Pit Bulls and Babies. This is a topic that tends to raise eyebrows, especially those of people that do not own Pit Bulls. As a proud Pit Bull owner and a first time parent to my now 2 month old daughter Camille Wynter, I've heard it all from “Oh my gosh! You let that thing around your baby?" to “Wow you must have 911 on speed dial!” to the all time classic “Aren't you scared your baby will get attacked?” and of course "Are you nuts?" Well no in fact, I am not nuts and neither are the other vast amount of parents, first timers and the well seasoned alike, who choose to raise their children with a Pit Bull in the home.
After repeatedly defending my personal choices and my beautiful Pit Bull Bentley, I started to wonder if seeing a Pit Bull around a baby really was such a rare and shock provoking incidence or if it was just that these certain people lived with a rather negative view of these amazing dogs. Then I started wondering how people who were planning on having children felt about the subject and also how people who already had children and Pit Bulls felt. All of the negative comments have pushed me to prove to the skeptics that no, just because you have a Pit Bull around a baby or young child, it does not mean that he will rip their face off. So where do you go when you need help on a specific topic? You go to the source of course.
Welcome to Parenting with a Pit Bull 101
As a parent you always have concerns about the well being of your children. If indeed you are expecting your first child you must be overwhelmed with emotion. There is a tiny person growing inside of you (or your significant other) and it is your duty to provide them with a safe environment filled with love and comfort. Millions of thoughts must be going through your head as it is but then comes the question every dog owner faces: “How will my dog react to my baby?”. You now start thinking about every possible scenario that could happen. You've heard about dogs attacking children and then you look at your own and say “No, he would never hurt a fly.” Well this is very often the case.
The majority of dogs do especially well with children, if, and this is important, if you have a trained dog. It does not matter if it is a Pit Bull, a Golden Retriever, a Poodle, a Cocker Spaniel, or a Jack Russell Terrier. Any dog is capable of mauling a child, any. Do not think for once that any breed has a pre determined tendency to do so over another. There are people who get attacked by Chihuahuas all the time (of course these little guys can't cause too much harm now could they?). You want to be sure that you are fulfilling your role as a parent to protect your cub. I personally did not have any concern about my Pit Bull, Bentley, being aggressive since she has never shown any signs of aggression towards anyone, human or animal. Of course I am just one example.
With all the questions people ask me about the topic I wanted to know how others felt. I wanted to ask Pit Bull owners and parents specifically about their experiences and share what I have found so that others could see that it is not just a rare scenario, that Pit Bulls do not “eat babies” or any other nonsense you've heard. So I came to you the public asking for complete honesty. I asked if I could share your pictures and your stories and you so graciously responded. Here is what you, the experts, Parents and Pit Bull owners, had to say.
I asked the following:
“How did you introduce your Pit Bull to your baby?”
"I came home and had my boyfriend keep the baby with him for an hour or so so I could spend quality time with Haze because we missed each other a LOT and I wanted to make sure he knew he was still super important. Then I let him sniff clothes and blankets the baby used at the hospital. His tail didn't stop wagging. He knew exactly what was going on and kept whining and pacing. Then we brought the baby in, he instantly laid down next to the baby and fell asleep with his nose touching him and they were the best friends ever since." - samanthacarmen9712
"My pit, #nachothepit, was a rescue at 5 months old. He has always been the most mild mannered dog I have ever owned so when my husband and I found out we were pregnant, we weren't worried! We had him stay with my in-laws while we were in the hospital and gave him a blanket that our son had been laying on. Once we were all home together, we let him come up and smell him (the baby) and he has been so gentle and adorable with him ever since!" - mommy_lemmons
"I was in my car seat and my parents put me down in the middle of the room. My dogs got love from our parents and then came up to meet me. They did it all on their own. They smelled me and ran around my car seat, then they moved on to laying around and getting love from everyone in the room. We all love each other." - mikiyahandherprince
"When we first brought our baby home, I let my 2 pits smell his blanket and onesie he wore. Once their tails started wagging we praised them. Then we brought our baby out and they fell completely in love. Now they play together, nap together, and our baby is the safest baby out there because our dogs are so protective over kids, all kids actually." - mrsmariothebarber
"I first had someone bring a baby blanket home for him to sniff. When I came home I gave him attention since I had been gone for so long. Then I showed him the baby and for the next few weeks I made sure he knew he wasn't replaced by letting him cuddle with me and the baby and now he just loves her!" - morgan_ss
"I adopted my pit mix when he was over a year old. They picked him up wandering around after a family abandoned him. I brought my baby along with me to the shelter so we could bond with him together. Once I had seen his temperament, I rolled her in the stroller and watched carefully. He went over, licked her feet, laid down and stayed there with her until we left. He has some anxiety that we work with but it just makes him more cuddly. He is so good with all three of my kids. He plays with the boys and gives gentle kisses for my girl." - tweetyburd87
