My name is Liz and I reside in lovely Northeast Ohio, where if you don’t like the weather, you can just stay a minute and it will change!

Inara is my American Pit Bull Terrier.  I got her at 8 weeks old – brought her home 12/26/05.  It’s been quite the learning experience as she is my first dog and she has required me to learn a great deal about training and management.  Inara has her CGC and ATTS certificates, is a registered therapy dog, has her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. (all with honors) through APDT’s C.L.A.S.S. program, and her her CW-SR (rally) title.

I am co-owner/co-trainer of Pit Bull Zen, an owners-based group that provides group walks, training classes and private training, as well as general support for the owners/fosters of this amazing breed.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!  And thank you so much for stopping by!

20 thoughts on “About

  1. Hey,
    I was just surfing the web and came across your page. I have a pit bull that looks almost EXACTLY like yours, just with another 2 brown patches on her back. Her name is Lily and is just over a year old, we got her from the humane society. I could just not get over the resemblence, unreal. We live in Charlotte,NC….people are pretty tolerant of Pits down here, come on down!

  2. Hi!

    Came across your blog randomly.. Love your dog! So adorable! She is REALLY, REALLLLY similar in appearance to my dog. If we were still Ohioians and if my doggy was closer in age (she just turned 1 in September 2009), I would think that they were sisters.

    Do you know if your pup is a mix of another bully? Not sure how big yours is but Godzilla is about 65 lbs. The rescue group we got her from guessed she was a pit and an AM bulldog. But when I saw your pup, I thought, OMG! So cute! Almost a twin to my dog!

    Thank you!

  3. Thanks, Bess! As far as I know Inara is a purebred American Pit Bull Terrier. Her mother was being used to breed fighters for a fight ring in Akron. Fortunately when she was pregnant with Inara and her brother the ring was broken and she was confiscated. And Inara is much smaller than your dog! She’s only 46 lbs. 🙂

  4. Wow– what a start to life for little Inara! Thank goodness her mama got taken out of that situation. As much as I wish I could know Miss Godzilla’s background, there is part of me that is very glad that I don’t.

    Zilla doesn’t look like she’s 65 pounds, but she is all muscle (I can definitely attest to– the gentle leader is such a godsend). She’s a bit leggy and taller than most bully dogs (which is why I think there has to be some American Bulldog there). But 46 pounds? Really! Inara looks all muscle too.

    Well, I still think that they are cousins somewhere down in their family tree. Wish I could attach a picture of her because really, the resemblance is unreal.

    Bummed to see my hometown of Lakewood has banned APBTs. Looks like APBTs/mixes have yet another hurdle. Keep up the blogging! Zilla & I really enjoy reading it.

  5. I found your site by browsing about Gentle Leaders and pit bulls. your dog’s personality reminds me of my Keira Bella. She is about 14 months old and is scared of people. 😦 We are working with a trainer and trying to absolve her fear. Lets just say we are making some progress but she is so wound up most of the time it is hard to walk her. I love the way you write about her and way you talk about her.
    Thanks for reminding me that my Keira is not the only one who is super excited.

  6. Hey Anne! I’m glad you like my stories about crazy little Inara! Trust me when I say that there are a ton of us out there with easily aroused dogs, especially pit bulls. Please just make sure that your trainer is using positive reinforcement methods. Speaking from experience, punishing for fear will cause worlds of problems. Stay in touch!

  7. I agree anyone should be allowed to own any breed they wish. But in this statement I also strongly feel that any pet owner is 100% responsible for training their animal and making sure they are safe to be around others. If your animal does have a tendency (and I am NOT saying this about any specific breed-general)to bite or can get “nasty” with people and children always leash and even muzzle if needed. I have been the victim of owners that refuse to see or acknowledge that their “baby” bites! so have my dogs. I own boxers which 70% of people think is a pit bull and run from me! I also own other breeds. I love them all. Every breed comes with their own “issues” and my personal opinion is we are responsible for seeing them, acknowledging them, and making sure people and dogs are all safe. Also on another note if you are going to raise money for a charity for the troops please do for one that does not misrepresent themselves. Unfortunately in todays world people take advantage of bad situations to make money. With a charity make sure there is no conflict of interest. The product you are purchasing do any of the people who started and on the board of the charity own the product? In some they do. The best one I found that is backed by the army and gets to help SIX children for the same money as others for that same 36.00 only helps one and this charity is 100% volunteers and does not have any vested interest in the product being donated. OPERATION GIVE A HUG .org is the original daddy doll charity to help the troops. Check it out and research both. As for a great way to hug your dolls I use http://www.huggeemissyou.com. And part of those monies also go to not only the troops bt Breast Cancer and other charities. Thanks.

