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Pit Bulls

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Ash
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Pit Bulls

Postby Ash » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:10 pm

I wasn't sure where to post this, and I didn't want to post it in the domestic dog forum because I don't really like talking negative about dogs usually labeled as "aggressive."

First, I just want to say that I do NOT agree with pit bull bans. Also, breed stereotypes are incorrect almost 100% of the time.

But we all know that some species of dogs naturally tend toward the aggressive side, pit bulls included, due to the ways in which they were bred.

Instead of labeling a dog breed as "aggressive" I think labeling it something along the lines of "strong-willed/difficult/etc" would be more appropriate.

That being said, I had a scary experience with a pit bull today. Whenever I see dogs that are "at large" and wandering in places where they could potentially get hit by a car, I stop and try to get a look at their collar so that I can take them back to their home. So today I was driving home, and I saw a pit bull in this situation. I didn't want the breed stereotype to deter me from helping it, so I pulled over and tried to call it over.

I walked toward it, and it was fine. Occasionally it would trot away, but I would calmly follow. It would stop and let me get close. So I just thought it was a bit shy--like most of the dogs I've helped into my car. It let me get close to it. Part of a tie-out was attached to its collar, but chewed off; apparently it had escaped from a backyard.

Anyway, I went to take the tie-out and hold it like a leash, but the dog suddenly lunged at me. I backed away, but it kept coming, and it was growling, snarling, and barking. I backed farther away, but it kept the distance the same. Finally, I just jumped forward and growled back at it. It then backed up from me and just stared.

I was going to call animal control (since apparently I didn't want this dog charging anybody else), but then it turned out the owners were actually nearby; they came out of their house, saw their dog a ways off, and then ignored it. I asked them if this was their dog, and they said "yes."

So I got back in the car and drove off.

But I was pretty nervous. I don't know if it would have attacked me, or if it was just putting on a show.

Did I do the "right" thing to make it get away from me? I was worried that leaping at it and growling might seem like a challenge of sorts, but it was the only thing I could think of. Could this have provoked it? At any rate, it did work. icon_confused.gif

I don't blame the dog though--the owners were obviously irresponsible even though I had just seen them briefly. The fact they didn't seem to care that their dog had gotten out, and that the dog was apparently bored enough being tied in the backyard to try to escape, made me realize that they obviously shouldn't own a pit bull.

It just bothers me, because that dog could have bitten me, and not knowing the history of the dog, I would have reported it. And then that would have been another "pit bulls are evil" example out there to get them banned.

In some ways I do feel that owners should be screened, but then I see that as too invasive on the part of the government. I just DON'T think that irresponsible people should own these dogs, but I don't see any way to control that short of a permit. And I don't like the idea of permits.

So what are your thoughts on the matter?

This all being said, I once saved two rottweilers and they were two of the sweetest animals I had ever been around. WAY too sweet, in my opinion. I couldn't stand how much they wanted to cuddle! So obviously we all know that most "aggressive" dogs are big sweethearts.
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Foxyjadda » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:49 pm

Most pitbulls I know are sweet like Use to be dog gizer and his brothers and sisters.
Gizer put on shows Mostly on men around us Bark at them it Scared teens That came from the highschool down the block but all he really did was nothing,I think that dog was maybe puting on a show Just to scare you away But since you growled back he was confushed.I agree that thoughs people shouldn't own Pitbulls If they are going to let them wander like that...
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Lasergrl » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:56 pm

You did the right thing, although I would have called anyways so a report was made. Next person might be a kid and the dog may have been braver.
My opinion on pitbulls is this: any other breed when it acts a certain way, we say, well, its a border collie it was bred to herd, its a terrier they are bred to be strong willed and even nippy, part of their job. With pitbulls people make excuses. They say its not in the breeding it is how they are raised. I doubt that pregnant women that was killed by her pitbull last year did anything to raise it wrong. She was active in pitbull rescue, this dog had always "been fine". They are animals like anything else. I just hate how its always "how they are raised". Many good people are bitten by their pits every year (and other breeds too!).
True that MANY pitbulls will be fine and sweet their entire life. Then there are the ones that inherit their genetic potential for "game". Game is the term that is used for the pitbulls unique type of drive, they are fearless and once they get an idea they dont STOP. Even in high class fighting lines only some pups in the litter will inherit good "game". Some lines of pit such as COLBY lines are known man biters and they were bred and used for fighting even though they would regularly bite their handlers. So not all lines were just bred for dog aggression. Many today are crossbred with bulldogs to get a stocky look and these are the ones that make the more reliable pet animal, they are bred farther away from fighting and bad temperments.
Now I dont have anything against pits, I wouldnt have one in a millions years, but I wouldnt have a hundred different breeds in a million years. They are no different from any other breed that was selectively bred for hundreds of years to do a job. Just dont get this breed and think anyone can handle one, if you are nice to it, it will be sweet as pie. You never know what that puppies personality will be like as it grows. You just need to be ready for it! Just like you shouldnt get a border collie if you live in a small townhouse and wonder why it paces in circles all day.
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Nova » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:15 pm

