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I finally decided to get a pitbull puppy and I'm going to start looking for one within the next week or 2. I've never owned any dogs or pets before so for now I'm trying to learn as much as I can. So if anyone can give me tips or point me to any books or web sites where I can learn everything I need to know then that will be much appreciated! I've already been reading and doing research but you can never know too much. I know pitbulls have a bad reputation so I am determined to not just be a good owner but to become a "model owner".

I'm not really sure where I should look for a puppy. I'm going to check out shelters, I'm going to look on craigslist, I'm not sure how to find reputable breeders. I've tried looking on google but I could only find breeders that specialize in "XL" and "XXL" pitbulls and I'm just looking for a regular or standard size. Also if there's anything I should look for when selecting a puppy let me know. I heard someone say to get one that appears the most laid back and docile.

As for me, I've been unemployed for the past 7 months so I have more idle time than I know what to do with. I wish I would have got a puppy earlier in the year but I wasn't planning on being unemployed this long. I should be returning to my old job in about a month or 2, and when that happens the other members of my household can take care of the pup while I'm at work but I plan on being the primary caretaker, and I would rather not delegate responsibilities to anyone else unless I absolutely have to. My work schedule would be from 6:30am-3:30pm Monday thru Friday, and occasionally another 2 or 3 hours of overtime.

Despite me being unemployed right now, money is not going to be an issue. I can still afford all the training classes and vet visits and whatever else I need to pay for.
 

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If you have never owned a dog (or any animal) before, I might suggest getting an easier breed first. What is it about Pitties that appeals to you? Have you ever interacted with any or spent time with them? I do like the fact that you said you want to be a "model owner" and not make the dog a "model dog", as you can't control another's personality. But sometimes you may find that even if you're a good owner your dog can still have problems that have nothing to do with you. Just like kids with good parents can have problems.

If you're set on Pit Bulls then I will say you absolutely do not need to go to a breeder! And please, do not go to Craigslist, ESPECIALLY for a Pit bull. Those people are just...well, it would probably be bleeped out on this site. You can very easily find 8-10 week old Pittie puppies in most shelters and rescues around the country of various genders, colors and varieties. In many situations you can also meet the mother as well, which is always a plus. Getting a Pittie from a breeder is just a waste of money and lost chance to save a life because they're everywhere, and unless you're looking for a show dog it doesn't need to be a "purebred" or "champion line" dog. I recommend Petfinder. Just put in your location, Pit Bull, and "baby" and you're sure to see pages of sweet faces that need a home, and are just as good a pet as their $3000 a pop cousins with pedigree papers, and they typicalyl come vaccinated and neutered as well!

You'll want to ask what kind of socialization any rescue does as well. (If you are set on breeder I'll go into that too) Ask if the puppies meet people of all races and ages, other dogs, cats, etc. Do they get basic potty training skills? Were they born in a shelter or foster home? Where did they and mom come from? Does mom have any health or temperament issues? Things like that. A good rescue will also want to know a lot about you and what kind of home you'll have.

I will say some people might be a bit suspicious and flat out even refuse you a dog if you tell them you are unemployed and have never owned a dog. Personally unless you've proven to me that your spouse/family supports you financially enough to have a dog I wouldn't let you have one either. It's sadly too common that dogs end up in shelters due to financial issues, even if the owners are good people, and rescues want to prevent that. I'll trust that you can support yourself and a dog, but just a forewarning.
 

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Hi! I just adopted my first pitbull puppy. I read lots of books and websites to prepare myself for one, but honestly I wasn't nearly as prepared as I thought I was. he is very time consuming & needs a lot of supervision. He will chew up anything & everything so even though I thought I had invested in enough chew toys I was back at the store again within two days. I've also never had a puppy as bad about biting as him. It's not aggressive, dominant biting, he's just playing, but his teeth are really sharp. Over all I've had mostly good expirences with him, he's a soft hearted smart pup, but be sure you are really ready to spend lots of time keeping an eye on your new pup & remember it will take A LOT of patience.
 
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I agree with Traciek88 and if you are just wanting a pitbull looking dog and have no need for papers then look for one from a rescue, or at your shelter. Most shelters a loaded with pitbull looking dogs that perfectly good dogs that are going to be put to sleep simply for looking like a pitbull.

If you have your heart set on getting one from a breeder, then skip Craig's List, 99% of the people who are advertising on Craig's List are back yard breeders and there's no telling what type of dog you will actually get, but I can just about guarantee you that there will be no type of health testing done on the parents nor will the temperament of the parents be taken into account so the puppy you find at the shelter will be just as good as the puppy you get from those type of breeders.

