All Dogs are Dogs: My Experience Raising a Special Needs Pit Bull


With all the negative stereotypes and publicity that surrounds the pit bull breed, it’s not hard to buy into the sensationalism. However, when you get to know them, you may find that pit bulls are just like any other dog.

Before my family adopted a pit bull I knew very little about the breed. The extent of what I thought that I knew was what I had heard from the media. However, for some reason I just assumed that pit bulls were different from other dogs.

I’m not sure why I had this belief. Maybe I just accepted the belief as fact, because it was a popular belief. Maybe I bought into the media’s sensationalism. However, no matter the reason, all of my prior beliefs quickly disappeared when my family adopted our deaf pit Hope.

My family decided to adopt Hope about two weeks after our black lab passed away. At first I was a little hesitant about adopting a pit bull, but after meeting her, she changed my mind.

She is just such an awesome dog. Before my family adopted her, Hope had a pretty rough life. She lived under a deck, her previous owners beat and burned her, and she had severe damage to her hips. However, even after all those terrible things, she was such a happy girl. None of that mattered to her. She didn’t care that she was deaf or that she had scars all over her or that her hips didn’t work properly. Honestly, she just wanted to be a dog. She wanted to have a family and wanted to be loved.

The reason why I bring up this short anecdote is for two reasons:

  1. It is very easy to buy into negative pit bull stereotypes and propaganda 

In an interview I did with the Shelter Director of the Animal Adoption Center, Chris Harris, I thought he brought up a very good point about the sensationalism of pit bulls.

“When you hear about a dog attack 9 times out of 10 your are going to hear about a pit bull  attacking a little girl or boy,” said Harris. “Those are the types of stories that will be sensationalized. You will never hear about the golden retrievers or chihuahuas that bite kids because it’s not as vicious looking.”

When you only hear about pit bulls biting people and when any large dog who bites someone is identified as a pit bull, it’s not hard to buy into the anti-pit propaganda.

According to poll results posted on Huffington Post last year, “40 percent of Americans consider pit bulls to be too dangerous to live in residential neighborhoods, while 39 percent consider them to be safe.”

I think that the main reason for the negative reputation surrounding pit bulls is just people’s ignorance about the breed.

Pit bulls test very high in temperament tests nationwide, but I don’t think this is a statistic that anyone really knows. When people hear about pit bulls, they hear about bite statistics (which are often flawed) and horror stories told by the media.

People know and hear about the handful of pit bulls who are on the news for attacking people, but they don’t know about pit bulls as a whole.

2. Pit bulls are just like any other dog 

Raising a deaf pit bull isn’t different from raising any other dog. If you train and raise your dog properly, then they have the potential to be a good dog. Whether or not a dog is well behaved is more dependent on the owner than it is the breed.

Even if a dog is deaf, it’s still very similar to raising a dog that can hear. In fact, Jennifer Conners of Lilo’s Promise believes that it might even be easier to train a deaf dog.

“I actually find it easier to train deaf dogs and enjoy doing it when I have the time to commit to it,” said Conners. “I think it’s easier because they don’t hear the distractions that are going on around them. If you are training your deaf dog, it’s much easier to get them to focus and concentrate on you.”

At first when I heard her say this, I was kind of surprised. Normally having a deaf dog would be seen as an obstacle to overcome while training. However, once I thought about what she had said, I realized that it was very true.

If I think back to my family’s black lab and compare it to raising Hope, I believe that overall our deaf pit was much easier to train and as a result better behaved.

It’s all about having the knowledge to train the dog and knowing how to communicate with it. Whether the dog can hear or not, communication is essential. When my family was training our black lab, we knew a lot less about dog training. However, 10 years later we knew much more communication and training techniques. Just knowing those techniques made it easier to train our pit and resulted in a much more obedient dog.

All dogs are dogs. No matter the breed, appearance, or disability, all dogs have the potential to be loving companions and family members.

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One Response to All Dogs are Dogs: My Experience Raising a Special Needs Pit Bull

  1. Marcela says:

    My last 3 dogs were all pit bull mixes and the best one, so far, was my Alex. She was a pit bull/Dogo Argentino mix and she never met a person she didn’t like and she was amazing with all dogs even the annoying us:-) Yes, All Dogs have the potential to be amazing loving companions, but we, humans, make so many mistakes and the ones that pay for those mistakes are pit bulls.


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