unlike many dogs, she learned them quickly! It takes many dogs about a year or a little more or less to learn the weaves. She learned them in a week or less. Once I showed her “how” to do it, she got it. Her intelligence, eagerness to please and the rewards helped her succeed. It wasn’t training, it was playtime. She was happy through it all.

Let the Games Begin

By September, she was ready for her first agility trial. Who would have thought a pit bull could excel at agility? Many people think they are vicious, mean and aggressive. Just not true. Hype is the sweetest dog and loves everyone. People would flinch around her because she was a pit bull. It was so funny to watch because after they have seen her around other dogs and people, they realize that they judged wrong.

It takes an average of one to two years for a dog to be ready to compete in agility. It took Hype six months. We ran trials at the Columbia Basin Dog Training Club in agility, and she got her first two qualifications in Novice Fast, placing first in both of them. In Novice Jumpers and Weaves, she knocked 90 percent of the bars. In Novice Standard, she got one qualification, placing second. She wasn’t slow by any means, but she wasn’t fast either compared to those Collies. However, she could run. Hype did well for her first trial, and I was so proud of her. We continued to hit some other trials.

Our next trial was the Wenatchee Kennel Club agility trial. For Novice Standard she got two qualifications, placing second and first. This finished her Novice Standard title! It was a great weekend. She was averaging 40 – 50 seconds per standard run, with plenty of time left over.

We continued trials and she also finished her Novice Jumpers and Weaves title. When I thought she would never finish it because of her knocking of bars, she did it! It was as if the more she jumped at trials and at home, the better she became. Novice Fast was always a game for us, and sometimes we both got a little crazy. We have blown every fast course since that first trial. We have been to three trials since then, and we still haven’t finished that title. This year, 2012, we plan to finish that title and start in Open!

I am so proud of Hype and her hard work. She loves agility, and I will keep her in it as long as she enjoys it. Along with agility, Hype also does obedience, dock dogs, showmanship, and tricks. This year for dock dogs, she won the Amateur Finals at the county fair competition.

We had never tried to have her jump off a dock before. We thought she would like to try it since she loved water and loved to chase the ball. She started at 12.4 feet once I showed her what I wanted her to do, which was to jump into the water at a run. It took her a few seconds, but she learned what she had to do quickly. We decided to bring her back because she loved it so much. Unexpectedly, she popped a 16.4! This put her in the Amateur Finals. We had to compete. My eyes got bigger this time because she jumped 19.3! I was so excited. She was in first place now. Then this black Labrador jumped 19.4. What, I thought, “0.1 feet?” You get two runs at it. It was as if Hype said, “There is no way a black Labrador is beating me!” and she finished with a 20.5 jump. She won the Amateur Finals!

It was an amazing accomplishment. Who thought a pit bull could jump that far into the water and accomplish that much? But, Hype did it! At the same fair, she also won grand champion for Intermediate Showmanship and Obedience and placed champion overall in both classes. This put her into the state fair at Pullman. She did well at Pullman, but she didn’t make it into the finals. She still did astounding work compared to many other dogs there.

We even took her to the Ameri-Canine Idol. She and another black Labrador were in a competition for Big Dog Derby. There the big dogs race to the finish line where their owners are standing. I had her ball. OCD took over. She got first place in round one of two. In the second round, she placed second by a centimeter with the Labrador. It was a narrow escape, but I was still proud of her.

You wouldn’t believe how many tricks this dog knows. Truly, it just comes from playing around at home. Hype can whisper, speak, shake, touch, high five, spin both ways, roll over, crawl, dance and whine. All of this on command and it is just a blast to see her!

Hype has taken me on an adventure and our competitions have gotten remarkable. It has shown people that even a pit bull can do these things – that they aren’t what people believe them to be. Like any other type of dogs, pit bulls can become champions and champion companions with the help of their guardians. Hype is quite the pit bull. She will do anything I ask her to do, and most of it comes from our strong friendship. We never “train”; it is always play, and we never give up. Hype and I love any challenge that comes to us, and with everything she does, she always does it with a smile.

« « Why People Volunteer at Shelters | What My Shelter Means to Me: The Brittany Foundation » »


8 Responses to “The Pit Bull That Never Quits”
  1. What a feel good story early on  Monday morning! Wonderful smiles they have & Hype looks like she’s having a ball! Keep up the great work

  2. DeniseEllisRogers says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!  Hype found her perfect forever home.  I enjoy training (playing) agility with my pit bull best friend Bella also.  They are just so smart and eager to please.  Big Congratulations from us!  Waaaay to go!

  3. millermorgan says:

    What a wonderful story and what an awesome dog. Kisses on your little nose, Hype!

  4. Precious, precious!!!You and Hype have a wonderful story… keep telling it everywhere. Sounds like she is a great Ambassadog for Pit Bulls everywhere. Congratulations, and Godspeed to you both!

  5. Judithg says:

    Wow!  How wonderful for you and your fur kids!

  6. SandyR says:

    Hey, I just wondered, how is Hype when you meet new people (I mean particular to you?) I love this story! Our rescue has a wonderful pitbull about 2 that we think would also be wonderful at agility and she is slightly ball obsessed but she tends to be a little over protective of her foster family. Just wondered how Hype is when you meet new people and if you had any issues with this how did you and family resolve. What a great story!