Behind the Scenes of Owning a Bully Breed

Most of you know I have my lovely dog Drax and he is a bully breed (American Pit Bull Terrier).

I know what most people think about this breed or any of bully breed for that matter; they’re dangerous, they’re made to kill people and animals, can’t be tamed, etc. The list goes on but I’m not here to write to you about all bully breeds, I’m here to you to talk specifically about MY dog. No dog is the same, just like no person is the same. Charles Manson, Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy and Karla Homolka are terrible people but does that mean we should ban people? No. Therefore you cannot say my dog is a bad dog because of the way he was born. Yes my dog is incredibly cute, friendly and listens well but there’s a lot most people don’t see. This is behind the scenes of owning a bully breed, lets begin!

Dogs are a lot of work no matter the breed or size, if you’re not going to put the time or effort in then don’t get one. We got Drax at 8 weeks old and at 8 weeks old training started. That means we were potty training him, teaching him sit, stay, walking him on the leash and so much more. I know most people get a puppy and they think oh he’s a puppy I just want to play with him and be cute. Yes that is 100% true but this is the best time to train him and will set his habits for the rest of his life.
Crate training also began the night we got him and yes he did cry the first 3 nights, all night long but after than he was fine. I know most people don’t like crates because they think they’re just shoving them in a box, I mean if you’re shoving them in there while your home and ignoring them then yea you are an asshole. For Drax the only time he’s locked in the crate is when we’re not home, when we are home the door to the crate is always open and you know what? Drax will go in there on his own. We treat his crate like it’s his own personal space, if he’s in there we leave him alone. Now that he’s older we planned to get rid of it but he likes the crate too much, he hates when the door is closed and will hit the crate so the door swings open.
Socializing with dogs and people of all backgrounds is key. If your dog does not have all it’s shots you need to tell people and maybe only want them in areas you trust. Most dog owners love puppies and will let their dogs go to a puppy because their dog has all their shots. Drax has A LOT of friends in the dog world because my boyfriend can talk to anyone and we socialized him. With people we wanted him to know every skin colour so my boyfriend asked a couple of friends with different backgrounds to hang out with Drax. If you have dreads my dog will love you because he thinks anyone with dreads is that one person. Dogs have eyes people!

The next main thing for Drax was a routine, from day one at 8am we woke him up and at 8pm it was time to settle down for bed. After that you fill in the times, so specific time for breakfast and dinner, walk times, play times, nap times, etc. Every living thing, including humans, crave routine. That is why all of us are going stir crazy being in quarantine! Now that Drax is 1 year and 8 months he wakes me up at 8am to start the day, I literally do not use an alarm clock unless it’s Saturday because I get up an hour earlier (when I was working).
We went to puppy school with Drax, yep, I’ve had a lot of dogs throughout my life but there’s always room to learn. For 6 weeks every Tuesday we went to puppy school at PetSmart. We wanted to do it there because Drax goes crazy in this store, it’s the one place that he turns into a BIG child with all the toys, dogs and people. Whatever we learned in that class we went home and worked on it for the rest of the week until the next class.
Because we went to puppy school for every good behaviour we ask of him or randomly see him do he gets a reward aka a treat. Drax will do anything for food, he’s a piggy. Now with that being said, if we see or sense bad behaviour coming a re-focus is required IMMEDIATELY. That means getting his focus and making him do commands, that makes his focus on us and takes his mind off whatever bad behaviour he was thinking of doing. If he does bad behaviour is gets corrected immediately aswell.
This next one is a little weird, it’s like you’re beating up your dog but you’re not. From day one with Drax I would grab his paws and hold on to them, grab his tail, pull his tail, pinch his skin like babies do, grab his face, kiss his face, keep my face in his face, touch his ears, and pull on his ears. I still do that to this day and I do it because NOTHING phases him now. I clean his ears once a week, and my boyfriend cuts his nails, he literally just lays there.

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Drax getting his nails done. 

The vet can touch him, kids can touch him, anyone can touch him in more sensitve spots because I bugged the shit out of him and still do.

Any medium to large breed dog is considered a working dog, they need a purpose. With that being said Drax gets walked 2-3 times a day (5 times a day in quarantine) because if you don’t any dog will get bored and become destructive. Also I believe in problem solving, just like kids, but without causing frustrating. Drax has a couple of mind/nose problem solving games. His favourite is hide and sniff, we do this more in the winter when it’s -40 out. Drax goes in his crate and I hide treats all over the house, he then uses his nose to find them. We also bought a game that is like hide and sniff but it spins and he has to open little bones to get the treats. Another thing is toys, toys, toys! He has a lot of toys and he destroys them but it keeps him from eating thing we don’t want him to eat like our shoes.

The next couple of things are simple and dont need an explaination. We’re strict with him and I personally have high expectations of him (that’s just the way I was raised I guess and I’m big on trust). He grew up in a tiny bachelor basement apartment so there was no room for him to hide to be bad. He’s NEVER been hit by my boyfriend or myself. I don’t believe abuse will solve anything, I find respect is stronger than fear. Lastly, and the most important next to training is love.

So yes we absolutely love Drax but he’s just like having a toddler and everyday is work but dogs give back the work you put out.

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Left: Drax cuddling at 8 weeks. Right: Drax cuddling at 1 year and 8 months. Some things never change. 

Drax has an instagram if any of you are interested, @lifewithdrax

Thanks for reading,

Maeg.

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