Here at Bully Max, we love American Pit Bull Terriers (APBTs). It’s hard to find a more loyal and loving companion anywhere in the world.
But because of their breeding, you do have to be careful about where you take them.
APBTs don’t do well around too many other dogs (especially if they are unsupervised). On the other hand, they are fantastic around people and children.
Want an easy way to figure out where you should be taking your APBT?
We created this little report card to help you answer that question quickly and easily. Here’s a list of places ranked anywhere from “F” (which means do NOT take your APBT there) to “A” (which means it’s a wonderful spot for your APBT).
Make sense? OK, let’s get started…
Dog Park, Grade: F
I’m sorry to say, but dog parks simply are not a good place to take any American Pit Bull Terrier.
There are way too many factors working against you here. First of all, there are too many dogs at one time. It’s overwhelming. And many of these dogs will be unfamiliar to your dog.
And of course, keep in mind the other owners that will be around. You have no control over them or their dogs. And in most cases, they don’t have control over their dogs—they spend their time socializing with other dog owners, rather than watching what their dog is up to.
If you own an APBT, avoid dog parks at all costs.
Public Parks, Grade: C-D
Many of these grades will have a range—for public parks, the grade is anywhere from a C to a D—mainly because there are certain factors that can vary.
In this case, it depends on how crowded the park is.
If the park isn’t very crowded, then it might be OK. especially if there are plenty of paths where you can take your dog on a walk that’s off the beaten trail.
But a super-crowded park is not a good choice. It may have a lot of unfamiliar dogs, which may or may not be on a leash. And sometimes alcohol is involved (especially if it’s a holiday weekend), which can lead to rowdy behavior from other dog owners.
All in all, public parks are better than dog parks…but still not the best place for your APBT.
Indoor Dog Friendly Facilities, Grade: D-F
This includes PetSmart / Lowes / Home Depot / Doggy Daycare and similar facilities.
You may assume that because these are made for dogs, they’re a great choice. Unfortunately that’s not the case!
In these facilities, your dog can get cornered in small spaces—which is definitely not something you want for your APBT. Also, the people working at these places may or may not understand the “bulldog breed” and how to best care for your dog.
Neighborhood Walks, Grade: A-B+
Ah, our first good grade!
Neighborhood walks are great for an American Pit Bull Terrier. One reason is because you know your environment and can take your dog on a good route. If a neighbor has a dog that your APBT doesn’t get along with, you can simply avoid that house. Plus, you generally won’t have to worry about strays or unleashed dogs.
Yes, you will probably encounter other dogs along the way…but they will almost always be on a leash, which means you can keep things under control. Although it never hurts to carry a deterrent for other dogs just in case (like a spray).
Planned Dog Playdates, Grade: B-C+
Part of the problem with dog parks is that you don’t know who is going to be there. It could be a handful of friendly dogs, or it could be a couple really aggressive dogs.
You don’t know, and you don’t have any control.
With a planned dog playdate, that’s not the case. You can invite only dogs that your dog knows and gets along with. Also—and this is important—you can limit the number of dogs so your dog don’t feel overwhelmed or attacked.
But keep in mind, this is still an off-leash situation. Which means that even if the dogs are just playing and having a good time, there’s always a chance that a dog fight could erupt.
With that in mind, it’s important to learn how to recognize the body language of your dog. If they start to feel threatened or attacked, you want to be able to step in and stop things before they escalate.
Oh, here’s one more tip: it’s also a good idea to walk the dogs first before letting them off-leash. That way they get a chance to know each other in a calm, controlled environment. It also gives you a chance to set a good tone for the playdate.
Leaving your Dog with a “Friend,” Grade: Incomplete
In this case, it’s really hard to say.
On one hand, you might have a good friend who is good with dogs (and especially with pit bulls) and who does a fantastic job with your dog.
Or (and this is probably more likely) your friend might not know the breed or fully understand the job at hand. In this case, they could end up being “loose” with securing your dog.
It depends on the friend in question, and how much you trust them. If you can’t tell, we’re not huge fans of this option in the majority of cases. But if you have a trustworthy person in mind who understands pit bulls, this could be a perfectly good option for you.
Backyard/Private Property, Grade: A
Keeping your dog on private property where you are 99.9% in control is by far the best way to go when you have an American Pit Bull Terrier.
When it’s your property, you don’t have to worry about surprises. You can do whatever you need to keep your dog secure and keep other dogs out. And there will be little to no exposure to troublesome circumstances.
So keep these tips in mind when you’re thinking about taking your APBT out for a walk or to play. Remember, this is a wonderful breed that has gotten a bad rep thanks to terrible press coverage. But they do have some specific needs, and it’s your job as the owner to make sure your dog stays out of bad situations.
Now get out there and enjoy some time with your dog!
Recommend read: 27 Things Every Pit Bull Owner Should Know