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Hey all. For the last couple months, my girlfriend and I have been looking at getting a puppy, and we both like pit bulls. She's really wanted to get a pit bull from the shelter because she wants to provide a shelter dog a good life, and combat the stigma against the ~breed~. I'm sympathetic to that, but I want a puppy from a breeder, so I can handle its training in its early life, and to be able to base it around the characteristics of its exact breed. Everything I've read suggests the early weeks and months are a critical phase for socialization and obedience classes and what not, especially for pit bulls, and I want to be in control of that, to make sure the dog is set up for success.
Today we found a compromise, as we were researching dog obedience schools in our area together. She works with traumatized children, and they'd been discussing having a therapy dog in the office for a while now, but nobody has one. She hadn't really considered it because she wasn't aware we could get therapy training for the dog nearby, but she really liked the idea of going that route once we found out. So I said we'll get a pit bull puppy from a breeder, get him going on socialization and obedience classes ASAP, and gradually look to get the dog registered as a therapy dog with the AKC as he/she goes through training. Seems like a win/win.
So with that being where we're at, do you guys have any advice for us? I did find one site that suggested that staffies make for good therapy dogs, mainly due to their reputation as a "nanny dog," and I think as far as pit bulls go, that would be my choice for this. But I'm concerned that perhaps while the breed may work, individuals within that breed may not depending on their own personalities. So I'm not sure if it's a matter of getting any staffie puppy and just working with them, or if I need to be more concerned about the individual dogs temperament rather than its exact breed. I don't know if it's even realistic to expect to set up a framework for a puppies training to become a therapy dog before you've even gotten the dog, so I may be approaching the entire thing from a flawed perspective.
We're going to talk to the AKC registered trainer in our area this week to find out some more details as well, but I'll take any tips I can get since this is all new to me. Thanks.
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