"We just brought our daughter home in the car seat and put it down in the middle of the room and let our dog go check it out for himself. We had absolutely no doubt he would be fine with her. We were right, he's spent over three years looking out for her since!!!" - jsessbrown
"We were going to do so many thing and then life got in the way so we agreed to just do our best and "wing it". First we let the pits sniff the swaddled baby whenever they calmly approached out of curiosity. We also went out of our way to hold the baby while giving extra pets and love to the dogs (that way they would know that we still loved them). We welcomed them to sniff and sit with us and be "involved" as much as possible. All while still being EXTREMELY cautious. No matter how much you trust your dogs you never want to leave children unattended. Slowly we would allow them to lick her feet and then at about 4 or 5 months she would lean over to allow them to lick her face. It was the sweetest thing." - panamhunter
"The day we brought the baby home, my older daughter and husband took my pit bull Carrie and my other 2 dogs Romeo and Booga for a walk so when they returned I was already inside and in my room with the baby. My husband and daughter let the dogs sniff the baby's blanket and told them NO. I had a gate in the doorway to my room allowing them to see and hear the baby. After a few hours of them patiently waiting by the door, we allowed them in the room. I picked up the baby and allowed all three dogs to sniff her. Carrie, my pit, is the one that showed more interest, we even let her lick the baby's feet. After that day, every time time my baby cries, Carrie is there wanting to help. Carrie likes to sleep near the bassinet, she is our gentle giant." - msevilyn
"We had no problems at all with our pit bull. He was a very friendly dog to start with so I guess that helped. When we brought Hallie home, we let him have a smell of her, then we made sure not to exclude him from anything that he used to be part of. He was allowed near her and he was just his usual self, no strange behavior at all. She is now 16 months and they love each other. I'd have no hesitation leaving the room while they are alone together. We've also adopted another pit bull who is very sweet and have had no trouble with her either. My daughter can crawl all over her without a problem. I guess it all depends on the dog. A good dog will always be a good dog, if you know what I mean." - jasonsteer
After receiving so many wonderful pictures and stories of how parents introduced their Pit Bulls to their babies, you can clearly see that there are different techniques that each parent uses. Each of them knows their own dogs and their behaviors and therefore were able to devise a plan of action that made them comfortable, and that's the most important thing to remember. You have to know what you are comfortable with and what will work for your unique situation. What may work for someone else may not work for you and it is your decision to make. Some parents use the blanket technique while others go down the slow and gradual path.
What all these parents, as well as the numerous others who answered, have in common is that not one of them had a negative experience. With a combination of a well behaved dog that you trust, no matter the breed, and adult supervision, you should not have a problem. It is obviously a process that you must get comfortable with first and of course it is a case by case basis.
Hearing about all the successful baby introductions conjured up another question. I wanted to know how many parents trusted their Pit Bull 100% around their children, so I asked: "Do you fully trust your Pit Bull around your child?" This question received so many positive responses, even Pit Bull owners who did not yet have children of their own answered. Out of about 100 people that voluntarily answered, the outcome was once again all positive with everyone answering YES, that they did trust their Pit Bull around children. Below are just a few of the responses given.
"Yes I definetly trust my year and a half old pittie around my 8 month old little boy. She loves to give him kisses and when he's crawling around on the floor she lays beside him! She's definetly his shadow." - a.doberman.and.pitbull.life
" Absolutely! Our almost 6 month old gets nothing but kisses and cuddles from our 2 year old pit. He just adores our daughter and is always laying near her to keep an eye on her." - brande_kramer
"YES 100%. My dog and my daughter are born on the same day. They believe they are siblings...I guess they kind of are." - discoveringranchlife
"Yes I trust them completely around my children. Just as my kids are a reflection of me, so are my pits. I raised them right to respect everyone. The kids know to respect everyone. The kids know to respect the pits and vice versa. Any dog, if raised to be mean and aggressive and treated bad, will be exactly that. There is nothing wrong with Pit Bulls or bully breeds. It's just a stereotype." - nisee_baby87
"I trust my boys (8 and 3) around any child, any age. Supervised with little ones because my guys are pretty big (over 100 lbs), I don't want anyone to get stepped on or pushed over. Some children I don't trust to be nice to my boys, so they (the children) get supervised." - jaketheamstaff
"Yes I do. However, it took some time. He came as a foster from someone we knew well. We'd been around him quite a bit but I still wanted to really get to know him and any triggers he may have. Does he take food gently? Does he jump on people? Is he food aggressive? How dog social? etc... His only issue is too much affection and not knowing when to stop. We're working on it but he's much better now." - pamddavidson
This last response is a great answer because no matter how big or small, or how much you trust your dog, at the end of the day he is still an animal and caution must always be exercised when caring for young children and babies especially. Such tiny, delicate humans need us, their parents to ensure their safety and be good role models. By teaching your children from an early age how to and how not to interact with a dog you are instilling in them the proper ways to behave around any dog, which may be the leading factor in an avoidable circumstance.