Reputable breeders do not breed for XL or XXL pitbulls, those sizes are a sure sign that the breeder is a back yard breeder. You will not get an AKC papered American Pitbull terrier because the AKC does not recognize the breed. If you want an AKC papered dog that looks like a Pitbull then you need to get an American Staffordshire Terrier. Home , BUT the UKC (united kennel club) does recognize American Pitbull terriers as a breed and will paper them. United Kennel Club: American Pit Bull Terrier There are differences between the two breeds, the major one being that the staffy is bigger then the pitty, and the pitty tends to be more dog aggressive.

Also if you see someone offereing a certain colored nose as rare or special, normally it'll be a blue nose, and asking more for it, then the person is a backyard breeder. Nose color does not make a dog more special.
You can also try to find someone breeding American Pit
 

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I IMPLORE you to consider getting a rescue pitbull... Seriously, I think that pitties are the most desired puppies and the least desired dogs. There is nothing "wrong" with rescue pitbulls. They are not defective. They do not take any more training than a puppy. And in all likelihood, you could very well scoop the mom of one of these so-called "XL" (aka, not recognized by any kennel club) pitbulls out of the shelter.

If you do buy from a breeder, just know that typically, the four breeds classified as "pitbull" are:

American Pitbull Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Terrier

Anything else... red nose pits, blue nose pits, pocket pitbull, XL pitbull... Is pretty-much just an illegitimate gimmick used by backyard breeders to excuse a fee of $1000 for a puppy with no showing or sporting lineage.
 

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Here's a page so you can see what a decent kennel looks like. Notice that they do genetic health testing on the dogs, That's the OFA Cardiac Clear and OFA Patella normal, etc. that you see by the dogs pictures. Also note that the dogs have titles, the kennel competes with the dogs and shows that they can do what the breed is meant to do. These particular dogs are winning shows, they are champions and grand champions and the dogs are also competing in weight pulling. Near as I can tell they are not over breeding the dogs, I only see one litter under Puppies. I do not see a copy of a contract, but if they have one it should include that they'll take back any puppy or dog for any reason, that they dog should be returned to them and not rehomed or dropped off at a rescue or shelter. It should also include some type of breeding clause, or a spay / neuter one. Nevada Kennels APBT's and SBT's

If you get a puppy from a reputable breeder be prepared to wait to get one. Often good breeders have waiting list and they do not over breed their dogs and may only have one litter available per year, if that.
 

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Good on you for doing some research before getting a puppy. I can foresee a few issues coming your way if you go ahead with your current plan.

First, you have never raised a puppy. This extraordinarily difficult, they may be cute but the biting(mouthing), constant need for you to be there, peeing everywhere and never ever listening even when you are trying to get them out of danger is very frustrating.

Second, you want to be a model owner. Me too! I had all these plans that my pup was going to walk beside me on walks, never jump or beg for food and would sit quietly while I did things. What happened is my puppy developed a reactive personality and I'm just happy if she's not scared and/or reactive. She jumps on people, has a limited ability to walk anywhere with us, outright attacked us when she was a puppy and got overstimulated, runs across roads to say hi to people, chases birds/animals and is toy obsessed. On the other hand I have an amazingly intelligent and fun dog to play with and all her issues are manageable and improving. It has been an extremely steep learning curve and we've had to alter our ideas of having a dog to suit her; we go on short walks, play a lot of get that in the field near our place, do 4 training sessions a day and have learnt a huge amount about dog behavior.

Accidentally hit post, there's more.
 

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The breed you have chosen currently has a bad reputation so any 'bad' behavior is less likely to be tolerated by others.

If I could do it again I would go for a young adult from a rescue, that is what I suggest for you. That way you take out some of the guesswork temperament wise and you'd have to adjust to less things all at once. There is no guarantee you can meld a puppy to your ideal, they have their own distinct personality.

If you go ahead and get a puppy, have a look at all the stickies in the training, housetraing and new addition forums. Also check out control unleashed the puppy program, it's a great start for any puppy. Consider where you are going to socialize the puppy without exposing it to parvo, a puppy class is an excellent place to start. Remember that different things will work for different dogs and to take some time away from the puppy each day to give yourself a break.
 

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You can only research so much (but good on you for preparing yourself!) but just be prepared for anything.

Even with all the exercise, socialization and obedience sessions I provide my 6 month old pitbull puppy (I got her at 8 weeks) she is now developing a behavioural issue with fear growling and barking. I mean, this isn't just with pitbulls...dogs/puppies in general can go through this phase too...but given that bully breeds already have a reputation of being dangerous and vicious, this behaviour doesn't help their case at all.

