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Old 08-08-2011, 05:50 PM
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 15,352,869 times
Reputation: 10248


Dammit Mrs 1885, I have to spread the love around before giving it to you again. Really great post.

I don't know what part of "it's the type of owners who tend to choose pit bulls that are the problem" is so hard to understand. I live just north of Flint, Michigan, which is primarily a gang, crime and drug-ridden ghetto. I work with a few rescues (and was VP of a Flint-based rescue for a few years) and I think my estimate of between 80-90 percent of all dogs owned by ghetto/inner-city inhabitants are pit bulls or bully mixes. The practice of breeding pit bulls to bull mastiffs apparently hasn't spread from Detroit to Flint much, yet. Thankfully. I certainly hope these dim bulbs don't discover Filas or Ovcharka Mountain dogs or Karelian Bear dogs but I understand that Flias are getting popular down south.

There are dog breeds that tend to be really smart, have high prey drive or generally be high drive/dominant dogs that, IMO, ought only to be owned by people with a clue, or the wish to get a clue. Unfortunately this is often not the case, and large terrier-pit type dogs (ie pit pulls) fall into that category. And most unfortunately, this is precisely the type of dog that your average ghetto owner will gravitate to.

I've owned Rottweilers for 26 years, and often run into people who coo over my dogs and say ignorant although well-meaning things like "it's all how you raise them" and "as soon as I get my own place, I want a Rottweiler."

No, no and no. There are unreactive, low-drive Rottweilers and pit bulls, there are herding dogs with no interest in herding, retrievers who look at you like you're an idiot if you're silly enough to expect them to retrieve something, northern breeds that like hot weather and hounds that don't howl....but mostly, dogs were purpose-bred and any owner who doesn't at least acknowledge this is, in the correct sense of the word, ignorant. I'd venture to say the typical pit bull owner is more likely to chain their dogs 24/7, and much less likely than the "average owner" to ever socialize, train, give proper medical attention or maintenance to, or actually really love and care for the dog. Pit bulls are throw-away dogs, and that's so sad.

True story: the rescue I was a member of had two rabies/vaccination clinics per year: (a) to give low-income dog owners an opportunity for low-cost rabies and core vaccines, and (b) to raise money. I attended eight such clinics - we held them in the "low-income" parts of Flint. A typical weekend would get between 300-500 dogs. The vast majority were pit bulls. Easily 90 percent. Often these were clearly back yard/chained dogs and they were pretty terrified. We would set up a separate line for reactive/aggressive dogs, and the vet would take time to go out to people's cars to vaccinate dogs that simply couldn't handle coming into the store.

I was a front-line person, and met people and their dogs coming in. Several thousand dogs in that four years. Only two dogs went for me, and I am not making this up: a poodle with painted toenails being held by an elderly lady....that little stinker lunged with intent at me, the vet and the vet tech. And a husky, that not only went at me and tore the sleeve of my sweatshirt as I dodged out of the way, but got so stressed and upset he also turned on the owners and bit the husband.

Not one pit bull was a problem, as God is my witness. Because of the prey drive thing, irresponsibly-owned pit bulls, especially when there's two or more together, are likely to go after anything small, fast-moving and/or squeaky, like a child or panicked adult. A pit bull (or Akita or Shar-Pei or most terriers or Rottweiler or Chow) is more likely than, say, your average Bichon or Greyhound or Golden retriever to be reactive/aggressive towards other dogs and squeaky or fast-moving things in general. It's often the nature of the dog; and often man-made. An owner that doesn't acknowledge this is a bad and dangerous owner. The dog is simply doing what its genes and training dictate.

