three pawsitive steps bully breed parents can take to change their image

bully breeds* have an image problem, thanks to negative media attention and ignorance about the “breed.”*  they are judged and treated unfairly just because of their looks and dna. it’s certainly not fair, but it’s the way it is. 


it’s up to bully breed parents to take matters into their own hands, and do whatever they can to change the public’s perception of these awesomely terrific dogs.


here are just a few ideas:

  1. socialize your bully breed. like it or not, a poorly socialized labrador retriever gets much more leeway than a poorly socialized bully breed.  if someone sees a retriever jumping, lunging or barking, no matter whether it’s in play or not, they get a “oh look, that dog is so excited to meet mine.  how cute.”  however, a bully breed gets “oh no, that dog is out of control.  how scary.  run!”  so, take it upon yourself to socialize your dog.  teach them how to play nicely with other dogs, greet other canines calmly on leash, and how to say hi to friendly strangers in a gentle, friendly manner.  make every one of their human and dog experiences positive from the moment you bring them into your home, so they are happy, well adjusted dogs.

  3. take off the metal. so often i see very nice bully breeds wearing heavy, prongy, intimadating collars.  these pieces of equipment are not only aversive, causing pain and discomfort to the dog, but they encourage a negative, “tough guy” image.  just like with people, “dress” matters and conveys a message.  rather than displaying a negative one, go for the oppoisite and suit your dog in “softer” collars, and harnesses instead.  dress them in the part of “loving angel,” rather than “nasty bad guy.”  you’d be amazed at how much this means to people that don’t quite understand bully breeds.

  5. train them to be therapy dogs. as a therapy dog trainer, i am regularly disheartened by the low registration of bully breeds in my therapy dog classes.  my classes are filled with retreivers, doodles, and the like.  i love those breeds, but bully breeds can do the work just as well, and it’s important to show the world this.  take them through the process of learning advanced obedience, and the dog/people skills required to be a therapy dog.  there is nothing better than a photo of a pit bull, sitting sweetly next to a child as they read a book, or a mastiff cuddling a senior as they softly pat their head.



it may not be fair that bully breeds are held to a higher standard than other dogs, but for now, it’s the way it is.  so rather than dwelling on the negative, go out there and change their image, for the pawsitive!