Posts Tagged ‘BSL’

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I recently came across a media article about a Golden Retriever that had jumped a fence and attacked a woman. I might add somehow the uprising to ban Goldens  was oddly absent. After reading the story and the comments a few things stood out and even made me angry. The attitude of the owner was awful. He seemed to have zero remorse for fact his dog attacked someone let alone take any responsibility. When will people learn to place the responsibility where it belongs on the HUMAN?  Here is someone who is completely irresponsible when it comes to their dog. I’m not saying this guy isn’t nice to his dog or even just a nice person in general I don’t know for sure(although he doesn’t sound like it). He clearly has zero idea of what his dogs basic needs are as he openly states that his dog has bitten someone before. Its people like this who own pit bulls and contribute to the bad rap they often get. I find it rather interesting that this attack  was pretty bad yet garnered such little attention from the main stream media. Sadly I assume had the article had pit bull in the title the attention would be much more wide-spread with the grumbling of a city council somewhere talking about BSL.

Contrary to many pit bull articles I didn’t see the outcry for the banning of Goldens. Many people delusional as they are posted comments like “Weird Goldens don’t bite” or “All Goldens are so sweet the owner must be abusing him”. Many people posted attesting for how the dogs are nothing but wonderful family dogs. This in most cases is true. Breed does not dictate the dogs chances of biting so much as the current situation he is in. Here is where we need to straighten a few things out. All dogs can bite. Fact. Big small does not matter. Surprisingly to some people breed has no bearing on dog bites either. There are many contributing factors to dog bites. For example someone commented on the article that since he bit he must have been abused. ABSOLUTELY FALSE. Now follow me here. If he was abused it contributed to him being a fearful or nervous dog which would could cause him to bite out of fear. But just because a Golden bit someone does not automatically mean the dog was abused. As if to say if you just love a Golden enough it couldn’t possibly bite someone. What it really sounds like is another case of irresponsible owner. The dog probably had little exercise, no rules, and it sounds like affection was on the light side as well.

Speaking of temperament.  When temperament tested pit bulls scored higher than some common household breeds. To put it in perspective the three breeds commonly called pit bulls scored on average 86.4% when temperament tested, while Golden Retrievers scored 84.9%. It may also interest people to know that pit bulls were NEVER bred to be guard dogs or be aggressive to humans in any way. Research shows that when dog fighting was a legal sport (many many years ago) any pit bull showing any signs of human aggression was sadly put down without another thought. While I am 100% STRONGLY against dog fighting it shows that human aggression was something that has been bred out of these dogs for 100’s of years. Pit bulls that display these characteristics are often with an owner who is inexperienced with dogs or has not socialized them properly, set rules and boundaries, and a daily regimen of exercise.

I just can’t understand how people in this instance can blame the owner and want him held responsible yet whenever a pit mix bites someone it must be because he is an aggressive monster that needs to be banned for public safety. Where are the outcries from citizens to be protected from Golden Retrievers? I wonder if it’s the positive portal in the media that makes everyone feel at ease.  It speaks to power of the media and they way they can use it to create fear and panic. I believe through education we can show people that dog bites have nothing to do with breed and that BSL will never be the answer. A BSL driven by fear will never be as effective at reducing overall dog bites as say a responsible owner law, placing the responsibility on the owner of the dog regardless of breed.

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Lights Camera Action!!

Posted: April 3, 2013 in Pit Bulls
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So today I saw an interview that was recently aired on the news. They had a woman and her pit bull mix on the show to be interviewed and asked their opinion on whether pit bulls were dangerous dogs or if  the person holding the leash was to blame. You guys know how I feel on this issue. The person holding the leash is responsible period. The dog is either doing what you have taught it to do or what you allow it to.

I held my breath. The truth is a lot of people when it comes to pit bulls tend to say things damaging to the breed and the notion that pit bulls are no different from a German Sheppard or strong breed of dog. Most of the time these people are totally well-meaning it’s just the way they phrase things or a blanket statement. For instance don’t mix pit bulls with other dogs or small dogs for that matter. My small dog has lived all her life with pit bulls and has never had a problem (she currently lives with 3). Does that mean all pit bulls will tolerate small dogs, no. But I know plenty that do well with other dogs and for that matter animals in general.  I thought she did a really good job fielding the questions and answering them in a responsible educated manner. Even better was the interviewer Manu Raj who drew some pretty good conclusions. First being that any animal abused and mistreated has the potential to become aggressive. He has cats and compared it to that. If he mistreated his cats and taught them to react to humans aggressively it isn’t going to be a huge surprise when they act aggressively towards people. It was refreshing to see someone in the media not attempt to garner views by asking negative questions or tying to provoke an argument. He had an open and honest way of asking his questions, that showed he honestly just wanted to know. He had no hidden agenda. He also touched on another key subject. Kids and proper interactions with pets. Again he used a scenario relevent to his life. His young nephew liked to pull his cat’s tail. When he did this the cat scratched him. Manu made an excellent point saying it is not the cats fault but the parents for not teaching the children proper interactions with cats and other animals. So I wonder in many of these children dog bite cases in what manner did the child approach the dog? It’s a shame parents don’t educate their children more about dogs and the proper way to approach and greet a dog. I mean imagine if someone just walked up and grabbed your ears and nose. Chances are you’d react in a negative manner. Some dogs are more tolerant than others it comes down to temperament not breed. It was awesome to see someone in the media with this kind of thinking. It was also amazing to see both of them paint the “pit bull” in a positive light. So cheers to both of you and hopefully we’ll end BSL in Ontario in 2013.

