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The PitBull Discussion

This is a forum to discuss legislation and legal matters pertaining to the rights and welfare of dogs. Please remember to counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice and responses.

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But I did it for- the family!!!
Barked: Wed Oct 3, '12 11:59am PST 
Hey everyone!

As some of you know, I have an adorable little pitbull named Lola. She is extremely sweet and playful and has no aggression toward people or other dogs. Basically, we've had her since she was tiny and she's been spoiled and coddled ever since lol.

Despite her regular visits to the dog park down the street, she is still a pitbull. We still face prejudice everyday. People with small dogs grab them up and glare when she comes over to sniff around and say hello. She's never bitten or been rough with a little dog, but they don't know that, and so I just let that one ride. I tell them that she is still under a year and is only trying to say hello.

Well, I wanted to see what other dog-lovers have to say.

I found this pitbull infographic (link at bottom) that brings up a ton of really good facts about the breed. I love that they show the tiny percentage of pitbulls that have fatally attacked people. Much lower percentage than other breeds. Although I don't believe this exonerates pits in any way, I do want to know what you guys think about it.

What do you think about breed legislation?

What have been your experiences with pitbulls? Sweethearts? Vicious? How were the owners?

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Wed Oct 3, '12 5:33pm PST 
One the most obvious arguments against breed legislation is what exactly constitutes a pit bull type dog. How do they decide who to ban? It becomes totally a dog who is say half beagle and half bull terrier a pit? Is an English BULLdog considered a more ahem...socially acceptable bully? What about the average shelter dog with it's background a blank? Then it becomes guessing and profiling...little bitty eyes, great big shoulders...what if they have bitty eyes and moderate sized shoulders? Are they still a pit? And besides shouldn't it be the deed not the breed? Dachshunds and chis are on top of some lists for dog bites...try to ban them and hear people howl...
That said you don't adopt a pit to win any popularity contests. My son came up with a terrific analogy once. He said imagine if you had a five foot centipede, clean friendly with perfect recall, it would curl up in your lap, it could retrieve and run like a racehorse. You'd be proud of it and love it but people don't see a well behaved wonderful creature. They see a big centipede and for some people they can't get past that. I feel bad when we walk and kids are like "Doggie!!!!!Doggie!!!!!" and you can hear the muffled talk of "We don't touch THOSE kind of doggies". Then you see them later on making a big fuss over a golden or maltese and Sophie is just as docile if not more so.

Im just a little- guy
Barked: Wed Oct 3, '12 11:33pm PST 
Growing up I can remember a time where my siblings and I petted a rottweiler in a convertible that was parked next to our mini van. My mom was like Oh don't pet those dogs. This was in the very early 90's when the rotties where the hated breed. It was obvious to me the dog was friendly. It was acting like the ones at home.

I never listened to her and petted all kinds of "dangerous breeds" in my life. I have a good sense of dog behavior and pet dogs based on their behavior. I pet a lot of dogs with out asking because their owners are not around. I pet ones in pickup trucks, hanging their heads out car windows, loose dogs, ones that run up to me on trails, chained up dogs, ones outside shops, ones in shops, ect, ect, ect. I don't skip certain breeds and have never been bit.

I think breed bans are profiling for dogs. Saying a pitbull is going to always be aggressive is like saying you can't ever trust a husky off a leash. Yesterday I saw a husky off leash on a trail and he was not running away. I have allowed my dog to interact with many pitbulls because I can tell by their behavior they are safe. I probably see at least one nice pitbull once a week.

I think must people who are knowledgeable about dogs or work with them, know pit bulls are acceptable dogs. Ask a veterinarian or a groomer what they think of pitbull temperaments.


Gotta love me !
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 4:49am PST 
Breed bans are so silly . I once had a lab that didnt like kids and was dog aggressive and now I have a Pit that loves everyone and likes all dogs. A ban on Pitbulls would not have helped with my lab if I was not a responsible person, get on the owners that are not training their dogs and not being responsible.

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 7:42am PST 
I know alot of vey sweet pitbull type dogs. I own Akitas and get the same type of reaction because of the reputation they have. I do not believe in BSL of any sort,it really does no good and only takes wonderful pets from loving responsible families. I agree with Oscar that the law should be focused not on the breed but on the owners who choose to be irresponsible and allow their dog whatever the breed to be agressive,unsocialized,and allowed to run at large and endanger others. Punish the behavior and those who are responsible for it,not the breed of dog simply because it is what it is.

