We love speaking to animal lovers and hearing their expressions of support for Pit Bull type dogs and the efforts of our organization to educate the public. One phrase we hear repeatedly is “It’s all in how they are raised”. We understand the sentiment behind the phrase is one of understanding that humans play a significant role in the behavior of dogs. However, the words imply meaning that many people don’t recognize.

We LOVE this blog post by notes from a dog walker. She explains the implied and unintended meaning of those words far better than we could:

This saying does have a kernel of truth in it, of course, but “how they’re raised” is just one of the factors that contributes to who our dogs are. It’s not the whole story.

When people believe that “It’s All How They’re Raised”, there are some real-life consequences for the dogs. So we need to check ourselves.

Here are a few ways our words hurt:

People refuse to adopt adult dogs.
Shelters won’t place victims of cruelty up for adoption.
Responsible dog owners feel like failures.

Here’s the reality – dogs are who they are due to many factors: training, breeding, socialization, management, genetics, and environment. All of these things influence who our dogs are.

A dog’s past is a chapter, but it’s never the whole story…

We love Jessica’s suggestion for a replacement phrase:

“Let’s replace it with the truth: It’s all how they’re managed. Dogs are only as successful as we set them up to be.”