Warm Fuzzy Salute

Positively Pitties is a Dane County Humane Society education and obedience training program for owners of Pit Bull Terriers, affectionately referred to as pitties. This program began with Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) employees’ love of this breed that they see all too often come through the shelter doors. Currently we have two paid Positively Pitties trainers, Daniela Vaughan, owner of a wonderful pittie named Max and Ginny Thompson, CPDT. Our coordinator, Jennifer Pratt, owner of three lovable pitties; Mary Lou, Bozley and Eddie, oversees the program in addition to her role as DCHS Animal Medical Services Supervisor.

Why do we love these dogs? They are robust, quick and brimming with vigor. Ever the intelligent clowns who want to please and yearn to be a lap dog. They tend to view the world as a giant playhouse and are known as the perennial puppy, enjoying games well into their old age. These good natured, loyal and affectionate dogs are obedient and eager to please which makes them easy to train. While pitties as a breed have a tendency to be less social with other dogs, in most cases pitties can grow to be wonderful canine playmates with proper socialization and training.

Adult dog behavior in ALL dog breeds results from a combination of nature and nurture and is influenced by a dog’s genetics, socialization, training and owner management. The main goal of our program is to be a resource for pittie owners. It takes extra care and responsibility to own a pittie because of their high exercise requirements, need for lots of human contact and their poor reputation with the media. We strive to give owners the knowledge and know how to communicate with their dogs even in distracting environments in order to show our community that pitties can be great canine citizens.

Each session of our part one basic obedience class starts with a short informative presentation on the breed followed by manners training. Examples of topics covered are history of the breed, myths vs. facts, toys, resource lists, breed specific legislation, common behavior problems, basic obedience training utilizing positive reinforcement methods. In addition, open discussion and questions are encouraged at the end of each class. Part two intermediate obedience classes are focused on building stronger attention and calming skills that help owners gain their dog’s focus when faced with real-world distractions. We also discuss common obstacles we encounter as owners of this beloved breed.

Want to learn more about our Positively Pitties program or know a friend or family member who could benefit? Direct them to our website http://www.giveshelter. org/positively-pitties-training.html Our education program includes 2 six week sessions. Classes are one hour and 15 minutes long and are held in the DCHS training room on Monday evenings. Once you get to know this breed you too will understand why they are truly one of the most misunderstood breeds. Please help us to inspire others to take a second look at the breed. As any loving owner will tell you “To know a pittie is to love a pittie”.