 

So today I was having a bit of a hard time deciding on a topic. I had spent a few weeks before starting this blog getting ideas together for posts. My goals are to talk about pit bulls in a good light, my fostering experience, and the BSL here in Ontario. Sadly I read an article that again painted pit bulls in a negative light and unjustly so. If you’d like to read it you can click here. These were my thoughts.

The article leads with  that the attack was un provoked as many do. Dog language can be subtle and more than likely it was missed dog language that lead to the attack. It is something that people commonly  miss out on. It could have been as something as small as a lip curl or one dog displaying another subtle form of dominance. At times the body language can be very hard to pick up on.

The article goes on to paint a pretty vivid and negative image of pit bulls. The story is that she was walking by a group of men who “called out at her”. The next thing she knew there was a un muzzled “pit bull shaking her small dog every which way”. Let me say in no way am I excusing or condoning what happened here. Everytime a dog bites someone  it is tragic. A bite usually comes from a negative situation from both sides human and dog. The article goes on to say the man fled and the police are still searching for him and his “pit bull”. I have to ask this. During the chaos of a dog attack how was this person, whose profession is not identifying dogs, properly identify that this dog was a “pit bull”. Shelters are wrong 87.5% of the time when identifying dogs. These are trained professionals who have time to examine each dog not just a look during a moment of complete mayhem. It makes me think about a dog we had in BIN named Guinness. He was labeled a pit bull when he is actually a swiss mountain dog. So I wonder how in the mix of all the chaos and a dog fight that this person was able to positively identify that this dog was  pit bull. It may have been one or not but the point is here are pit bulls in the media being portrayed as a “snarling mass of muscle and teeth”. The authorities stated that if it was a pit bull it should have been muzzled not committing either way. Yet the article says pit bull over 5 times.

I did some research into dog bites and the articles that surround them. Many dog attack articles sight that the attacking dog was a “pit bull” or “pit bull mix”. Many of the police reports accompanying these attacks site no breed of dog at all. So I wonder where did this magical pit bull come from. Well let’s face it a small dog biting someone’s hand and the person requiring 5-10 stitches is no headline grabber. On the contrast a head line like “Pit Bull Mauls Man, requires 50 stitches” pulls people in and grabs readers. It’s a shame that so many journalists are being so irresponsible and ruining the reputation of a whole breed just to entertain readers. On average pit bulls score much better on temperament tests than many other “family dogs”. Lilly has grown up with pit bulls her whole life.  In many instances there is no hard evidence  at all  to support that  the attacking dog was in fact a pit bull. In many cases it seems some writer took it upon themselves to just assume what kind of dog it was. If this author was reporting on  a plane crash  I find it hard to believe that people would be so understanding of falsifying facts just to gain headlines.

I’ve said it in my past posts that pit bulls fall into what I believe are power breeds of dogs. These guys require the extra mile in most cases. Some popular ones including Dobermanns, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Mastiffs. Many of these breeds at one time or another were subject to BSL laws in the past. Not everyone has what it takes to responsibly own one. Many people buy dogs to selfishly fulfill something inside themselves or portray an image never thinking about what the dogs needs are. What the article fails to do is place the responsiblity where it belongs on the owner. They talked about his tattered clothes as if that had anything to do with his out of control dog or maybe it was to add to the negative image many people have of pit bull owners.  Today it seems as if people just get dogs and assume that they will behave with little to no effort on their part. Or maybe that they should behave because we humans are “in charge”. They couldn’t be more wrong. When we get a dog we are making a commitment to giving a dog what it needs to feel fulfilled each day. It is our responsibility to train them show them rules, boundaries, discipline (which is different from punishment), and appropriate interactions with the world around them. I guess it’s just a shame people aren’t more responsible with their pets and journalists with their words. Both create a bad image for a loyal and loving breed of dog.

