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Pit Bull Parent: Size vs. Training


I’ve always had larger dogs, even as a child. As a young child, we had shepherds and retrievers. When I was 16, I brought home a stray beagle. He was about 22 lbs and was the smallest dog that my immediate family had ever kept, until, just last year, when I adopted a senior poodle. I never gave the size of a dog much thought, but, recently, I realized that size does matter.
I’m going to get rather personal here. In fact, this may be the most personal article that I’ve ever written and, I warn you, it may not all be pretty, but this series is supposed to be about my life with pit bull dogs and I recently had an experience that made me wonder about my future with pit bull dogs, or any larger dog, really.
Recently, I donated a kidney. It’s a long story, but what it comes down to is that I had two functioning kidneys and there were people out there without any functioning kidneys, so I figured that I would send one out there to someone who needed one. The surgery is rather quick and by the next day, I was begging to go home as I was anxious to get back to my dogs. Finally, the doctors gave into my nagging and let me leave with VERY strict instructions not to lift anything over ten pounds and not to handle any dogs!!!! I may have considered these instructions to be more along the lines of suggestions and not actual rules. In fact, still on pain relievers, I talked my husband into stopping at a local shelter on my home from the hospital to pick out a dog from a local high volume shelter to take to my smaller shelter to help out the larger volume shelter on my way home. The dog has since been adopted and is in a wonderful home.
About half way home, the pain relievers started to wear off and I started to  wonder about the dog in the car and my ability to handle her. From there, I started to think about my own dogs. Would I be able to handle them?
I do have a fenced in yard and knew that I could let them out instead of walking them. I also had my husband and daughter to help me out, so I wasn’t too worried when I signed up for the surgery. My dogs are trained and they should be OK. I got home and, as expected, no one jumped on me. I was given the sniff test and all was fine. I did go back to work two days after the surgery, but only for light desk work.
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In time, I started to feel better. I figured that the “suggestion” not to handle dogs for six weeks was really a gross exaggeration and within two weeks, I was back to handling my dogs with no problem and then I got super cocky and started handling the shelter dogs who may not all have been as well trained as my own dogs. Then it happened. My incision opened up. Yep, open and kind of gross.
I was put on medication and went back to not handling dogs for a while. It made me think, though. When I get older, will it be more difficult for me to handle larger dogs? And if so, will I no longer be able to keep the muscular dogs with the big heads that I am attracted to?
Looking at my dogs, they were not much of an issue throughout my post operative ordeal and that’s because they are all trained dogs. I guess that only time will tell what I will be able to handle as life goes on, but I do really understand the need for training after this.
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