What the heck is going on in this video?!
No, it’s not a Grateful Dead show afterparty. It’s one of the many fun yet therapeutic moments from the all-day, hands-on, (and paws-on!) Pit Bull training seminar and workshop I just returned from.
Everyone you see in the room is a Pit Bull lover, most of them professional trainers. The dogs are all rescued Pit Bulls lent to us by a nearby shelter. These Pits are largely untrained, and many are “reactive” and even aggressive to other dogs, loud noises, people and distractions. In this scene, we are desensitizing and counterconditioning the Pits’ reactivity in a fun and silly way – leading them through and among lots of toys and distractions, and praising and treating them when they respond calmly, ignore the stimuli, follow us, and give us attentive eye contact.
The seminar was run by Susan and Harry Parker, founders of one of the biggest Pit Bull rescue and training organizations in Long Island. You can check them out at Dynamic Dog Training. Thanks to Dog Trainer’s Connection for organizing the event.
Pit Bulls are so misunderstood. They’re goofy, silly, loyal, fun, smart, and just want nothing more than to please their owners. Sometimes all they need a little help channeling all their joyful energy in the right directions. Thank you Susan and Harry for helping trainers like me learn to better help more of these angels, and for spreading the good word.
If you’re in the market for a new pet dog, and are an experienced dog owner with an ability to provide daily exercise, leadership, and socialization, consider adopting a pit – they are by far the dogs most harmed by our current culture of breeding for profit.
Here are some sobering statistics:
- The total number of animals euthanized by shelters in the United States annually is 3-4 million.
- Around 1 million of those animals are Pit Bulls.
- Only 1 in 600 Pit Bulls living in the United States will successfully find a “forever” home.
- 75% of animal shelters nationwide will euthanize all Pit Bulls entering the facility without ever giving them a chance to be adopted.
- The Pit Bull euthanasia rate in shelters is at approximately 93% on average.*
* Study by Animal People.
Next time you see a pit bull, don’t cross to the other side of the street. There’s nothing quite like a giant wet smooch from one of these bundles of love – I hope you get to experience one soon!