Posts Tagged ‘Pets’

golden-retriever-puppy-breeders

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.

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.

2013-03-27 22.07.17

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

Yesterday I originally started a post about Pit Bulls and mixing them in with other dogs of different breed and other Pit Bulls. I was having trouble getting things flowing so I decided to shelf it, post a few pics of my gals and guy, and write something else. I woke up today and looked at yesterdays draft. I realized I was doing exactly what we as Pit Bull owners should be fighting against stereo typing. I realized I wrote the article in a way that made it seem like mixing in Pit Bulls with your current pack is different from mixing in any BIG POWERFULL breed. I was contributing to the stereo type without really even thinking about it. I had written that draft to show that Pit Bulls make great family pets and pack members. And without even thinking about was making a stereo type myself. At the end of the day we need to remember that Pit Bulls are just like any other strong breed. Just because they are a certain breed doesn’t mean they aren’t still dogs. Dogs are social creatures and pack animals. After some thought this morning I thought I would write this instead.

Let me start by saying I have never had any qualms about mixing my dogs. I am an avid dog person so I have spent plenty of time researching, reading, and watching training videos about dogs and dog behavior. I also have spent plenty of time watching my own dogs and studying their behavior. I believe it is possible to have your dogs get along as a pack. I believe it is possible for most dogs to get along in a pack under the right leader. Not everyone can handle multiple dogs if you can then you know it really relies on you. You are pack leader you are in charge. This is your pack and you dictate what is appropriate behavior. With having said that not all people are ment to own Power breeds just like all people are not ment to have multiple dogs especially instances where there are large and small dogs.

I currently have two Pit mixes and a 7 lb Shorkie (shitzu yorkie) who all live in perfect harmony together. At one point Lily also lived with another Pit mix Bently (picture in previous post). It was always the expectation of my fiance and I that our pack get along and they always do. We have bones on the floor toys out in the open. Our dogs do not fight over bones or toys. They do not guard them. If they ever showed any signs of those behaviors they would be corrected. Not correcting or not fully following through with a correction is not an option. You must be a leader at all times.

Having multiple dogs is amazing and I don’t think my fiance or I would have it any other way. We love fostering for BULLIES IN NEED it has changed our life. Thats not to say it does not take hard work and dedication. There is a lot that goes into having multiple dogs of varying size and temperament. Being able to read dogs and dog behaviors even down to understanding different types of growls and body language is a must. Being able to correct a dog the instance it is displaying an unwatned behavior  is also crucial. If you don’t catch them exhibiting the behavior it is impossible to correct them and show them proper behaviors.

People should always do their home work and research first before integrating dogs. Know your dog! What are her warning signs that an interaction is not going in a positive direction. Remember it is up to you to dictate the meeting. All interactions should always be supervised. Any dog that is new to your pack that has already been determined that  has dog aggression tendencys should only be  handled by experienced dog people familiar with the breed and breed tendencys or trained professionals. The average person misses many signs and warning signals that lead up to a dog fight. You commonly hear people say “well he just turned on him everything was fine” or “he  just snapped.” This is completely false there are always warning signs while sometimes subtle it is up to us to recognize and take charge of the situation. That being said dogs with dog aggression even dog fighting in their past can become a happy healthy pack member under the right leadership.

Take Cesar Millan for instance who rehabilitates dogs of all breed and circumstance. His slogan being that “No dog is too much for him. ” While I believe what he says to be true. We are not all Cesar Millan nor do we all posses his innate skill and ingrained intuition when it comes to dogs. But we owe it to our pack to do our best and give them 100%.If you are not an experienced dog handler and I would even say borderline professional you should not be trying to integrate a Power Breed that has dog aggression behaviors. At the bare minimum you should employ the help of a dog behavior expert who is different from someone who just teaches tricks and basic obedience. Do your home work not all dog trainers are experienced with dog behavior. Also search out someone familar with the breed you are working with. In these scenarios professionals will give guidance and show you how to introduce your dogs and make sure interactions are positive and  show you how to supervise them. This is not saying that dogs with dog aggression issues cannot be rehabed and shown a different way under different leadership. A prime example is the fight and bait dogs from Bad Newz kennels (The Michael Vick dogs). These poor guys  suffered tortures that I can not even fathom. Many have found forever homes with other dogs, children, and animals. I recently saw a pic of one of the Vick dogs snuggling a small bunny. In my eyes most dogs are capable of being wonderful family pets and pack members its up to us to lead them that way. I love all dogs big and small, Pit Bulls or Shorkies. So having my gals ( yes two girls) not get along is not an option for me. We create the scenario our pets live in. So give them one where they all live happily together.

My guys and their buddy mojo