The popular American reality show Pit Bulls and Parolees that airs on the discovery channel (http://animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/pitbulls-and-parolees) focuses on the Villalobos Rescue Center, a pit bull-specific shelter that contains about 150 to 200 dogs and rescues abandoned and neglected dogs. The shelter socializes fearful animals into trusting humans and matches them with caring homes, seeking to educate the public on the true nature of pit bulls. The second part of the name comes from the parolees that work at the shelter, hired because parolees often have trouble finding work.
While the show is entertaining, heartbreaking, and informative, there are plenty of real-life lessons you can take from the show to apply to your own search for a dog or your ownership of a pit bull.
The Villalobos Rescue Center would still exist without their hit show Pit Bulls and Parolees. However, they have received many donations due to the publicity that they received from the show Pit Bulls and Parolees. They accept many donations, and you might be surprised on what they love to get from supporters – blankets! They go through a great deal of dog food, dog supplements, bowls, and water on a dally basis. However they describe on the show Pit Bulls and Parolees that they can never get enough blankets!
Don’t assume at first sight.
Reputation isn’t everything, and the show beautifully illustrates this fact. Pit bulls are often saddled with a reputation for being violent, aggressive, or dangerous dogs. While some people deliberately avoid socializing their dogs and train them to be aggressive, many other dogs can still be rehabilitated or taught to trust humans again. Similarly, parolees are often viewed with suspicion, and there’s no way to tell when someone has changed their life as a result of a prison term or sentence. Whether you’re meeting dogs or people, give them the benefit of the doubt and a second chance – as Tia Marie Torres, the shelter’s owner does both her employees and dogs.
Socialize your animals from the start.
When you’re adopting a young animal or breeding animals, it’s crucial to understand the nature of your animals and work from the very beginning to socialize your animals properly. This goes for other types of animals, but in particular, pit bulls need to be socialized from the start to behave around other animals, people, and so on. Few dogs are “unadoptable” or impossible to rehabilitate – Torres sends these animals to a ranch, but with proper training, your dog can be a loyal, gentle animal no matter what breed it is.
Follow proper training techniques.
Caesar Milan’s dog training techniques are world-famous for good reason – they work with the nature of a dog, rather than treating it as a human. Don’t just teach your dog to sit and stay and think that’s all you have to do. Using proper training techniques that don’t focus on pain or negative reinforcement can make any dog eager to learn, please, and help around the household. Whether you want a protection dog or cuddly pet, training is crucial.
Always take proper care of your pets.
There’s a good reason all the pit bulls that go through the shelter are spayed and neutered. Animal overpopulation is a huge problem, so ensure your pets are spayed and neutered as soon as they are old enough in order to avoid accidental pregnancies. Your pets should be kept indoors if they are cats or on-leash if they are dogs, unless in a park where you can keep them within sight anyway. It’s also important to get vaccinations for your pets on schedule and keep its living conditions as comfortable and humane as possible. Examples of neglected dogs are easy to see o
n this show. If you can’t commit to taking your dog for twice-daily walks, cleaning up after it, feeding it, playing with it, and showing it love and attention, opt to skip the pet.
Consider other sources than breeders.
Seeking out animals from shelters is a great move, as it helps reduce the burden on the shelter system, freeing up a kennel for another neglected or abandoned dog. You give a pet a second chance at life, and you know that this dog has been trained carefully, socialized again, and paid lots of attention to make sure they are safe and a good match for your family. It takes a while to go through the adoption process, just as it would the purchasing process when working with a breeder, but if you are assessed and found to have a good, stable home for a dog, you will be given lots of support.
There are lots of real-life lessons you can take from shows like Pitbulls and Parolees. The show itself is a source of entertainment, but whether you’re searching for a new dog yourself or want to improve your dog-rearing skills, you can still learn something. It’s important to give every dog a family and a second chance, and it’s just as important to treat the people around you with that same respect and open minded attitude. You never know when there could be a gem lurking beneath a stereotyped exterior!
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