Dog Tolerance – Pit Bull Style

From the archive: Dog Tolerance – Pit Bull Style

Before we dive into this topic let’s preface it with this statement:  Dogs are individuals.  They should be evaluated and judged as individuals. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at dog tolerance.

It’s true that breed characteristics exist.  Some are good, others not so good.  For example, herding dogs tend to be excellent workers. They are also known to be quite bossy and will attempt to herd small humans, often by nipping at their heels.  Guardian dogs are almost always extremely loyal and will do anything to keep their family safe.  They may also make it very difficult, and in extreme cases, impossible to have house guests unless they are confined away from visitors.  See where I’m going with this?

Pit bulls have many very positive traits.  They are exceptionally smart, eager to please, and tend to fall in love with people in a split second.  Their main drawback, though, is their tendency to be dog aggressive and prey driven.

We’ve mentioned prey drive in this article only because, while a pit bull may be dog tolerant, small dogs can and often do resemble prey animals.  When this is the case different management procedures are required to keep it from being a problem.  We’ll talk about that another time.

There are different levels of dog tolerance that can mostly be categorized in four groups.  They are Friendly, Tolerant, Selective, and Aggressive.

Dog friendly pit bulls are what we call “cold” dogs.  They don’t have an ounce of natural dog aggression in them.  Truly cold dogs are few and far between but they do exist.  Owners of these types of dogs need to always be alert, just in case, but basically have it pretty easy in the management department.  Dog friendly pit bulls make the best breed ambassadors because of their ability to attend awareness functions where other dogs will be.

Dog tolerant pit bulls are generally pretty laid back and go with the flow.  They don’t seek out the company of other dogs but they’re indifferent if another dog is in their space.  They may be easily annoyed by other dogs, especially if another dog is displaying rude canine behavior such as rambunctious attempts to play.  They will usually ignore another dog’s antics and may resort to a warning growl before removing themselves from the company of a dog who is bugging them without further incident.

Dog selective pit bulls appear to be pretty hit and miss with other dogs.  They will act friendly with one dog and aggressive with another.  Owners will often times try to figure out what traits trigger the different responses, but the truth is, sometimes it’s as simple as chemistry.  Rather than attempting to force a selective dog to be friends with a dog he doesn’t like it’s more productive to manage and expose him to dogs he interacts positively with.

Dog aggressive pit bulls, while they may be able to live peacefully with another dog within his family (but never, ever left alone), are unable to interact with any other dogs.  Seeing another dog will trigger some type of heightened response, whether it be rigid stance and pricked ears or a full on display of snarling and lunging in an attempt to attack.  This type of dog is every bit as happy and loving in the home with his people as a dog friendly pit bull, he just cannot be exposed to other dogs.  Period.

Dog aggression is a hard wired behavior and cannot be trained away.  Temperament ALWAYS trumps training, and while training is a strong tool to be used in managing this type of behavior, it WILL NOT cure it.  Owners should never believe anyone who says they can train this trait away.  Doing so will only lead to disappointment, if not tragedy.  Do not set your dog up to fail, accept him as he is and manage him accordingly.
It is also important to note that just because a pit bull is aggressive towards other dogs and/or extremely prey driven does not mean he is aggressive towards humans.  Those are two different types of aggression that have nothing to do with each other.  The very rare exceptions to that rule are dogs that are genetically unbalanced.  More on that later.

If you need help identifying which type of tolerance your pit bull has contact us and we can help you.  If you are looking to adopt a pit bull be sure to think of these tolerance levels and decide whether you can handle a dog selective or dog aggressive dog.  It’s OK if you can’t.  If the dog you’re interested in has a lower level of dog tolerance than you feel you can handle there is nothing wrong with continuing your search.  We will be glad to help you find the dog that is right for you.
Remember, the decision to adopt a dog should always be made because you want him for you, not for companionship for another dog.  Pit bulls do not need dog friends.  They would much rather have you all to themselves.  His devotion to you is one of the things that make being owned by a pit bull one of the most rewarding experiences in the world.


Pet Safety Tips for Fall via

As always, we recommend the number one way to ensure your pet’s safety year-round is to microchip them. Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance offers Home Again microchipping to all dogs at most of our events. We microchip pit bulls for free & other breeds for a $15 donation.

