|Barked: Tue Apr 3, '12 8:32pm PST |
|I trained Mulder how to properly express drives that otherwise could have been very dangerous.
People DO do this with pits- because, yet again, dog aggression is the result of a particular combination of drives and breed characteristics.
I really don't know how else to better explain this to you.
Dog aggression isn't just this one "thing" that pits have... its not a drive, its not something you use. Its something that is a RESULT of multiple types of OTHER drives and characteristics. THOSE are what you use- and getting rid of THOSE is the problem here.
If I must, I will go over it one.last.time.
Lets break the pit down by drives. Most of where he comes from is a prey mentality. The drive to chase and catch. Think of this as the driving force behind the dog, the thing which starts the ignition. This drive is utilized to make the dog move forward and to keep him happy during his work, as prey is primal and one of the less stressful drives a dog can be worked in (as apposed to something like defensive drive, which puts much more pressure on the dog and is not something a dog "enjoys" strictly speaking). When engaged in prey, the dog is not "thinking", he is "acting"- he isn't planning out his next move, he's just GOING. Prey can be a somewhat reckless drive in that respect, that when not tapped into properly, can make a dog seem unruly and disorganized.
Consider also that the pit is still a bully breed. While they are very handler biddable, much more so than most bullies, I do feel they fall within the realm of "dominant" when dealing with other dogs. It is a controlling personality type, that does not like to be pushed or challenged on what he considers "his" terms. That's a very BULLY thing, and something pits certainly have. This fraction of their character lends itself to a very forward, upfront dog who doesn't hold anything back. A dog who's willing to walk into a room and say "I'm about to give you 110%, so stand back". And biddable though they be, its that tough-headed "dominant" side to them that makes them so charming- they will run circles around you, and they will do it with a smile on their face! It is also part of the driving force for the next thing that I'm about to touch on.
That's the bulldog side, now lets look at the terrier. For that we have fight drive. I use "fight" here more in the sense that its used for in protection work, and not necessarily to describe the physical action of fighting. Its the dog's willingness to stay on something, to stay with whatever its doing and not stop until its told to. This is VERY pit, very terrier, very deeply ingrained, and one of the breed's more admirable characteristics. In dog fighting, the dog who fights to the death is considered a very good dog. Within the world of sane, normal people, that drive is what makes them so enjoyable in things like weight pull- they WILL keep going, even with an unimaginable weight on their shoulders, and will not stop until you've pulled them out. Or in things like hog hunting, they WILL go after that pig, even at great personal risk to themselves, until its been caught. A dog can be gored with the tusk of a wild pig and still stay on that hog until his master comes to relieve him- THAT'S saying something.
Combine those things and take a step back, look at what it creates. You can certainly have a dog with a lot of prey drive who does great with other dogs- look at Labs, Pointers, pretty much any of the hunting breeds. You can also have dogs with a lot of fight drive that can be plenty social- GSDs are the best example, Rotts and perhaps Dobermans can be used as well. The bulldog thing, well, that's a little sketchier. Certainly there are more social bulldogs, the English probably being the best example (though even they can be somewhat scrappy).
But when you mix all of those things together, you have a very chase-and-catch dog with a serious a-type personality that WILL NOT back down from a challenge, period. And that lends itself to.......... ding ding ding, you guessed it, a dog who is very scrappy with others.
Take your pick on which of those things you'd like to take out of the equation- certainly it can be done, and the result being a much more dog social dog. But say goodbye to SOMETHING that makes this breed so unique, and so admirable, as all if those traits do.
FYI, I'd also like to take a moment and point out one other thing-
The GSD, a breed who does not tend towards dog aggression as a rule, and at WORST SSA. When bred to have extreme amounts of prey drive (incorrect for the breed), with a ton of dominance and fight drive to back it up... you do see higher instances of dog aggression. Working kennels produce it more than show kennels, and I think that's pretty telling for this discussion. That you can take an otherwise neutral breed, muck around with his drives enough and CREATE a new characteristic in the dogs you produce.
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