  8. Hi there! We have a 2 year old pittie and a 5 year old lab mix and I really enjoy your blog! It’s nice to hear of others having the same issues as this is our first pittie and we don’t know very many other people locally that have them! Does your dog react when the doorbell rings/people come over? We are trying to train them to not body slam people when they come over and are always looking for tips 🙂 thanks!

  9. Yeah, she’s still a fruitcake when visitors come over. I’ve begun putting her in her crate with a bully stick or pig ear right before people come in – by the time she’s finished that, she’s calmed down and can come out, usually on leash. A few minutes on leash and she’s totally relaxed and able to have the leash removed. 🙂

  10. Hi!

    I was wondering if you would mind emailing me tips on how you got your pit to get along with your cat? My husband and I have two cats, but we rescued a pit off the street, and are now thinking about keeping him.

  11. Hi Cindy! I’d love to review your book! I’ve never done a formal book review before but I’d definitely read it and share my thoughts on here. 🙂

  12. Hi Liz, I shared your “Dear “Normal Dog” Owners blog on a Facebook page “Reactive Dogs” after it was shared to me by two dog trainers. Your blog has struck such a cord with many members of the group, both reactive dog owners and “my dog is fine off leash” owners. A few gained new perspective about keeping their dogs leashed as a courtesy to other dog owners. Thanks so much for posting this! I’m going to refer the group to your blog.

  13. LIz — your blog makes so much sense to me. I’m Nicole, the owner of a 5+ year rescued pit bull named Domino. We rescued her at about 8 months. When we first got her, she was queen of the dog park. At about 2 years, she developed a high prey drive, and started to attack small dogs. Dog parks were taken out of the equation immediately Eventually, she developed anxiety based dog aggression to all breeds, and can be hard to handle. In fact, on two occasions she wrestled out of our control and attacked a little dog, sending both to the vet (they were okay). She’s a complete sweetie when there are no other dogs around, and a total love bucket around people.

    We’ve done lots of training over the last year, but she’s still very reactive. We’ve had the most success with LARPBO, which does group classes with other pits. But other breeds? Not so good. She’ll have a perfect class, and then freak out at another dog on the way to the car.

    You mentioned in one of your blogs that once you moved away from Cesar Milan’s techniques you noticed positive changes. Do you have any websites or thoughts? Help!

  14. Hey Liz! I have a 14 year old cocker spaniel, and she is extremely nervous around other dogs, except maybe puppies. I can take her to the dog park, but if a lot of dogs come near her all at once, or just one overly enthusiastic one, she can’t help barking.
    In any case, there’s always a dog trainer on-site, and on one occasion, after one of them saw her bark at another dog (who backed off), he told me to correct her by tapping her side with my shoe, Cesar Millan-style. Now, I don’t like that kind of correction, it just makes the dog scared of you IMHO.
    Is there a style of dog training you can recommend? I’m looking for a school for her, so she can enjoy being off leash, if not WITH other dogs, at least closer to them.
    Thanks for your help, Liz! I hope Inara is well too C:

  15. Thanks for writing your experiences! I have a reactive 2 yr old male lab mix and I’ve felt a lot of the same anxiety you have about situations and it was inspiring to read you overcoming those feelings to be a good mom to your Inara 🙂

  16. I would like to thank you for your letter. I feel as though I wrote it myself. I adopted Caroline about one year ago, love her very much and she has made amazing progress. We still struggle with dog reactivness and are open to any advice from experienced individuals such as yourself. Caroline and I live in Columbus, Ohio. Curious to know if you hold any workshops? Look forward to hearing from you. Thank you, Kelly Povoski

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