Seldom do I have the opportunity to combine two things I love into something that makes sense. This may not be the best opportunity for that either, but in honor of National Pit Bull Awareness Day this past Saturday, I’m going to do my damndest:
This is my take on how to workout (love/hate #1) when all you have is a sturdy rope and a lovable and well behaved(ish) pit bull or two (love #2).
I’m a huge fan of the breed, and love the energy, gameness, loyalty, and love that these animals display. When trained properly (not that mine are, quite honestly), they can be great companions and family dogs. It’s very unfortunate that “the Media” has taken it upon themselves to vilify such a great breed.
Mind you, a pit bull is not the dog for everyone. It’s a dog that requires a great deal of attention and patience, and has an enormous amount of energy (in my experience). So if you plan on having a dog that just lies around all day, do not get one. These things will bounce off walls, and maybe even eat through them if you don’t get them enough exercise. For more real information on pit bulls, and not some media hype, check out Pit Bull Rescue Central. These people know their stuff.
So here’s the “workout”:
Rows (aka – “tug of war”)
By this point you’ve realized that this isn’t a real workout per se, and more of a cheesy fluff article, much like them showing a video of a herd of kittens stuffed in a tissue box on the nightly news. The pit bull swings were particularly awkward. But believe me, if you try to play tug of war with a pit bull, they will tug you under the table if you let them, and it can be a good “active rest” activity for a day off from the gym that’ll get the heart going.
Several things to remember when playing tug:
- Always end the game with the rope in YOUR possession. This way your dog always knows you’re the one in charge.
- Make sure you stay in control. You should be able to get your dog to release the rope at any time if you so desire. Most people have a “release” word…. We’re still working on that.
- Make sure your dog doesn’t get too excited. Pit bulls are wonderful and loving dogs, but they do have very strong prey drive. While your dog may never intentionally bite you, if they’re so intent on getting the rope, they could nip you pretty good in the process of getting it… This has happened to me several times. In fact, I wear a jock while playing just to be sure.
- If your dog does nip you, let them know and immediately stop playing. Clearly communicating that if they aren’t more careful, the fun stops.
- Do not let 2 pit bulls play tug of war with each other.
There’s a common misconception out there that pit bulls love to eat live baby flesh, when in reality pit bulls are naturally one of, if not the, most human-friendly breeds on the planet. Obviously abuse and neglect can change any animal’s (or human for that matter) natural disposition. I’m not trying to minimize any of the tragedies that have been suffered from these animals or dogs of other breeds; however, haven’t the most atrocious things this world has seen been committed by none other than human beings? Just because Jeffrey Dahmer went grape-nuts killing people, doesn’t mean we now judge all white guys as potential mass murders to be held at arms length and kept away from children, now do we? …Oh. You do? Well… Then you’re a racist.
However, while pit bull breeding over the past century or more has given them a natural affection for humans, their breeding has also given many of them a natural aggression towards other dogs. This isn’t always the case, but is definitely something to be wary of. That being said, even if you have 2 pit bulls that get along like Mork and Mindy, if you put a rope between them some of their natural instincts can start to kick in and it can get ugly quick. Do not do this.
So there you have it. If you’re up for the challenge, and want a devoted and loving companion that’ll work even harder than you do, then adopting a pit bull might be just the thing for you. You can search for and view adoptable pit bulls in your area here.
I promise I won’t do too many “special interest” articles, but I hope you learned something. Back to real fitness-y stuff next article…
A special thank you to Katy Rhodes for doing such a great job of taking the pictures for this article. Love you sister!