This information is reposted from a wonderful article originally by

Crisp, cool air & luscious foliage is right around the corner!dog-1282862_1280

With the summer season almost at its end, fall will be arriving soon with its own form of dangers for our furry friends. There are some important safety issues to consider & below are some tips from PetLink to keep your dog happy & healthy.


Can others see your dog at night?

Daylight Savings Time means shorter days & longer nights. Make sure your dog is wearing a reflective collar or leash during the dusk & night times while outside so others can easily see them.

Monitor any recent health changesbarbara-de-bordeaux-733297_1280

The change in seasons can bring on skin conditions, breathing issues, aching joints & allergies. If you notice any unusual changes in your dog’s health, seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

Keep school supplies out of paws reach

Glue sticks, pencils, magic markers, crayons & other supplies are left around the house by school children. Make sure these supplies are secured where your dog can’t access as some are poisonous.

Watch out for ticks!

Problems with ticks & fleas are still prevalent during the fall season. Check your dog after coming indoors & use a flea & tick preventative to keep these pests out of your home.

Be Cautious of Rodent Poisonshalloween-pups

The use of rat & mouse poisons increase during the fall as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures. These poisons are highly toxic &, if ingested, the results could be fatal.

Be Safe this Halloween

Halloween is another holiday when many pets go missing. Kid’s costumes may frighten your dog & there’s plenty of chances to run out of the house with your front door constantly being opened.

Here are some additional tips if any of your pets go missing this fall:

  • Make sure all of your microchipped pets are registered with the dog-921381_1280microchip provider.
  • Call or login to your pet’s microchip account & file a lost pet report.
  • Make sure your phone numbers, email & address are up to date. Login to your account to verify your contact information.
  • Print out a lost pet poster from your microchip account.
  • Put out food, water, animal bedding or an article of clothing where your dog went missing.
  • Go door to door with flyers around the area where your dog went missing.
  • Contact your local vets, animal shelters & animal control facilities to alert them of your missing pet. Send them copies of your lost pet poster to distribute & post in their facilities
  • Utilize your Facebook profile or any other social media outlets to alert your friends & followers that your dog is missing

Meet APBA Volunteer Susie

The core of Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance is our volunteers. These are people with full-time jobs, families, and their own dogs but choose to donate their time to help spread APBA’s message when they can. Each volunteer has their own story so we’re featuring one Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance volunteer each month to highlight their connection to our cause. Thank you to our volunteers, for all you do!

Featured Volunteer for August: Susie Thompson Bruckschen

Featured APBA Event for August: Dog Day at Breaux Vineyards susie phuong

Susie is our most valuable volunteer & our featured volunteer for the month of August. Susie is a founding member of Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance & has made her mark on the rescue & everyone she meets, including dogs! Here’s what some of her fellow volunteers have to say…

Phuong – Sunshine Susie, has been my rescue mentor since day one. She absolutely loves rescuing – watching the transformation from shelter pup to family dog is one of her greatest joys, & you can see it, just by talking to her. She’s a great friend & volunteer, always been my second-hand man, helping me out anyway she can, & always willing to go the extra mile. I love her!

Sean – For a long time Susie has been a major player in keeping APBA alive. Her dedicationfranz & time committed to keeping things running smoothly is unbelievable. Her willingness to provide a temporary (or permanent) foster for dogs in need even when her house is full shows her dedication and sacrifice she is willing to make to help each dog succeed.

Michelle – Susie is the heart & soul of APBA. She is my rescue mom! She definitely knows how to make a volunteer feel like part of the family. Everything she does for our fosters is done with total care & she truly lights up when she sees a pup go from shelter to forever home.

lawrence and susie

Lawrence – I’d like to reemphasize her ability to keep things alive when things were getting challenging for APBA. Susie is genuine, thoughtful, & a caring person fully committed to the wellbeing of dogs & humans alike.

Christina – Susie is just such a down to earth & good hearted person who cares immensely for the dogs (& the APBA family as a whole). She puts a lot of time & effort into the rescue & is often the first to step up in a time of need (i.e. her willingness to be a temporary foster). We all love her!

