I was directed to this site by my friend Nanci, who I've known for many years through our shared love of cornsnakes and membership of a cornsnake forum. As I'm in the UK, legal ownership of a pitbull isn't an option, but pre-ban I had 14 wonderful years with my pit mix Ellie. When the ban came in, she was registered with my vet as a bull-breed mix, he had known her from her puppyhood and vouched for her temprement. Well-socialised and extremely devoted to me, Ellie made me look like the greatest dog owner ever. She was a lab/collie/pit who combined the best of each with a great drive to please. One of her greatest skills was in retrieving like a working lab, from water and from heavy cover she would work like a pro with her tail spinning like a helicopter's blades. She could also find me or any named family members in hiding in the woods and it was one of our favourite games.
She was never aggressive towards other dogs or to humans outside the home, but was overly protective indoors and it took careful management and positive training to get her to accept that humans I invited in weren't her concern and to turn her into a relaxed family dog.
I converted her to RMB at 3 after some allergy issues with kibble and she stayed fit and healthy up to her last year of life, when she had what I thought was a fit. A vet visit revealed she'd actually had a small CVa, which left her face a little wonky. She also had a personality change that made her insanely happy, wagging her tail and dithering about without a care in the world. After 2 more CVAs from which she recovered she had a massive one that affected her back end and my vet came to our home that morning and she was euthanised in my arms,.
Owning another pit mix isn't an option due to breed legislation here in the UK. Every time I go outside I see dogs I'd personally love to own, but wouldn't take the risk of my family pet being seized. I also recognised that while I needed another dog in my life, I couldn't at the time handle the devotion and close bonds I had with Ellie. So I got a lurcher. A Bedlington/whippet girl who is as crazy as a box of frogs. Very aloof with her affections, happy go lucky and a totally different character. Our bond wasn't immediate but grew over our first year together. Rosie is 4 now and a delight. Just over a year ago I got a rescued working Bedlington male and he's quite the challenge. He had been beaten, was hand-shy, head-shy, mildly dog-aggressive and had been known to have bitten a child. He has dominance issues with my 3 adult sons. Using the NILF approach with Bertie is gradually improving his attitude and behaviour. Within a week of owning him he made it very obvious that I am the moon and stars in his world! He will literally do anything to please me and squirms with delight when he's praised. I have a trainer who has helped with some 1-1 sessions and is very supportive. Getting my boys to stick to NILF is the hardest thing, but as they are seeing the benefits and understanding how important it is for Bertie we are a work in progress.