There is a common misconception about dogs in general, but especially pit bulls, that it is best to adopt a puppy so it can be “raised right”. Don’t get us wrong, puppies are adorable and there isn’t a single one of us at APBR that doesn’t melt into a giant puddle of puppy loving goo every time one crosses our path. We are guilty of fawning over them, cooing, and talking to them in voices most people reserve for actual human babies. We get it. We love puppies as much as anyone else. While we agree that puppies are absolutely adorable, we’re here to tell you don’t have to adopt a puppy to ensure that your family winds up with a good breed ambassador. You have so many more options!
When a dog is “mature” it doesn’t mean that they are less energetic or more “set in their ways”. In fact, we have a couple of senior dogs in our program right now that can wrestle with the whippersnappers like they’re youngsters themselves! Pit bull type dogs are people pleasers and extremely smart. They love to learn! Many shelter dogs even have obedience skills from their previous life and are quick to pick up new skills and improve their manners. Some people lean towards puppies because they’re concerned that a mature dog won’t bond as closely with them. Believe it or not, mature dogs who have been in a shelter environment recognize that they’ve been saved and they are grateful. You will be the center of their world! Also, mature dogs also tend to be better with young children. They know how to be gentle, are less likely to knock a toddler down during play, and they’re patient enough to deal with ear and tail pulling until the child learns that it’s not nice to pull on ears and tails. They’ve very forgiving that way. Pit Bull type dogs hit maturity between the ages of two and three. During this time, they’re what we in the human world call “teenagers”. A dog’s temperament is not based 100% on nurture, nature plays a pretty big role in that as well. As they grow up, dogs differ in energy level, prey drive, and dog tolerance. The benefit of adopting a mature dog is – what you see is what you get. When a dog is mature, you know exactly what their temperament is, because their teenage years are behind them. For example, if a mature dog’s prey drive is low, that’s not likely to change. If a mature dog gets along with other dogs, that’s not likely to change either. If a mature dog is friendly and good with strangers you then you know he’s temperamentally correct. Having knowledge of your dog’s individual traits up front can help ensure a lasting placement and help you choose a dog that best matches your lifestyle.
The point is, choosing to adopt a mature dog that has characteristics like a high energy level is a whole different ball game than raising a dog from puppyhood with hopes of getting a couch potato and winding up with an Olympian. This is especially true in multi-dog households. While socialization helps, dog tolerance can change as puppies mature, so it’s hard to predict if puppy will grow up to love being around other dogs.
What we’re trying say is that if you don’t like the element of surprise, adopting a mature dog that has spent time in a foster home is the way to go! We can match you up with a dog that will best suit your family so you can all live happily ever after.