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Thought I’d include a picture of one of those “snarling masses of muscle”.

So  I’ve talked before about Bullies In Need a rescue we foster for. They are a pitbull and bully breed dog rescue here in Ottawa. Dogs are rescued from shelters, fostered, and then rehomed outside of the province due to the BSL here. Some of the dogs are ok to adopted in Ontario some are not (check out our website for a listing of adoptable dogs.) Fostering has been an amazing experience so far. I’m thankful for everyday I get to spend with Opie. He is an amazing little guy. He has been such a great introduction into the world of fostering. Like I said I totally believe you get the dog you need. I think for my first experience with fostering I could not have asked for a more positive one. He has been an amazing guide.

I thought that each Friday my post would be about fostering or our foster dogs we have here in BIN. I recently had the chance to baby sit another one of our young guys Mojo he was awesome and fit right in with my pack. As I write this I’m in the process of getting everything ready to take in Forest a little guy from Toronto who is need of a place to crash and to brush up on some manners. Who knows he may end up staying if Opie finds a forever home. Which I hope he does because he really deserves one.

Opie has been amazingly easy to raise. I really credit it to his willingness to learn combined with  his eager nature to please.We have always been consistent with him, from day one he was shown what was expected of him and those expectations have never changed. He is a very smart pup and very food motivated so training with him has been a breeze. Stella helped us out a bunch with showing him the boundaries of our yard and even potty training. He knows all his basic commands sit, stay, down, give both paws, stand, and roll over. He even does a small agility course. It’s pretty impressive for a little guy.

It helps dogs especially puppies to get on some sort of a schedule. We usually get up at about 730 8 ish. I open his cage door and he waits patiently to come out.

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We also wait patiently at the door to go outside. Just because the door is open does not mean we go outside.

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He also knows that to come inside he needs to sit and wait patiently. Next we usually eat breakfast or go for a walk/rollerblade. He walks well on a leash rarely pulling. He loves to run beside you while you jog or rollerblade. If we run first thing then we eat when we come home. He  knows the feeding time ritual of waiting calmly for his food. Opie has been a great eater from day one ( he is a little chunky despite a good amount of exercise). He has zero food aggression towards humans or other dogs, I’ve even caught him and Stella sharing food from the same bowl.

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He is an amazingly well-behaved guy who deserves a great home. If your outside of Ontario and are interested please email bullies_in_need@hotmail.com and fill out an app. You can check out our webpage here.

Oh did I mention He was a snuggler.

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Come on out and support some great little guys and gals looking for their forever homes.

So I thought I’d start today by saying this right out. I am a big follower of Cesar Millan. I have read some of his books, watched his show and dvds. When Millan came to Ottawa we had even went to see him. I practice a lot of what he teaches and his philosophes and guess what they work. Do I live by everything he says no. Am I deluded enough to think that his way is the only and right way? No.  But Millan has been at this a long time and I believe there is much merit to his work. There are studies for both sides showing how his methods do and don’t work. There are also many studies done that show  crime is down when it is not. Or how pit bulls are dangerous dogs.  Like most things in life nothing is absolute. Most things tend to linger in the grey area. Crime is down in some areas. Some pit bulls are dangerous. Whether we made them that was is a whole other debate. While Millan encourages others to seek other options and even acknowledges that his way is not the only one. I see many of these other so-called “professionals” tearing him down saying if you follow Cesar your wrong. I was recently pointed to a blog where the trainer goes on and on about “no force” training and how it is the only way and how horrible Cesar is. I wonder why so many of these other “professional trainers” spend so much time attacking him instead of doing what he does, helping dogs. Millan is always respectful when it comes to the teaching methods of others. I wonder why others aren’t a bit more secure in their methods. By tearing him down it seems like these so-called “professionals” are trying to eliminate an option for us instead of doing what Millan does and let us choose what works best for us. I am always suspicious of other people when they so openly tear someone down. It’s unprofessional and speaks volumes about them. As an open-minded young adult I find value in many different ways of training dogs. No one way is the right way. It’s closed-minded people just like this that clutch so dearly to the lame idea that “their way is the only way”. It’s mindsets like this that support the BSL here in Ottawa. That the only way to curb dog bites is outlaw all pit bulls. Someone so closed-minded they can’t peer outside the box and say “Hey you know what there might just be another way to do this. Not better than mine just different”.