Adrian – One of my fondest memories of Susie is hearing her speak so passionately about fostering & foster dog Buddy’s growth during his recovery & journey. I truly admire her hard work & dedication to the cause.   

Thank you, Susie for all that you do!

Jessie’s Story – No Pet Store Puppies Day

Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance volunteer Paul’s mother Barbara was asked to be a guest blogger in honor of No Pet Store Puppies Day July 21, 2016. Here’s her story.

By: Barbara SchmitzIMG_1873

Back in 1993, before awesome rescue groups with a great online presence, it wasn’t as easy as it is now to find a dog to rescue. But I put out the word, and soon I learned of a dog groomer who took in 20 dogs that were homeless after the puppy mill in which they lived was disbanded.

When I visited the groomer, I noticed something odd about this group of toy poodles. They were barking up a storm, but something didn’t sound right. I learned later that they had all been debarked, a common practice in puppy mills, done to keep the noise down. I noticed a little black and white girl off by herself, looking a little lost.

I took this little dog out for a little walk in the yard. Her head was down and her tail was teddybetween her legs. As she explored the yard, I saw one wag of her tail. A few minutes later, another. I was hooked, plain and simple. I took this little lost pup home, and we named her Jessie.

It’s true there are many dogs that live through unspeakable abuse and neglect that recover wonderfully. Such was not the case with Jessie. She was a good little dog, however she often seemed lost in her little world. I often wondered what horrors she lived through. But, she had a wonderful life with us, no doubt about it, and she became a beloved member of our family.  We were relieved when our vet explained her damaged voice box did not cause mollyher any discomfort. When asked why her bark sounded so different, it provided an opportunity for us to speak out against puppy mills.

At the age of 17, Jessie crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Heartbroken, I swore off dog ownership. It didn’t last long – we soon met and adopted our handsome red dog Teddy and a short while later, our blondie Molly. But it all started with Jessie, my “gateway dog”.

ASPCA – Find a Shelter: – 

Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance –

Meet APBA Volunteer Lawrence

The core of Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance is our volunteers. These are people with full-time Final_iconjobs, families, and their own dogs but choose to donate their time to help spread APBA’s message when they can. Each volunteer has their own story so we’re featuring one Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance volunteer each month to highlight their connection to our cause. Thank you to our volunteers, for all you do!

Our Featured Volunteer for July: Lawrence Tuitt

By Lawrence Tuitt

I have a ten year old pit bull named Saki who I’ve Lawrence & Sakihad since she was a puppy. She still has the energy to go on long walks & loves people. I have loved dogs since I was child.  I feel that dogs create communication bridges for human authenticity & balance.  The greatest example of this contribution is in their ability to bring happiness & comfort in a variety of challenging situations without words.  This requires both the human & dog to connect on the same wavelength. I have always been drawn to work with dogs.  So joining Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance was a clear decision after a search to find an organization balanced rescue with community outreach. Lawrence & Paul

The community outreach portion of the APBA mission allows me to directly contribute to human-dog balance. The Ambassadors in Motion Pack Walks bring humans & dogs alike together to move towards the same goals. I scout walk locations, usually Virginia state parks, with Saki. We look for nice wide paths, shaded areas along the walk, & of course, beautiful scenery. Once we find a good location we invite the community out for group walks. The walks can be anywhere between one & three miles long, moderate terrain, & all breeds & training levels are welcome.


By Sean Brennan, Susie Bruckschen, Michelle RiveraLawrence & MP

Lawrence’s initiative & leadership are key contributions to APBA’s success. The last “A” in APBA is “alliance” & Lawrence is a huge part is helping APBA align with other organizations in the area. He has an uncanny ability to help people at events who may be struggling with handling their own dogs. Just by giving them a gentle pointer or two on how to hold the leash differently he can change dog-handling stress into confidence & comfort. He is gifted in his ability to observe both human & dog body language. We are so lucky to have Lawrence a part of Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance & especially as a friend.

Meet APBA Volunteer Phuong

By: Sean Brennan, Susie Bruckschen,  Christina Jones, Michelle Rivera, Adrian Schmitz, Lawrence Tuitt, Kristie Wood, Jessie Zepeda

The core of Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance is our volunteers. These are people with full-time jobs, families, and their own dogs but choose to donate their time to help spread APBA’s message when they can. Each volunteer has their own story so we’re featuring one Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance volunteer each month to highlight their connection to our cause. Thank you to our volunteers, for all you do!

