Our A-Jay is moderately afraid of people, but loves, loves, loves other dogs. He quickly forgets about being afraid of people when he sees other dogs. So we went to our training session a couple of weeks ago, where we're taking private obedience lessons, working on building his confidence so we can go to the group Obedience II.
When you leave the training building, there is nothing to the right (southwest) and a fence rail in front of you, so you have to go left (southeast) to get to your car. I knew the instructor had a class before us, so I took A-Jay to the southwest corner of the building, where we waited for people to come out with their dogs. We were about 20 feet from the door. I was excited for him to see the other dogs, thinking it would be fun for him, plus maybe boost his opinion of strangers.
When the first family walked out, their dog looked at us and was interested, and A-Jay was so good - no posturing or staring, no tension on the leash, he was relaxed and sniffing the air, but obviously paying attention to and interested in the other dog. I was so proud of him!
The family yanked their dog to the left, and off they went.
Okaaaay.... Next family, same thing. WTF?
Then again and again and again. By now I know that these people are seeing us, but do not want to approach us because he is a pit bull! I was just heartbroken for him.
He doesn't know he's a pit bull - he just knows he's a dog, and he loves other dogs. But no one was willing to even give him a chance. Just a little of my perspective on this - I used to take my yellow lab, Brownie, to greyhound adoption events and we went to the vet and cancer center alot, because he had cancer. So we met LOTS and LOTS of dogs and dog owners. My experience has been that people want their dogs to meet other dogs and interact. Usually the owners exchange a "can they meet?" or a "He's friendly - is it okay?" then upon agreement, your dogs meet. People want to do this, I swear. But not with my pit bull.
Our lesson was cancelled, and I was glad - as soon as I got in the car the tears started to fall. I decided these people are just misinformed, and I need to get out there and educate people! So I went to our rescue group's meet-n-greet and volunteered to work events. Of course, I broke into tears as soon as I saw A-Jay's foster mom and dad, so I had to assure them he is fine, and we love him very much, and he is a very good dog. I told them what happened, and they understood. It was nice to have their support. I worked last weekend's meet-n-greet, too. When I was learning about pit bulls because we wanted to adopt A-Jay, I did read to be prepared because people will be afraid of him, and will want to cross the street, etc. I thought about it and thought "yeah, I can handle that." But I never even thought about no one wanting to let their kids play with my kid on the playground because of how he looks.
It just didn't occur to me.