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Old 08-01-2011, 12:43 PM
 
Location: S. New Hampshire
909 posts, read 2,947,521 times
Reputation: 530

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Normally when people first see Shep, they say, "Wow, a pitbull something!" Two seconds later they always say, "Oh but they're great dogs!" One even said, "Wonderful family dogs, just gotta train em right." However, yesterday I got my first negative reaction. We had a bunch of neighborhood kids over to swim, and I was chatting with one of the moms. Shep was just wandering around, watching the action. He started to get close to someone's goggles so Dh corrected him and directed him away. The owner asked about it, and I said well Shep is a little chewy so I don't want him to destroy them. She said, is it because he has so many teeth? Then she said he looks a little like a pitbull, and I said, well he might be, a lot of people have said so. Then she said, "you should be careful because you have little ones, he could become dangerous." I said, "Oh no, Shep is great with the kids, very gentle." Then she said, "my friends had a pitbull, he was a good dog, a good dog, then when he was 3 they had to put him down because he attacked their child." Bit the kid's head, required 13 stitches. Then she goes on to tell me that her country (France) doesn't allow pitbulls at all. I guess they have a ban? Anyway, she said her friends got the pitbull as a pup, so it should've been okay but it wasn't.

I really didn't know how to respond. I wanted to ask if they had worked with the dog, trained it properly. But it seemed like a personal question, also I didn't know how good her English was for me to dig further. So I just let it go. She did ask if he was a good guard dog, and I said Ha! he almost never barks, not even at the door bell. Although he will now if someone approaches the door, or the yard when he's in it. And she said oh that's very good, if he's not a guard dog, and since he's not pure pitbull maybe it's okay.

Gee thanks lady. When they were leaving her 5yo daughter gave Shep a big hug, and she said, no he's a dog, you don't do that.

 
Old 08-01-2011, 01:33 PM
 
2,707 posts, read 5,369,350 times
Reputation: 5552
I think it's great that there are so many pit bull advocates, and great that the people who ARE advocates are devoted to raising their dogs right and bringing to the fore all their positive traits. That's the only way, really, to counter the negative reputation this breed has. That said, you are NEVER going to be able to convince all people that all pit bulls -- or that pit bulls as a breed -- are as good a family pet as, say, a Golden Retriever. It's hard to get past the reputation. And pit are certainly not the only breed affected by this stigma. In years past, it was Rotties, Dobies, and GSDs who were the "bad dog" in the dog world.

I feel very comfortable around dogs, but I will admit that there are two breeds I steer clear of: Chow-chows and pit bulls. It's not like I shriek and run away in terror if I see these dogs, and I certainly don't lecture the owner about what bad dogs they are. But my own personal preference is always going to be to steer clear. If I'm at the park and there's a pit bull playing, I'm going to move to another part of the park, calling Bandit with me. I won't make a big deal about it. I won't try to make the owner of the pit feel bad. But we all, as dog owners and humans, have to make the decisions that feel right for us.

(I'll add that Siberian Huskies, which is what my dog is, are not without their OWN reputation issues. They're known, as a breed, as being cat-killers, for instance. I've had tons of people tell me that Sibes are aggressive or that they can't be trained. I've had apartment complexes turn me away because they don't allow Siberians. So I know what it's like to run up against that kind of bias. The only defense against it, I think, is just to do what the OP is doing with their pit bull and what I do with my Sibe: raise the dog right and be a good advocate for a happy, healthy, well-behaved example of the breed.)
 
Old 08-01-2011, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
4,033 posts, read 8,594,400 times
Reputation: 4912
It sounds as if this woman is one of the many who have joined the Pitbull bashing club just from hearing one story about an aggressive Pitbull. I would have reminded her that any dog has the capacity to wound a child and that, in fact, any cat/snake/rabbit/horse, etc. can inflict just as much, if not more, damage.

For example, I've known a lot of people who have stitches, severe scars, missing fingers and/or lifelong injuries b/c of horses. Yet when have you ever heard of anyone imposing a ban on them or persistently referring to them as aggressive and/or unpredicatable (which they are) with the same kind of ignorance and fear with which they label Pitbulls?

If it had been me, I would have told the woman not to bring her child to my home if the dog makes her uncomfortable. She sounds like someone who is very fearful of dogs and I wouldn't want my dog to be subjected to that. I just wouldn't invite her back.
 
Old 08-02-2011, 09:44 AM
 
3,627 posts, read 12,818,089 times
Reputation: 2698
I have nothing at all against pits and can understand your frustation about her misplaced opinions, but the mother was absolutely correct in instructing her child not to HUG a strange dog.

Very few dogs appreciate being HUGGED, let alone by a stranger. A good dog will tolerate this but does not enjoy it. It is a very good way for a child to get bit.
 
Old 08-02-2011, 12:00 PM
 
Location: S. New Hampshire
909 posts, read 2,947,521 times
Reputation: 530
Quote:
Originally Posted by grannynancy View Post
I have nothing at all against pits and can understand your frustation about her misplaced opinions, but the mother was absolutely correct in instructing her child not to HUG a strange dog.

