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Old 01-19-2012, 04:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pit Bull as a playmate for my GSD?

For those of you with experience with Pit Bulls, please let me know your thoughts on whether I should let Liesl have play dates with this dog.

We have a PB living behind us. He is 2 years old, named Bruno, and is an unfixed male. He lives with a nice family, they treat him well but probably don't spend quite as much time training him as they should. He and Liesl actually dug out a space under the fence we share, just big enough for him to put his head through. They whine and lick faces and wag tails with each other there almost daily.

I contacted the owners and discussed this and made a play date for them in our back yard. I picked up Bruno and walked him over to our house. He pulled a little on the leash, but was very sweet and good natured with me, obeying my heel and sit commands, and not aggressive or nervous at all.

He has been over twice to play with Liesl now. They spend about 45 minutes in unbelievably active play. It is all chasing, jumping, mouthing, mouthing at the legs, rolling over, etc. There has been no growling, no aggression, just typical big dog play. They seem to take turns dominating each other--they'll both jump on the other's back, and then flop down with belly up as if daring the other to jump on them. They'll spontaneously take breaks and stand there panting, licking each other's mouths, and simultaneously drink deeply from the same water dish, again with no rivalry at all. Then they'll go at it again, romping and tussling. There have been no bites and no yelps, other than a couple of times when one came down particularly hard on the other's hind quarters. I've thrown one and two balls with them, and they are not possessive and almost seem to take turns fetching it. From my observation they just really get along great and enjoy each other's company. Of course, I stay with them 100% of the time, sitting in a chair in the yard with them or actually playing a bit throwing balls, etc. with them.

HOWEVER, like everyone I've heard the horror stories of PBs who turn suddenly--"He was such a sweet dog, he'd never done anything like that before"--and I do have some concern/questions, since I have no prior experience with the breed.

So, for those of you with PB experience--does this sound ok? Should I be worried? Based on what I've observed, the only basis for worry would be the idea that PBs just can't be trusted, they're ticking time bombs. I don't think this is true, but is probably a reputation resulting from the PBs that are raised to be aggressive by irresponsible owners. Your comments and advice would be appreciated.

PS: sorry, forgot: The PB looks like it might have a little Boxer mixed in.
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Old 01-19-2012, 04:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by billsharp View Post
HOWEVER, like everyone I've heard the horror stories of PBs who turn suddenly--"He was such a sweet dog, he'd never done anything like that before"--and I do have some concern/questions, since I have no prior experience with the breed.
I volunteer fairly regularly with a local pitbull organization and do have experience with my dog playing with them. However- the thing that stuck out the most about your story is the bolded statement above. Fact is- it's 100% untrue!! The reality is that people simply don't know "canine language" which is to say, they don't know how to read the dog. I completely disagree with statements about any breed "turning suddenly." I think it's entirely false.

Sounds like your dog has found a fun playmate! Enjoy it!
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Old 01-19-2012, 05:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would supervise the play, but other than that I would and in fact, do let my girl play with a Pit Bull/Bull Terrier mix.
Both of those breeds are known for dog on dog D/A issues. And, Lord knows that female GSDs aren't exactly known to be all sweetness and light....
We just make sure that toys aren't available (they are both females---competition etc.)
I have to agree, it's pretty rowdy but it's nice to have another dog Alice's size to play with and blow off a little steam. She likes to bonk Cali (the terrier) in the head with her paws and they both have a lot to say while playing.....it's like a union meeting.

Dog's don't "just suddenly turn" nor do they "just unexplicably explode into aggression".....there is always a catalyst and a warning. Sometimes it's very still body language and extended eye contact, a lip curl, something to let you know things will turn bad.
Sounds like you have a good play session going on there.
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Old 01-19-2012, 05:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It sounds like a wonderful time for your girl!! I would just make sure you don't get lax about supervising the play time. Also, make sure that neither dog gets too ramped up while playing and be prepared to give them a little break if needed. That is where most problems I've observed occur, just like little kids who play and play until the play gets too intense and they lose their cool. If you start to see any symptoms of them getting tired of each other then reevaluate the situation but until then, have fun!!
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Old 01-19-2012, 05:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have fostered pitbulls for years and I totally agree, there is always a sign before a dog attacks/fights. Pits are wonderful, loyal, sweet, smart, playful dogs that unfortunately are apparently the official mascot of the ghetto and that has harmed the breed terribly. My only concern with this dog is that is is unaltered but since you have a female, it should be fine. Everything about his behavior sounds appropriate as does their play style. What nice match.
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Old 01-19-2012, 05:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I may have to add that it's not necessarily a "breed" but a type. Terriers: tenacious, "don't back down from any challenge" I've seen it in Bostons, Jack Russells, Cairns, Westies, and yes even Yorkies.
Wheatons are probably the most spazzy of the terriers that I've seen.

Kinda like herding dogs want to circle and bark and run the party....
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks, I appreciate the input and valuable suggestions!
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Depends on the individual dog.

My 8 month old female Shepherd and my 3 year old pitbull are BESSSSST friends! They NEVER stop playing together!
My pitbull is a great playmate with all of my German Shepherds. Her play style is different but all of my shepherds love it.

I say if the dog has a good history of playing well with dogs then go for it. But I would say that for any breed of dog not just pitbulls.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My mix plays with a pitbull and they have tons of rough fun. We always supervise. I really beleive that if you are aware you would notice any problems before they would arise.
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i've been browsing this topic.

i have the same debate.
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