If at nothing else we can all agree what an ADVOCATE FOR OUR BREED he is. Millan has numerous pit bull dogs that are all ambassadors for our breed. He has also rehabed countless Pit mixes. Please try telling me you wouldn’t enjoy a dog as well-behaved as Daddy was or Junior is. Most of us at home can only dream of having a dog as balanced as that. If you’re sitting there shaking your head then I know there is nothing I can say to you. Millan must be the dog beating mad man some people will make him out to be. You sound like the PETA people who say poke balls are harmful to Pikachu. In the end I wonder why nay sayers are so quick to pound their chest and tout their way as being the only one. While Millan humbly takes the opposite approach. If you do not agree with his methods he openly invites you to explore your other options. Never once will you catch him trying to boast his methods as the only ones that work.

The people who seek out Millan are trying to change their pets behavior which has become out of hand and sometimes even dangerous. Millan encourages owners to take responsibility for the situation and own it. Something many trainers do not do. In the end who are you to judge someone based upon their beliefs. Taking it one step further to belittle them and make them feel bad for attempting to train their dog, well that speaks loads more about you than the people who follow Cesar Millan. These people should be applauded for putting in the work instead of just dropping fido off at the pound when “he just wont behave right”.  I always find it odd when professionals are so closed-minded that they can’t see anyone elses work having any value. With all of Millan’s supporters out their its kinda hard to argue and say his methods don’t work. I’m not saying that you need to agree with him 100& but trying to deny that his methods work at all is ridiculous. So if Millan so easily accepts their being other ways to train dogs, I guess the real question is why can’t you?

For someone like me before coming to Ottawa I didn’t even know something like “Breed Specific Legislation” even existed. When I rescued Bently the dog who forever changed my life and made me love the breed I never even thought about having trouble with him in Ontario. Certainly discrimination is something we humans save for each other. A dog is a dog I assumed.

BSL is an unfortunate part of everyday life for folks here. Since passing this law it seems that Pit Bulls can do no right. The BSL has done a good job of casting a dark shadow on a group of dogs that just happen to look a certain way. It’s interesting we live in a government town surely the people who make the laws will look at research and make an educated decision as to bill 132. Sadly this is not the case. Just a simple google of BSL will bring you a slew of information about its ineffectiveness. The law makers claim they are trying to reduce the amount of dog bites. Great! Reducing dog bites is a plus. unfortunately BSL doesn’t do that. For instance a study done in the UK actually shows dog bites to have gone up by 50% despite having BSL in place since 1991. A 2007 study done in Spain analyzed a period of 5 years before and 5 years after BSL laws were introduced. It showed that the amount of reported dog bites stayed the same and that the banned dogs only accounted for 4% of bites both before and after BSL laws. A study done in 2006 from SFU collected data from SPCAs, RCMPs and veterinary sources, and found that it wasn’t breed but irresponsible ownership that created dangerous dogs. It states that BSL creates “a false sense of security” and doesn’t address the real issues behind dog aggression

Not reducing dog bites isn’t the only problem with this piece of legislations. Without being able to DNA test a dog there is no definitive way to tell breed. Going on body shape and coat alone isn’t good enough. A recent study showed that trained shelter workers are incorrectly labeling dogs 87.5% of the time. We have a dog in care who was a victim of this. He sat in a shelter unable to be adopted in Ontario because of someone thinking he “looked like a Pit Bull”. And that’s the thing about BSL it really isn’t specific. The law itself encompasses a group of dogs that look similar.

No science and logic aren’t your thing well here’s something everyone can agree on. We all hate to see money wasted. Guess what having a BSL is expensive. We need more animal control, police, not to mention people suing the government for taking their beloved pet away unjustly due to animal control being unable to properly identify breed from sight alone. A 2010 report from Calgary showed that the city turned a profit after repealing BSL and implementing registration laws and fines. Enough money in fact to buy a fleet of trucks, networked computer system and an expansion to their shelter. With all the over whelming research and benefits to implementing a system like Calgary’s you have to wonder what is keeping the government from waking up and facing facts that what they are doing DOES NOT WORK.

Since this law doesn’t do anything to solve the problem the question arises well what can we do? I’d look out west to places like Calgary. What they have done is placed the responsibility back where it should be ON THE OWNER. It all starts with us. Ultimately its up to us to lead our dogs and show them acceptable behavior and be responsible. Leashing your dog in public places and have them spayed or neutered are just two ways to be a responsible owner. (I could rant on on this subject but this is about BSL right lol).

Just like people dogs shouldnt be judged by their outward appearances but their actions. I have known balanced and un balanced dogs of many different breeds. Like I’ve said before strong breeds of dog are not for everyone but if you are up to the challenge it can be one of the most rewarding relationships you’ll ever have. With our hard work and dedication to making our dogs ambassadors for their breed we hope to abolish BSL in 2013. Place the responsiblity where it should be on the person holding the leash. Look West Ontario governemnt the answers there.