Old 08-08-2011, 07:33 PM
Location: zone 5
7,330 posts, read 13,226,567 times
Reputation: 9611
Chiroptera, that is also a really great post. Too bad so many people just have their minds made up, and won't listen. All we can hope for is that a few do listen.
Old 08-08-2011, 09:45 PM
86 posts, read 266,411 times
Reputation: 119
A beagle bit you? I don't remember any beagle being aggressive towards me when I was young, and they are suppose to be good dogs for kids. However I do know that you have to be careful when buying a beagle, because if you aren't you might pick an aggressive, neurotic beagle that could bite and snap. Do you remember you neighbor's beagle doing anything weird, or abnormal for any beagle?
Old 08-08-2011, 09:52 PM
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 20,798,138 times
Reputation: 9581
road cruiser...the point wasnt that a beagle bit her but that any dog of any breed can bite and do serious damage...not all beagles are agressive, infact most arnt...same goes for pitties...
one of those...for every 1 that bites a person theres 100 that wouldnt harm a fly...kind of situations.

personally i was almost attacked by a lab...but labs are considered wonderfull family dogs...
my cousin was attacked by a golden, 27 stitches to the face...but goldens are also considered wonderfull family dogs...ect.
my sister was bitten by a poodle (thanks to an idiot owner who decided he didnt need to leash his dog despite leash laws) it doesnt mean ALL poodles bite...

ANY dog can snap, any dog can bite given the right stimuli, any dog can be unpredictable and agressive.
breed makes no difference...i think thats the point the poster was trying to make with the beagle experience.
Old 08-09-2011, 05:38 AM
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 15,352,869 times
Reputation: 10248
A friend of mine used to run a doggie daycare and did petsitting as well. She had a very snappy Beagle that she house-sat for. It can happen with any breed.

I really do get why many people think pit bulls are unsafe and believe in banning them. A lot of the reasons are based on misconceptions and how they're reported on in the media, though. Several years ago a Golden retriever strangled a little girl by playing tug of war with her scarf. It was reported as a "tragic incident" but the dog was "just being playful" and was not euthanized. Happened in upstate New York, I think. Had it been a pit bull or Rottweiler or whatever, I think the reportiong and the outcome would have been different.

Also anything that looks like a pit bull, or bully breed, or a mix, is much more likely to be referred to simply as a "pit bull" or "pit bull mix." Plus there's a lot of anecdotal evidence that ACOs and even veterinarians working at shelters can't accurately identify an APBT. I have a foster dog here that is a pit bull x labrador retriever. Peoples' perception is going to be quite different depending on whether I call him a "lab mix" or a "pit bull mix."

Just for fun: Find the Pit Bull.
Old 08-09-2011, 06:02 AM
603 posts, read 1,755,980 times
Reputation: 544
I've been bitten,all on seperate occasions,by three labs,bull terrier,and almost got my finger chewed off by a chow border collie mix,on a weekly basis I get snapped at by small breed dogs,and believe me,if i let them get ahold of me they'd do some damage.It's rare we come across a super friendly small breed.People think it's cute when they growl and snap,because they're so little.People don't train them because they're small so why would they need training and correction.It really does come down to the owner.One of my dogs is a little iffy with people she doesn't know.Guess who's fault that is?MINE.I didn't socialize her as much as I should have,had her since a puppy.She's amazing with my family and I,and with people she knows,but she's also VERY protective over me,so it could be a bad situation.BUT I never put her in situations where there could be a problem.I never let my dogs off leash and I'd never let a stranger walk up to me when I have her out.It's all about being responsible and preventing bad things from happening.

It's also harder for me because I really don't have much of a family,not many people come over,I'm never around children.I can't walk my dogs where I live,so I have to get in the car and drive somewhere in order to walk them.It's a pain in the ass.So it's hard.I did the best I could with her.Probably going to do some training with her,a friend of mine is an excellent trainer,and she has tons of experience with aggression.I have no problem accepting her for how she is,but again,I'd never put her in a situation where she could hurt someone.She's my dog and I love her and it's not the end of the world if she can't go everywhere with me.