Having owned pitties in the past I agree completely with Lasergrl, it completely depends on the dog. Some pitbulls are more for fighting, and the dog is known as tenacious and strong willed. Still there are others who would never dream of attacking some one and are more likely to help them carry off your stereo, which is true of all other breeds to. Pitbulls unfortunately get a bad rap, even though they aren't the biggest biter out there just the most publicized. I've owned pitbulls that were territorial and also ones that weren't.

With the case of a semi-aggressive dog on the loose, regardless of breed I'll report it. Even though you're big enough for the dog to get the message, the next person might not be and with obviously uncaring owners it's just a matter of time before this happens again. Especially a dog that chews off it's own tie out.

As for the ownership of pitbulls that's a really sticky situation, I think people who are irresponsible shouldn't own dogs, but I feel the same way with children and I'm not allowed to regulate either. Overall when getting a dog better screening should take place but that isn't possible with how many animals are out there and need homes, it would up euthanization numbers to the sky just to keep up with the pace of animals brought in. Also, as early mentioned, pitbulls are not the biggest biters or even the highest death count. It's regrettable, but it's a no-win situation. banning the breed is ignorant, regulating it next to impossible with how easy it is to breed a litter without anyone knowing about it. I don't think higher regulations are the answer either, and with black market fighting still running it's hard to see a move toward pet pitties and getting rid of the more game nature is another hard to accept view.

As for the view of 'it's not the animal it was the way it is raised' I think that is half true. There is a natural drive for game in these animals, but you can further drive it or even falsely incite it depending on the training methods used. In the same idea you can suppress that natural drive to a more warning bark position instead of attack on sight with the right amount of training. Part of it is the instinct, the second part is training and I view this as 50/50/ Pitties, the more game-y type, is like constantly fighting for the alpha position but once you get it, and get it into their thick heads that you aren't going to give it up, it's a lot easier to work with. I would say they aren't the easiest dogs out there and should be looked at as a more difficult breed rather than aggressive but that is my experience.

Like ANY dog you need to know what you're getting into and HOW to pick and train your puppy. There are some warning signs you can pick up early on with puppies if you know what you're looking at, and that helps too. Also, I'm sure you'd feel just as spooked if it was a german shepherd or a doberman acting in this way, and I'm glad despite the breed you pulled over to check it out.
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby amyers » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:47 pm

I have a pit-mix. She is a sweet, loyal, and protective dog.

But however unfair it might be, we are always aware that she is a pit. We are extra....careful with her. She has a shorter fuse than my rottie-rhodesian, and even my terrier. I don't really know how to describe it. We are always watching for what might make her "snap". We don't try to avoid those things per se, but we are extra careful about gauging her mood before we start something she doesn't like (toenail trims for example) and ease into it (one or two nails today, one or two next time, etc.). Willow (the rottie) I can just grab no matter how hyper/excited she is and she'll calm down. Taz just isn't like that.

Dominance training has been trickier with her. She needs constant gentle reminders about who is in charge. Willow, after a few weeks of training as a pup just accepted it, and it doesn't take much to remind her who is in charge. With Taz, there are constant reminders. With Willow we could be more forceful, and force her on her back when she was acting up. We had Taz for a couple of months before we could do that.

She just doesn't seem to have as stable a personality as Willow. Not really in a bad way, more in the way that my husband is calm and easygoing and I am a little more high-strung with more of a temper. No body is really "bad", but I'm more prone to "snap" (like Taz). I don't really know if it's a "pit" thing, or a "Taz" thing, and it really doesn't matter, since I have to deal with it either way.

I don't want anyone getting the wrong idea. She is the most affectionate dog I've ever had, and she is a good a guardian as I could ask for. She once saw one of the bobs jump on my back, and about tore the door apart trying to get to him for "hurting" me. She is just more challenging than Willow is.

But, knowing how she is I would NEVER let her run loose. She seems to be fine when she isn't on "her" turf, but I don't want to take the chance. She isn't even allowed in the yard when we aren't home or asleep because she is a terrible digger and we don't want her getting out. We also lock her (and Willow for that matter) up when people come over, just because we don't want to risk them biting someone. They're both pretty tenacious guards.