She is my second dog and I didn't have to spend NEARLY as much time with my first dog compared to her. This is what we do everyday:

- morning swims/fetch at the beach before I go to work or a playdate
- lunchtime I come home and take her out to play fetch for 20-30 mins plus obedience training
- one hour trail walk and 20-30 fetch/playdate + obedience training

Once a week:
- dog daycare *note: this daycare is supervised the WHOLE time by at least 2 staff members that are also dog trainers
- obedience classes

Like others have mentioned, I would seek out dog shelters first and avoid Craigslist. My friend couldn't handle her puppy anymore so I took her in, but pretty sure she got her from a backyard breeder from Craigslist. She couldn't tell me the history of the parents or anything but I'm hoping I'm not going to run into any serious health issues in the future. So far Mia's health is okay....*fingers crossed*

One last note: because you say you are currently unemployed and will have a lot of time to spend with your pup, also take the opportunity to spend some time away from your pup. Just a little time everyday so that once you start work again, the puppy will not freak out and develop any anxiety when you are gone. Bully breeds bond very closely/strongly with their owners.
 

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Thanks @SusanLynn

Bri was 6 months when we adopted her, she is an Amstaff mix (that's what the rescue told us, but she was a stray, so who knows, might be pitbull, might be amstaff or anything in between :) ).

I would, as the others already suggested, definitely go through a rescue and I would also not necessarily get a puppy. But this is not pitbull specific, but in general and a good advise I got when I was first inquiring here before I got Bri. Since most rescues have their dogs placed in foster homes, the personality is more known than in shelters, where sadly, most of the dogs live in kennels. Also, rescues oftentimes have adoption events, this gives you the opportunity to check out more than one dog and, since you also never had one before, see the differences and have a direct comparison (is he/she engaged, interested in you was a big thing for me and my husband).

Now the pitbull specific part and I know that not everyone wants to read this, I already wrote it in a different thread. Pitbulls were bred to fight. As a puppy (and they "stay" puppy head wise for 2-3 years) they might be the most social dogs ever, people friendly, dog/animal friendly, always wanting to play (yes, very human focused, Bri is definitely a velcro dog!), but with maturity this can change, no matter what you did or how you trained him or her. It's not a fault, it's a trait of this breed and it might never happen, but I can. Dog aggression and being vary of strangers is not uncommon at all.
That said (and that was my plan before we found Bri :D ) I would rather go for a young adult 1 1//2 to3-4 years of age, so it is not such a poker game.

The rescue it self was not at all hard to persuade that we wanted to adopt an Amstaff mix with no prior dog owning experience. They looked at the fenced yard and the house, made sure we signed her up for training and did some calls to provided references.

I hope this helps! If you have questions, please let me/us know!
 

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Sorry for this double post, but I forgot one thing:

When bringing the dog home, no matter if puppy or young adult, think about having a 2 week shut down phase. This will help the dog and you to bond and to make sure that the dog understands he/she has a new home now.
The way I did it: No visitors, no taking the dog anywhere else (unless to the vet, different story). Potty only in the backyard. Play/exercise only in the backyard or house.

I feel that this did a lot of good with the bonding between us and Bri. We didn't confuse her even more with new people and she got to know the house, the backyard and us and all at her pace (opening the doors to the different rooms one after the other during the first two weeks, to not overwhelm her with too much space in the beginning).

That said: What worked well for us doesn't need to be working well for everyone, but I think it makes sense.
 

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I wholeheartedly agree with everything that's been said. I would definitely consider a rescue when searching for your pup or older dog.

My experience with the breed: I have a 5 year old pit and a 4 month old pit mix. My 5 year old girl was very energetic until she was about 3, and now she's a regular couch potato (although she loves to hike and could do that all day). Both of them love to please and are highly motivated by food, which has made them easy to train. They are both excessively people-friendly and love to be around their family and cuddle. Both really like to chew and our older girl, especially, is a strong chewer. She is dog selective. I don't take her to dog parks, I never leave her unsupervised with other dogs, and I always keep her on a leash. The puppy goes to class once a week and has supervised play dates with other dogs. We also do a lot in the way of obedience training.

As @BrittaS said, pits have a genetic tendency towards dog aggression and it might not be something you can train or socialize out of them. Definitely give your pup plenty of positive exposure to all kinds of people and things and enroll in a puppy class if you can, but know that this tendency can still develop later on and it doesn't necessarily have to do with how they were raised.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wasn't expecting to get so many replies. Thank you to everyone who took the time out to reply to this thread and give me advice. I really appreciate it!
 

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Looking to buy

If you really love to have a Pitbull puppy then firstly you should have to check and observe first on where you choose to get a puppy. I would also suggest try looking at those rescue or adaptation center.
 
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