When I worked at my old job,an animal hospital,there were several dogs that we told could not board with us anymore.One was a chocolate lab,the dog was a psycho.There was also a wheaton terrier who had to be knocked out for EVERYTHING.Everytime the owners brought him to be groomed he had to be fully sedated.If people took measures to prevent their dogs from causing harm to people or other animals we'd never have BSL.I think one of the most important things with this breed is socializing them with other animals.I've seen some REALLY dog aggressive terrier/bully breeds.I mean bad.Will try as hard as they can to get to the other dog thats 50ft away.Those are the dogs that break out and kill other peoples dogs.People need to keep their pets properly contained.All about responsible dog ownership.
Old 08-09-2011, 06:11 AM
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
16,668 posts, read 26,731,689 times
Reputation: 26642
I haven't read through all of this thread. I imagine that it got pretty heated. I'll just say this...

Pit bulls: Maybe I just haven't met the "right" one, but every pit bull that I've ever met has been the friendliest, goofiest, mushiest, kissiest dog. Each one that I've seen has scared me upon first glance -- whether they look mean or it's just my brain in overdrive -- but they've each turned out to be big balls of love. I'm not dumb enough to think that they're ALL sweet, of course. But that's not a breed issue. Keep reading.

Artie: My dog looks sweet. He's a Lab mix (with Corgi or Beagle, we don't know which). But he ran out of my friend's house when the door got opened, ran down the street, and bit a passerby. He lunges at every dog and person he meets. He barks at every dog and person he meets. He definitely has aggressive tendencies, unless I've invited the person into the house; he knows that this means that they're his friends. Otherwise, when on the street, he can be a holy terror. (Part of the problem is me. Another part of the problem is that he was abused as a puppy. Another part of the problem is that he sees the leash as punishment, I guess, even though he loves it because it means we're going for a walk.)

Looks are deceiving, no? This is Artie:

Last edited by DawnMTL; 08-09-2011 at 06:27 AM..
Old 08-09-2011, 12:18 PM
Location: On the Ohio River in Western, KY
3,388 posts, read 5,741,315 times
Reputation: 3343
Originally Posted by mrs1885 View Post
People with children love the pit or bully breeds because of their dedication and devotion to children. This is a breed that's very loyal to it's family. The consistently score in the 90th percentile in temperament testing year after year and have scored significantly higher than some of the breeds that are generally thought of as 'man's best friend'.

Their calm demeanor and openly affectionate attitude is beloved by many of the people that are around the breed. Their intelligence level and ease of training is a huge bonus to many families.

And above all else, those of us that love the breed, adore their huge smiling faces!

You have a right to like whatever breed you do. Those of us that like this breed or these breeds can like what we want. Welcome to America.

ETA: I've posted the reasons why RESPONSIBLE owners like pits and bullies. I refuse to acknowledge why the criminal element and terrible pet owners choose them.
Not to mention, pittys are probably one of the most versatile breeds. They can be taught ANYTHING. Herding, hunting, water sports, agility, weight pull, SNR, drug detection, K-9, guarding, anything really.

And they are hardy, and will work till they drop if you let them, they WANT to please.

That's why pittys are right up there on my fav dog list, right behind my beloved dobies.
Old 08-09-2011, 06:40 PM
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 20,798,138 times
Reputation: 9581
ooo be carefull cav, those dobies will eat you in your sleep :P

(just kidding of course, i LOVE dobies, i used to pet sit a pair from yugoslavian lines, they were BIG dobermans, and terrifying to look at (both were also trained in french ring and personal protection, but oh my goodness, such amazing personalites, they wanted nothing more than to sit IN your lap lol.
Old 08-09-2011, 07:05 PM
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 15,352,869 times
Reputation: 10248
LOL haven't you heard....Dobes' skulls are so narrow that their brains outgrow their skulls and they go insane and turn on people...(that is a JOKE but based on what some people actually believe.)

I agree with Cav that pibbles are a really versatile type of dog! The same can't be said for many other breed/types.
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