It's worth noting that we got Taz at 8 months, and she had been beaten and starved. We've only had her five months, and are still working on some of the "kinks".
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Ash » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:43 pm

Thinking back, I should have reported it, but I guess I just assumed at the time that the owners were going to go get it after I left. If I had thought that they were just going to let it keep roaming, I would have called. Well, if it ever gets out again and I see it, then I'll call. I wouldn't want anyone to get hurt because I failed to report it.

I've had a hard time with the "depends how it was raised," and I've usually tried to use it as a defense for pitbulls, but I've known it's not really 100% true. I like how you guys put it, where that is indeed a part of it, but then there really are some things built in that you can't really predict due to the breed.

So I suppose you could say the breed as a whole has a tendency toward aggression, but in the end it comes down to the particular dog, the way it was raised, and its bloodlines.
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Juska » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:19 pm

Pit bulls were actually originally raised to be farm dogs and companions, just like bulldogs. But then they were used for pit fighting. So they've had aggressiveness bred into them, and now most people are working to breed it back out of them. So when people say "they were bred to fight", they're technically right, but before all that mess, they were just working dogs, like any other.

I agree that every animal is an individual. Whenever I get a German Shepherd into the salon I cringe because I pretty much assume they're going to freak out/bark like crazy/potentially bite (Shepherds are higher on national bite lists than Pits). But some dogs are nice, like Cole (a regular), so there's always a variable. Discrimination just doesn't work because there are always variables. But there are breeds that you can expect things from. I am also cautious with Pits in the salon because some of them aren't from good backgrounds or not socialized enough, and they do have a stronger bite force than most, so taking precaution is just a good idea.

I believe you did the right thing by making yourself look big and standing up for yourself. As long as you stay confident, most dogs won't go past "putting on a show". They'll try to catch you off guard and to startle you to see if you're as tough as you look. That's when they decide to fight or fly.

It seems like the people who owned that dog weren't responsible owners, so I wouldn't totally blame the dog's breed for his behavior. It could have just as easily been a Golden or Terrier acting like that. If his tie was chewed, they probably don't have him socialized or trained in any way to be respectful/nice to people. He most likely just got tired of living in the back yard chained up.

I would never trust my Emo off a leash around small animals or even other dogs at this point. She's got the call of the wild in her and she kills smaller animals than her; and she's growled at people she knows when she's gotten out of the fence.

I also believe that dogs should require some sort of permit (not something impossible to get, like a USDA or something), to deter stupid/lazy people and ones who just shouldn't have animals from getting them. Exceptions would be guide/helper and prescribed companion dogs, of course. But something like a few training/behavior/research classes and then a paid permit card would be very, very helpful, I believe. And a special tag for the dog's collar, just like a registration license.

It's like, seriously, you need a permit for ferrets and Chinese dwarf hamsters in New Jersey, you should need one for a dog. Much bigger commitment and a lot more suffering if you make a mistake.

It's a nice thought, but it's a shot in the dark, I know :roll:
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Delight » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:09 am

I haven't had the time to read all the above posts BUT I have a pit mix or had a pit mix named Blue. I was with this dog when he was born (his parents belonged to my friend) and I watched him grow as a pup and brought him home when he was 8wks old. I had this dog for six years and he was wonderful! I had my son, my son would lay on the dog and drink his bottle, he called the dog booboo and loved the dog. (My son has been raised with MANY different kinds of animals so even though he's only a year and a half old he is very gentle.) This dog NEVER EVER EVER hurt ANYTHING - he was good with cats, he was good with birds, he was good with dogs, he was good with men, he was good with women, he loved everyone.

Well now I no longer have my dog.... About three weeks ago we had an incident here. I have a baby gate up accross my bedroom door so that the cat can go into our back bathroom and use her litter box without the baby being able to play in the litter box (gross I know but babies have no sense about them!) I had walked over the baby gate into our bedroom and my son was standing at the baby gate watching me with his bottle in hand. Our sweet as pie dog came running down the hallway to the bedroom door and sat down next to my son - then for no reason lunged at my son and bit him accross his face barely missing his eye or the optic nerves under his eye which control eye function.

There was blood everywhere - I thought my son was going to loose his eye because it swelled up immediately and I couldn't tell if the blood was coming out of his actual eye or what! I rushed him to the E.R. and luckily there was no perminant damage but we were REALLY LUCKY! This is a dog that I have been with since birth, that my son had been around for a year and a half (all of his life up until this point.) This is a dog that I had around all of my exotics and never chased, barked or snarled at one of them.... BUT our dogs father was put down for biting.

Even if you socialize an animal to the very very best of your ability and you think that you know it REALLY REALLY well they can still be unpredictable and I count my blessings every day that my son still has the function of his eye - and that the dog didn't decide to bite down harder or that he didn't go for his throat. It could have been so much worse but just that fact he was bit in its self was a horrible horrible experience.

