pit bull

The pit bull has a reputation as an aggressive dog. St. Joseph Animal Control and Rescue shelter staff say that any dog can be aggressive if they are trained that way.

The St. Joseph Animal Control and Rescue shelter takes in a variety of dogs throughout the year, 25 percent of which are pit bulls.

Some of the factors regarding the larger amount of pit bulls are irresponsible breeding and accidental litters. This breeding can create a wide range of dogs that take on the pit bull look.

Many of the pit bulls that come into the shelter are strays and typically mixed with other breeds.

The pit bull breed is commonly seen as aggressive. They are a go-to dog when certain individuals want an aggressive breed they can train to fight, which creates the idea that every pit bull is dangerous.

Jennifer Lockwood, a humane educator at the animal shelter, says it’s about the way the owner trains them. Any dog can be aggressive.

“It’s the deed, not the breed,” Lockwood said. “If a dog is aggressive, you should judge it based on the behavior and not the breed of the animal.”

One of the biggest issues the animal shelter sees with dogs like pit bulls is people returning them because of the lack of knowledge of how to handle their behavior.

“Someone doesn’t always understand what they’re getting when they get a dog,” Lockwood said. “It takes time and energy to train the dog how you want them to be.”

The shelter has literature and training programs that new dog owners can look into when adopting in order to know how to handle certain behaviors.

Lockwood said it’s important to get all of the information on the dog looking to be adopted in order to know the temperament and how to train it properly.

The shelter urges people to take advantage of their play yards outside in order to get to know the dog before making the decision to adopt.

Anyone interested in adopting a pit bull or a variety of other breeds is encouraged to stop by the animal shelter to check out their selection.

Bailey Ketcham can be reached

at bailey.ketcham@newspressnow.com.