Very few dogs appreciate being HUGGED, let alone by a stranger. A good dog will tolerate this but does not enjoy it. It is a very good way for a child to get bit.
Oh to be sure! I totally understand that. I think Shep enjoys being hugged by us, but of course I'm not sure about strange children.

I was just a little baffled by an admonition from someone I really don't know. And what did she want me to do? We already do everything we're supposed to, with what one would do with ANY dog. The vague "you should be careful..."
 
Old 08-02-2011, 12:09 PM
 
Location: zone 5
7,330 posts, read 13,232,101 times
Reputation: 9611
Just disregard it. Walking my pit bulls, I get so many people cautiously asking me if my dogs are friendly or not. No one ever asked it about other, bigger, dogs I've had. There was a time I didn't trust pit bulls too much either (hard to remember now), so I don't get defensive about it. With all the myths floating around, perpetuated by the media, it's understandable. More pit bulls are being saved and adopted by families than ever, so with time these myths should be dispelled.
 
Old 08-02-2011, 02:48 PM
 
24,843 posts, read 32,389,194 times
Reputation: 11453
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarlaJane View Post
It sounds as if this woman is one of the many who have joined the Pitbull bashing club just from hearing one story about an aggressive Pitbull. I would have reminded her that any dog has the capacity to wound a child and that, in fact, any cat/snake/rabbit/horse, etc. can inflict just as much, if not more, damage.

For example, I've known a lot of people who have stitches, severe scars, missing fingers and/or lifelong injuries b/c of horses. Yet when have you ever heard of anyone imposing a ban on them or persistently referring to them as aggressive and/or unpredicatable (which they are) with the same kind of ignorance and fear with which they label Pitbulls?

If it had been me, I would have told the woman not to bring her child to my home if the dog makes her uncomfortable. She sounds like someone who is very fearful of dogs and I wouldn't want my dog to be subjected to that. I just wouldn't invite her back.
I have had MANY injuries from horses.

Mostly from foals.

I did have one bite from an adult horse that required 3500 switches.
 
Old 08-02-2011, 03:40 PM
 
Location: In the middle...
1,253 posts, read 3,040,770 times
Reputation: 1821
Question Media and hear-say...

For those that do not own a bully, most take what the media or others say and just repeat what they have heard.

Before I owned my first bully, an Am Staff, I believed what the media portrayed they as and did not want anything to do with them. The first time I saw her, her amber eyes melted my heart. She (my Am Staff) was a true ambassador for the breed. Had I not taken that chance on her, I would have missed out on a beautiful and wonderful friend...who not only did well with kids but had a calming effect on one child who was truly troubled. If there are dog soul-mates, she was mine. We had 12+ wonderful years together and she was by my side in the good and especially the bad times.

She not only change how I looked at bullies, she changed how I would rescue additional future friends. She taught me that I had to lead the pack or she would...but as long as I would step up, she would gladly follow. She taught me that you don't have to be loud to get someone's attention. She would have layed down her life to protect me or anyone else in her pack because she was fearless and loyal not because she was trained.

Pits and Am Staffs are basically the same breed and were originally used as farm dogs, herding, ratting and getting rid of any vermin but most important, they played and had to do well with the kids. (This was before bull-baiting and pit fighting).

Bullies do well when they are exercised, trained and of course raise properly (good / responsible ownership). Stopping behaviors (such as chewing) before they start - as you did with goggles) or giving them the proper chew toys and not allowing unwanted behaviors to escalate. We have to lead them or they will lead us. It is that simple.

It seems your neighbor is uneducated about Pits. You can try to educate her but it may fall on deaf ears. Most people that have formed an opinion won't change it.

We can only continue to rescue these beautiful animals, manage them properly, keep them from people like Michael Vick, oh...my bad. Who give them a bad name.

I would like to add one more thing, whenever possible we do need to educate the public about not only this breed (pits) but all bullies. We have made them who they are through selective breeding. It is not the dogs fault, it is ours. The problem is human made.

Btw, Pits are also banned in England. They wanted to put a stop to underground fighting rings and banning the breed was the best way (they thought).

Also keep in mind, it's not that pits have more teeth, they have more biting power per square inch than most dogs, that is why they can do more damage. Which is why they do better with "Kong" toys than regular toys.
 
Old 08-02-2011, 03:44 PM
 
86 posts, read 266,460 times
Reputation: 119
People are ignorant. That lady are among the people that makes the Pitbull look bad. These dogs are sweet, loving, caring, good nature dogs. People think these dogs have strong bites, but they don't even know the Rottweiler has a stronger bite, and they don't know that the Pitbull scored higher then Labradors on the good family dog test 85.5 for Pitbulls vs. 84.4 for Labradors.

 
Old 08-02-2011, 03:55 PM
 
455 posts, read 553,622 times
Reputation: 208
There are too many incidents, they are too powerful (jaws), get them fixed, it's just not worth the risk.
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