Measle's Animal Haven

Pit Bull Rescue and Sanctuary

responsible pit bull ownership

Pit bulls are some of the most loyal and loving dogs in the world. Pit bulls truly love people, especially children, and are great family pets!

Responsible pit bull guardians do the following to ensure the safety and health of their family pet:

  • Research and understand the breed before you adopt a pit bull. There are no bad dogs; only bad/irresponsible owners. Understand that a pit bull is not the right breed for everyone (just as Chihuahuas are not the right breed for everyone, hound dogs are not the right breed for everyone, etc.).

  • Vaccinate, microchip, and license your dogs. Protect your dog from heartworms, fleas, ticks, and other parasites. Have your dog examined regularly by a veterinarian and follow his/her recommendations.

  • Spay and neuter your dog as early as possible (NOTE: All Measle’s Animal Haven dogs and puppies are spayed/neutered prior to being adopted). Altered pets live longer, happier, and healthier lives. They are also more stable and easier to control when not triggered by all those hormones. Intact (not "fixed") dogs tend to be far more reactive and aggressive than those who are not. To date, no fatal dog attack by an altered dog (of any breed) has ever been reported.

  • Abide by any federal, state, or local laws pertaining to pet ownership and the pit bull breed. Research the laws of your state/city/township on your own to ensure you are meeting all of the statutory requirements with regard to ownership of your dog (for example, leash laws).

  • Ensure that your apartment, condo, or rental house allows your dog's breed before you sign a lease. And don't move anywhere that will not allow your beloved pet!

  • Don’t put your dog at risk. For the safety of your dog, supervise your dog when he/she is outside. Don't ever leave your dog outside for a long period of time, but even for short excursions into your yard, if you have a securely locked fence you will avoid having your dog stolen or let out to roam.

  • Never allow your dog off-leash, except in a secure and safe enclosed area (for example, your securely fenced yard). Many dogs can be “escape artists” and all dogs have the propensity to be just like human children. When not supervised, the decisions they make are not always in their best interest. When a Golden Retriever runs up to a person, they say “How sweet!” but when a pit bull does the exact same thing, some people get nervous. When the public sees a pit bull on the loose, they often do not wait before calling animal control or even the police. Due to the undeserved bad reputation of pit bulls, these dogs are frequently killed by police officers. This is an unfortunate truth — do not contribute to the bias against pit bulls.

  • Always keep your dog on a leash. Even if you believe you have full control of your dog, pit bulls are very strong and love to pull. Use a Gentle Leader, Martingale-type collar, or no-pull harness when your pit bull is leashed. Do not use choke collars or prong collars — pit bulls are great at pulling and they have been known to pull so hard that they can collapse their own trachea.

  • Never take your dog (or any other breed) to a dog park! Even if you think your dog is wonderful with other dogs (and heck, maybe your pit bull really is wonderful with all other dogs in all situations), don't put your dog at risk. All it takes is one dog-aggressive dog trying to start something. If a Lab starts a fight with your dog, who will be blamed? (HINT: The pit bull is always blamed!) Also, your dog may contract parasites at a dog just say NO to dog parks.

  • Properly house, feed, and care for your dog. A pit bull should be treated like a member of your family! Never make a dog live outside -- friends don't chain friends!

  • Never try to use your pit bull as a guard dog, for fighting, or keep it chained/tied up/penned or outside unattended at any time (all dogs should be inside pets when not playing/walking/pottying outside under human supervision). Pit bulls are typically terrible "guard dogs" because they love people so much. You need to be the “guard dog,” because your pit bull is always at risk of being stolen.

  • Owning a dog is for LIFE (the natural life of the dog) – provide needed veterinary care (from a licensed veterinarian) and do not allow your dog to be abused, neglected, or abandoned. All dogs need responsible owners who manage them properly and care for them based on their individual needs.

  • Enroll your dog in a positive reinforcement training class. Positive reinforcement is training that uses reward-based methods and does not involve coercion of any kind (coercion is negative methods including, but not limited to, choke chains, prong collars, or shock collars). Ongoing classes for the life of the dog (and you).

  • When out with your dog, pay attention to your surroundings and balance the needs of the public with your dog’s needs. This means picking up your dog’s mess, not letting him/her jump on or annoy others, and avoiding off-leash dogs that may run up and instigate a negative reaction from your dog.

  • Socialize your pit bull with humans as much as possible before and after they reach maturity. Your pit bull should meet all kinds of adults and as many respectful children as possible. Socialization with people should be part of your dog's training for his/her entire life. Relegating a dog to the backyard or keeping it chained 24/7 can lead to disaster for any breed of dog. You want your dog to be able to handle new situations with confidence and pleasure. As with obedience classes, once is not enough—ongoing socialization will ensure your dog’s happiness by showing him that the world is a wonderful place. And please remember, socialization does not mean your dog running around with other dogs off leash!

  • Understand that many dogs become dog-sensitive or dog-intolerant as they mature. Some dogs are not "dog" dogs; they are "people" dogs. Dogs of all breeds may not show their true temperament with other dogs until they are approximately 3 years old, and dog-sensitivity levels may rise as a dog matures. Dog-sensitivity and dog-intolerance can be managed but not “trained” or “socialized" (with other dogs) out of the dog.

  • Understand that some dogs may be dog-aggressive. Early socialization with other dogs is not a guarantee that your dog will not become dog aggressive or dog-intolerant at some point. Some dogs love all other dogs, but some dogs are (or become, as they get older) dog-sensitive or dog-intolerant, especially with other dogs of the same sex. Do not expect your dog to be friends with unfamiliar dogs...this is not because your dog is a pit bull, but because he/she is a DOG. In general, if your dog is "dog aggressive," you can curb the behavior and often control it, but you may not be able to stop it completely. So you must always take precautions to keep your dog safe.

  • Never leave a dog alone and unsupervised with other animals. Even though you think they are the best of friends, it is better to be safe than sorry! Again, this precaution is not because your dog is a pit bull but because he/she is a DOG.

  • Always monitor dogs when they play with other dogs, and don’t let things escalate. Roughhousing can trigger a fight if not kept under control. Pit bulls like to play rough and can be pretty vocal. Their games can be overwhelming for other dogs. Don’t let the dogs push it too far. As the “leader” it is your responsibility to keep your dog under control.

  • Give your pit bull daily exercise. Pit bulls are highly intelligent animals with finely tuned problem-solving skills. They need an outlet for their mental and physical energy.