Our Featured Volunteer for June: Phuong Ngo

Our Featured Event for June: Springfield PetFest Saturday June 4, 2016 from 9am-3pm

Phuong Ngo is Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance’s Events Coordinator and our featured Phuong 3volunteer for June! However, instead of writing her own biography, Phuong’s fellow APBA volunteers worked together to share their love and appreciation for who she is as a person and all that she does for the group.

When Phuong joined Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance she was highly respected for her connections and her organizational abilities. Little did we know that she would end up being the big old dollop of glue that holds us all together and keeps us out in the community. She knows everything there is to know about the history of the “breed” we all know and love so well. She and her girls are excellent ambassadors for pitties in general and for APBA in particular.

Phuong is highly passionate about pit bull Phuong 2advocacy and her energy and commitment for APBA is limitless. When she isn’t busy running APBA events she is supporting other rescue initiatives like Rescue Well and Project Mickey. She is artful and her dedication and resourcefulness are essential to the success of the rescue. Her compassion and drive is what makes her shine.

Phuong is a wonderful friend, a strong asset to the animal rescue community, & undeniably the heart of APBA.

Meet APBA Volunteer Christina

Final_iconThe core of Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance is our volunteers. These are people with full-time jobs, families, and their own dogs but choose to donate their time to help spread APBA’s message when they can. Each volunteer has their own story so we’re featuring one Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance volunteer each month to highlight their connection to our cause. Thank you to our volunteers, for all you do!

Our Featured Volunteer for May: Christina Jones

Our Featured Event for May: Brown’s Manassas Subaru Adopt with Love Saturday May 21, 2016 from 10am-3pm


My name is Christina Jones and I joined Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance in April 2013. I’ve been an animal lover my entire life and growing up my family always had dogs. We had many different breeds – from Jack Russell Terriers to German Shepherds – all of whichAPBA-Cali-Newman were either shelter or rescue dogs. My parents taught me early on that it was better to save a shelter dog from being euthanized rather than buying one from the pet store and supporting a puppy mill. I never grew up thinking that one particular breed of dog was more “dangerous” than another. So when I rescued my first dog Newman in July 2012 with my husband Ryan, we honestly didn’t think twice about the fact that he was a pit bull type dog. It wasn’t until we started looking at places to rent that we realized how big of an “issue” having a pit bull was in regards to housing – this realization is what prompted us to get involved with APBA! We did eventually find a place to rent from a homeowner who allowed pit bull type dogs. In November 2013 we adopted Cali from APBA! Cali and Newman have become inseparable. They like to go on walks, play ball, ride in the car, stroll through the pet store and now that we own a home with a back yard they love to run around and explore all day long!
Sadly, there is so much misinformation spread by the media about pit bulls. However, being involved with an organization like APBA has helped to spread truthful information across various mediums and educate people about the true nature of the pit bull. In the last few years image1(1)alone, several states have put an end to breed-specific laws and more recently the FBI has added animal cruelty to its list of Class A felonies – the more people who get involved, the greater impact we will have to be a voice for the voiceless! One way I’ve vowed to help make a difference personally was to work on getting both Cali and Newman to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test. The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. Newman became CGC certified in August 2014 and Cali will be taking her test this year!
For the past 6 years I have worked with the Brown’s Car Stores organization in marketing and advertising. Another way I’ve been working to help make a difference in the community was to connect Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance with Brown’s Manassas Subaru .Subaru for IG Knowing that Subaru as a brand is very dog friendly, I decided to organize an adoption event at our very own Subaru dealership in Manassas, VA! The 4th Annual Brown’s Manassas Subaru Adopt With Love Event will be held on Saturday May 21st featuring APBA and several other local animal rescue groups. At the event there will be a dog wash, free dog tag maker, food, drinks, music and a raffle! All proceeds from the raffle will go to the rescues and any donations received during the event will be matched up to $100 by Brown’s Manassas Subaru. Additionally, Brown’s Manassas Subaru will be donating a large bag of dog food to the rescues for each test drive taken on the day of the event! Hope to see you there!