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Raising a Puppy: Mia the Blue-Nose American Bully Pit—43 weeks old

A day in the life with Mia the American Bully (Bully Pit) puppy. 43 weeks old, 65 pounds, 18 1/2 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).

A blue nose American Bully Pit is sitting in grass and she is looking forward. Both of her ears are up and she has a wide chest and alert eyes.

43 weeks old (10 months)

Poor Eyesight

Mia still tends to react to some unknown things with a bark and sometimes a growl. Her reaction is not aggressive at all, but an alert. She can't figure out what it is and she's letting everyone else know it's there. I can clearly see that the reason she does not know what the things are is she can't see very well.

If she is 15 feet from something new she can't tell what it is until she smells it even if it is a human kneeling down or carrying something large. She has to smell them or hear them speak before she knows it's a person. When Stephen and I both knelt down side by side Mia walked around the corner and stopped in her tracks. We were only about 20 feet from her. She paced back and forth trying to smell the air, but the wind was blowing towards us carrying our scent in the wrong direction. Mia barked, growled and paced. As soon as we spoke she broke out into a wiggle with some happy "wooos" grabbing a leaf and giving it to us as a gift with her entire body wiggling and her head low. Her happy dance was on.

The back of a blue nose American Bully Pit that is laying on a tiled floor in a pet store. The dog is looking at a cat that is laying across from her.

At the pet store Mia let out a small growl at a cat as it zipped across a store shelf as her first reaction. I hushed her and took her closer and the cat jumped off the shelf onto the floor. When Mia realized it was a cat she laid down on her own at a distance as she moved her nose around the air trying to smell it. The fact that she lowered herself to the cats level and relaxed shows she meant the cat no harm. I didn't let Mia get any closer because I could tell the cat would not have appreciated it. It is good for Mia to practice respecting the cats space.

When the goats were all biting on a huge tree branch that had fallen on the ground she didn't know it was the goats. She barked, growled and ran towards the fence. As she got closer you could see her smelling the air and she relaxed and walked away. To her it all looked like one big entity.

A blue nose American Bully Pit is standing on a tiled floor and she is sniffing packages of food on a shelf.

Sometimes she looks like she is just being very careful trying to figure out what it is but she does not bark. For example walking by a shelf in the pet store, I can see her nose extend trying to smell it. She cannot tell what it is and she is very careful around it until she can smell it. If a human is kneeling or carrying something large she cannot tell what it is and you can see her nose trying to smell the air. If she realizes the unknown is a human her entire body starts to wiggle, tail wagging.

Sometimes she is not so careful. She will silently, happily and curiously charge right for unknown things to get a pushy smell in. Not being able to see takes it's toll on her understanding of what things are and she will often push her way to the noise to get a good sniff or a better look. When I mean push, I mean literally. She pushes things out of her way to get there like a bull in a China shop.

A blue nose American Bully is standing on a driveway in front of a Volkswagon Beetle.

Loud noises seem to trigger the bull in her. When Sara honked her car horn instead of moving out of the way of the car, Mia ran right for the grill where the noise was coming from and cocked her head at it. She did not bark or growl, she was happy and curious. She had no concept that a car can be dangerous. Sara honked a few more times and she just stood there right in front of the running car cocking her head from side to side.

The back of a blue nose American Bully Pit that is watching a lady build a wooden frame.

When Amie was using a nail gun to nail some wood together Mia cocked her head and silently ran right to the noise. She was in a curious frame of mind. She was way too close for her own safety and had to be sent back. She now knew what it was and sat down and watched from a distance.

A blue nose American Bully Pit is looking over at a person putting a glass piece on a wooden frame.

