Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Training: I’ve taught bird care / training techniques
Posted March 11, 2014
When I first adopted Mo Chuisle, (which means "my darling" in Gaelic), she had kennel cough and had been brought into the shelter as a stray in Pittsburgh. How she survived, I have no idea. But she loves as if she's never been unloved. She fell asleep in my lap our first night home, so I spent all night on the couch rather than disturb her.
She was very easy to crate train and house train, but very curious, and a climber of baby gates and fences. She wants to be where the action is - namely the people - at all times. She is very alert to "disturbances in the force" - both a blessing and a curse. I feel safe sleeping in my car, because I know she will bark before a stranger has the chance to approach. But she also barks at unnecessary things, like doors slamming in the hallway, or people and dogs outside of the window.
As is common in this breed, she became dog-reactive around the age of 2. After a long period of taking her to dog parks and trusting her to play with any dog, big or small, maturity kicked in, I suppose. But it also had to do with 2 other things. For one thing, she didn't get the chance to properly socialize with her littermates, so her ability to read other dogs' social cues can get her into trouble. Also, she herself was bitten twice - once when she was supposedly being supervised in playcare. Funny though, she has been swatted by a cat and bitten on the nose by a ferret, and her only reaction was to yelp.
Dog-aggression being a completely separate trait from human-aggression, I trust her with people and children. Unless she has her muzzle on, which we only do to protect her from being blamed in the event that an off-leash dog (which is illegal in this county, but people do it anyway...) charges and a scuffle ensues. With her muzzle on, she is even more nervous and reactive in general. She is also more skittish outside in the dark - possibly a remnant of being a helpless puppy on the streets of a city.
She can be high maintenance - her Boxer side contributes the hyperactivity (as well as long legs) but I wouldn't trade her for the world. Her intuition impresses me the most: she immediately fell in love with my both my brother and my now-husband (moreso than usual) - before my husband and I had even gotten together. It was like she knew he was going to be her Daddy before I did.
"Pit bull type" dogs (AmStaffs, Bull Terriers, Staffy Bulls, APBTs, and more) get a bad rap - mainly due to 2 things: Media sensationalism, and their usefulness to criminals - as a result of this breed's loyalty to their humans. They will endure any amount of pain if it pleases their owner. Which also makes them the most common type of dog to risk their own lives to save people - even people they don't know. Both my parents and my aunt & uncle were skeptical about this breed before I brought my newly adopted girl to visit. Within minutes, they were convinced of her loving nature. Give a Pitty a chance... and save lives by adopting, not shopping.
Even if this isn't the breed for you, you can find pretty much any breed - even purebreds - in shelters, if you just look.