This is a VERY well trained dog, he healed, he sat, he stayed, he shook paws, he layed down, he knew "go to your bed", "give me five" etc etc. He was our baby and he was very well loved and trained with posative re- enforcement. In the end it doesn't matter how much you love an animal or you think that you know it, they can have bad days too. I still don't have the slightest idea why my dog did what he did but I couldn't risk it happening again so I gave him to my cousin (who's a single 30yr old guy.) It absolutely broke my heart that I had to give him away after everything we've been through together but it was the most terrifying experience having blood gushing out of my son's eye and cheeks - not something I would ever wish apoun anyone!

I still wonder if I made the right choice in giving him to someone or putting him down but I just pray that it was a one time incident and he can live out the rest of his life as a companion for my cousin - he's still got a good 3-4yrs of life left in him.

The picture is after the eye began to heal but you can see how close it was to being a very very serious (life altering bite) for my son.
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:59 pm

Did you have him check by a vet after, including x-rays? Pain can make dogs lash out. My older dog had degenerative disc disease. She first slipped some disks in her neck and the pain was causing her to bite back to the side, to get what was "biting" her neck. She did bite me but she was also biting at nothing. It would have been easy to write her off as having snapped but she was in pain, not crazy. she did stop after a little bit but we took her to the vet and had x-ray and she was put on steroids for awhile.

If he had a sharp pain from something that would cause him to lash out in self defense. He can't understand that the pain is being caused by his own body.
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Delight » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:33 pm

Yes he was vet checked the day after the incident, he had to have all of his shots updated because we lost his proof of rabbies vaccination. The vet found nothing wrong with him - he touched him all over his body, down his spine, checked out his ears (he occasionally gets yeast infections in the ears) and he was very very healthy. And since the incident he has been doing fine, acting normal as ever. The only thing I could think of was that maybe my son startled him some how? I really don't know but he's been fine since.
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Ash » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:49 pm

What a scary experience that had to have been... I'm so glad your son is okay. That really had the potential to turn out really bad.
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Lasergrl » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:47 pm

A dog should not bite its owner, ever. Its unacceptable behavior even when in pain IMO unless the extreme pain such as a neck issue. When you have animals or kids that can get hurt its irresponsible to allow them to remain in the situation. Then you have to think about if you really want to pass the problem to someone else? I feel that so many nice dogs are put down Evey day, I would rather save one of those.
We had a pit shep. Mix that I don't talk alot about. He had the crazies either from his mix or from being a parvo puppy. He snapped at us on occation for unexceptable reasons. He also one day bit the bottom lip off a goat because it walked too close to him while he was sniffing some poop. After he bit the goat he grabbed my foot. That was his last day. I cried like a baby driving him to the appt but it was a long time coming. The goat bite was NOT prey drive related btw. I can forgive prey drive.
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Delight » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:21 pm

Yes I had a hard time deciding weather or not to put him down as I didn't want him to EVER bite anyone else but he has always been fine with adults (and with kids up until this point) so my cousin Patric said that he didn't want blue to be put down (he loved the dog too) and that he would take him and take on the responsibility of the risk he may or may not be taking by adopting him. I told him if the dog EVER got snappy with ANYONE again that he would need to let me know because there was no way I was putting anyone else at risk and we would have to go on the long drive to the vets.... He's been a perfect dog up until this time and he KNEW immediately that he did something wrong. It wasn't that he had no remorse about it happening. But there was no way I would ever let him around my son again. Which is hard too because my son still runs around the house calling for him :-(
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby Realtree1 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:06 pm

I agree with a lot of the point already stated here. Pitties are terriers so they are going to be high strung and determined. They are definitely a dog not to be taken lightly, and they need a strong confident owner. Another thing that I make a point of is to always have a good deal of respect for your animals no matter what breed species or size. I see way to many people that just let there animals do anything because they assume that " they would never hurt a fly", and it is often times that these are the people that have problems.
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Re: Pit Bulls

Postby animalmom » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:08 am

Firstly, I think lunging and growling at a strange dog is asking to get attacked. You had no idea how that dog would react. I agree with standing your ground calmly and in a non confrontational manner but what you did was aggressive behavior and are lucky that dog backed down because it could have easily went the other way. I don't agree with breed bands and as far as labeling different dogs aggressive, difficult or super sweet, I think personality traits may not be the issue that needs the label. Personally I think it is the fact that a pitty or my american bulldog for that matter have huge jaw muscles and that is the reason that they are able to do so much more damage when they bite not necessarily that they bite more. I groomed dogs for many years and the most consistently aggressive breeds I came in contact with was cocker spaniels then chows and sharpie.
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