I don't have a number on how bad her eyes are, but its obvious she can't see well at all. I will not be able to correct her eyesight, but I must teach her that I do not agree with her reaction of barking or letting out a growl. She does not have to alert me every time she does not know what something is. She has to be taught that the humans have her back, there is nothing to fear and nothing to protect. She has to realize that she does not have to know what everything is. Mia tends to be a lot better when she is with Bruno and Spencer as she sees them not reacting. However when she is the only dog she seems to be more unsure about what she can't see. As we tell her to hush, she is reacting with a bark less and less. We still want her to be a guard dog, and we will never be able to take that out of her, but there has to be a reasonable limit to her alerts.

A blue nose American Bully Pit is sitting in the middle of a van that has its middle seats removed. The sliding door is open and there is a fold up blue and lack step in front o the door. The dog looks happy.

To help Mia we are going to have to take her out more without her pack so she can learn to relax when she is the only dog. Up until recently Mia was always with Bruno and Spencer, using them as her eyes. We are going to make an extra effort to get her out by herself, showing her lots of new things and teaching her not to react to unknown things. If a Chihuahua, Pomeranian or Pekingese barked at unknown things no one would think much of it, but Mia is a Bully type of Pit Bull and Pit Bulls are not allowed to mess up because of the unfortunate stereotype given to them by the media. Reality is, Pit Bulls are just dogs. They don't have special jaws, or special anything. They are strong, but so are a lot of breeds. Dogs bark. That is what they do. Barking at things at home is not a problem, but when she does it in public we run the risk of people holding her breed against her.

A blue nose American Bully Pit is laying down on a piece of wood that is surrounded by a black mat at a cross fit gym.

Mia continues to go to the crossfit gym with Amie and does very well. One of the days Mia played with the kids in the gym's daycare for 40 minutes after Amie's workout. She ran and played with them following them everywhere very careful not to knock them down. Mia is now very comfortable being at the gym.

The Lawn Mower

A blue nose American Bully Pit is jumping in grass in front of a yellow and black lawn mower.

Mia! You can't take on a lawn mower! It's no match for you.

A blue nose American Bully Pit is jumping at a yellow and black lawn mower.

Rushing it won't make it go away.

A blue nose American Bully Pit is darting at a yellow and black lawn mower in grass.

Mia, No-No!

Door Manners

A blue nose Pit Bull Terrier is standing, next to a sitting blue nose American Bully Pit and a brown brindle Boxer in front of a doorway.

Door manners is not an occasional training session. It is a way of life. Just because the door is open, does not mean you can go out.

The Pet Store Cat

A brown with black and white Boxer is laying next to a blue nose Pit Bull Terrier and a sitting blue nose American Bully Pit. There is a hand holding there leashes. The dogs are on a white tiled floor.

The pack hanging out at the pet store while mommy pauses to read the ingredients lable on the dog food.

A blue nose Pit Bull Terrier and a blue nose American Bully Pit are sitting on a white tiled floor at a pet store. A cat is crossing in front of them.

As we made our way to the check out line one of the rescue cats that wonders around the store walked up to the dogs and sniffed each of their noses. I missed the moment on camera. I had tried to get my phone out as fast as I could when all three dogs were lined up and the cat was smelling them one by one, but by the time I got my phone Bruno the Boxer had walked out of view and the cat started walking away. The dog-friendly cat knew that none of these dogs were a threat and decided to check them out.

Hole Digger

Hmmmm, I wonder what she smells down there. I am thinking she would make a good truffle hunting dog.

A blue nose American Bully Pit is standing in front of a hole that she dug outside in the grass next to a pile of wood. There is dirt all over her face.

Mia, what are you doing?

A blue nose American Bully Pit is standing in grass, in front of a hole and she is looking forward. Her right ear is lifted up and she has dirt all over her nose. There is a wooden bench behind her.

Mom there is something down there. Don't you smell it too?

A blue nose American Bully Pit is sitting in front of a freshly dug hole in the lawn. She has dirt all over her nose. One of her ears is standing up and the other is flopped over. There is a pile of wood next to her.

Mia, now what are we going to do with that big hole you dug? The poor yard.