All of the responses have left me with a sense of pride in the fact that so many of you out there are wonderful parents and you feel confident raising your children with a Pit Bull. A Pit Bull is just a dog. He wants to lick you, love you, receive praise from you and live a normal life with his pack, you, his family.
I've read of unfortunate circumstances where a dog has in fact attacked a child and you know what the most common reasons are?
1) The dog was left unsupervised with the child.
2) The child aggravated the dog by pulling on his tail or any such behavior.
3) The dog was not trained.
These three things are imperative in the protection of your young. Obviously the first should come as no surprise. Now the second reason is the avoidable one that was stated earlier. Any and every dog owner should do a little research and get to know the mannerisms of a dog. You should know what behaviors to look for in a dog to tell if he is angry or getting aggravated. Some dogs don't mind having their tail or ears pulled while this may cause another dog to growl or even snap. Some dogs are food aggressive, some don't like to release their toys or treats to you. If you know what bothers your own dog you can teach your child and if you generally know the early warning signs or body language a dog gives off, you can avoid a mishap with a stranger's dog. Since dogs do not speak, their body language is an instant indicator of their mood. So please, do you research. While the following is just a short list of what to look for, it may be all you need.
Here are just a few warning signs of a dog in an aggressive state:
1) Retracking of the lips and showing teeth ( may be accompanied by growling)
2) Ears pulled completely back
3) "Flagging of the tail" (raising the tail making it high and rigid and moving it back and forth)
4) "Whale Eye" (when a dog doesn't look directly at you but from the corner of his eyes and you see more of the whites of his eyes)
The third reason is extremely important. Some people decide to get a cute little puppy but either do not know how to train a dog or just do not follow through with any training. That right there is losing the battle when it comes to Pit Bull owners especially.
If you are planning on owning a Pit Bull, or already do, and you haven't trained him or decide that you don't want to bother with it then you are the problem and you should not be allowed to own any dog. You are the reason why these dogs are under such extreme prejudice, like Breed Specific Legislation, which has caused the death or removal of so many dogs and has caused heartbreak for families all around the world. Having a dog in your backyard that doesn't have any social skills and doesn't know any commands is a recipe for disaster.
Dogs like this develop aggression and a strong desire to guard their territory from any and everyone. Many of these types of dogs are the reason that attacks happen, so please, please, please train your dog! It is not that hard, it just takes repetition. There are classes you can take your dog to, videos, articles, books, dog trainers... there's NO excuse! You wouldn't want an untrained dog around your baby would you? Well neither does anyone else and you definitely wouldn't want to be the reason for someone else's heartbreak.
Now that you are armed with reassurance from so many responsible parents and Pit Bull owners and know a few warning signs of an aggressive dog and the key factor (training), it is up to you to put the pieces of the puzzle together. If you choose that you want to add a dog, Pit Bull, or any other breed at that, into your home, if you are expecting a child or already have children, do you research. Pit Bulls make amazing companions and everyone that I have encountered that has one is over the moon with them. It is pretty much guaranteed that with a trained and friendly Pit Bull that you have greatly socialized from day one, you will be a happy Mommy or Daddy knowing your child will get to experience the joys of growing up with a great dog. After all, there is a reason the dog is called man's best friend.
Now If anyone is still a skeptic about having a baby and a Pit Bull in the same home, maybe you should take a look at some more adorable pictures of babies with their Pit Bulls and if you still feel nothing, then maybe, just maybe, you are a robot. Seriously though, have a look at some more cute pictures of little humans interacting with their best buds.
THE CUTEST BABY AND PIT BULL PICTURES EVER!