But I did it for- the family!!!
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 11:29am PST 
I am so delighted to hear your responses! Thank you to each of you smile I think that BSL is a poor solution for a small problem. It's too bad Dogster removed the link, because one of the facts I liked the most on the pitbull info-graphic was the graph showing the percentage of pitbulls that have attacked people, in case you're curious, it's tiny, 0.00125% but I think that also has something to do with the fact that there are a ton of pitbulls in general.

Furthermore, I also agree that BSL doesn't solve the problem, people easily bypass the laws. I agree with the mantra, "Punish the deed, not the breed." Because the reality seems to be that all breeds can be made cruel. But since the pitbull has been bred to be a fighter, naturally, they tend to win most fights they get into. The trick is teaching them that there isn't a reason to fight.

Lola gets to wrestle with all of us roommates, but she won't play with anyone she doesn't know really well. Come to think of it, I don't think she has ever played rough with anyone but the three of us she is closest to. Sometimes she gets snarly in a playful way, but she knows that the second she accidentally nips too hard she is in trouble. It's been tough to teach her to play without being too rough, but I have to say that I am delighted with her progress. She is very smart, smarter than I thought she would be lol, and SUPER in-tune with my emotions. It's weird, seeing her behavior makes me have to realize my own. Example following:

One night a crazy ex-girlfriend of one of my roommates broke into our house and we came home and caught her in the act. Well, I called to make a police report and sat waiting on the porch with Lola on her leash next to me. Growing up, I lived in a small town and was harassed a few times there by the deputy, who knew me personally, which has resulted in a nervousness around police for me, but I control it well. But when the officer got there, I'm sure my blood pressure rose somewhat. Well Lola knew instantly, and she began to flip out.

It was then that I realized what it meant to own a pitbull. The sweet, docile puppy we knew was gone. It was so bizarre. I suddenly realized that I couldn't promise she wouldn't bite him. Don't get me wrong, I was fairly certain, because she had never bitten anyone before, but she had also never acted like this before.

She wasn't a big dog then, she isn't now - still under 50 lbs. But she began barking and lunging quite frantically and the officer yelled at me to control my dog. I explained that she was just an excited puppy, but he wasn't backing down and neither was she. So my roommate had to take her inside. She's always gotten VERY excited when people come over, and we have tons of friends that visit so she is always friendly and usually insists on getting right up in their laps for lovin's, and part of me thinks she just wanted to sniff him and make sure he was ok. But I also think that she immediately responded to my nervousness and decided she had to protect me. I don't know. The whole thing was weird. She still has never bitten anyone, but the only other time she's been close to a police officer she flipped out then too. She's not a rescue, we've had her since she was tiny and she has never been abused or starved and has always been socialized.... So I don't know... What do you guys think about it? Sorry for this mile-long post lol
Joey Diego - CGC, Therapy- Dog

Where did mom- go?
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 2:34pm PST 
I think that BSL is not right and a waste of time because that is not going to solve any problems. Owner education is more important.

I love pitties and totally want to own one in the future, but I would also be lying if I said that pitties at the dog park didn't make me a little nervous. Sometimes they make me a little nervous in dog parks because they can be really rough and not do well with multiple dogs. That being said, you can tell almost immidately which ones these are and I have seen some wonderful, very well socialized pitties at the park as well. Besides my slight reservation with pitties and other dogs, I have never once been put off by one acting mean or aggressive with people. They are usually some of the most friendly dogs I have ever met!

Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 3:20pm PST 
even if pitbulls are not bred to be people aggressive, they are bred to be dog aggressive. Yes, I'm afraid for my dogs when pit bulls are around. Nothing you are going to say will change that.

You knew the dog's reputation when you got it, and feel it is disingenuous to cry foul because people feel this way.

You have a lot of responsibilities to change that reputation. But since my dogs HAVE been attacked by 3 pitbulls, 1 lab, and one Giant Schnauzer (different attacks.. I do search and rescue, and am working out in the public arena with dogs on lead) you have a lot of repair to do.

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 6:53pm PST 
Lola my Akitas are very sweet gentle and loving as well,would I ever 100% guarantee that they would never bite? NO. As loving and wonderful as our pets are and even if they have never bitten or attacked anyone, they are bonded to us and take it upon themselves to protect us if they feel we are threatened.
As well as you might know your dog,or think that you do,you can not be inside their head and will never know with complete certainty what perceived threat to themselves,their family,or their home might be the thing that pushes them a little too far. It does not have to be a pitbull,Akita,GSD,Mastiff,Boxer or any of the other threatening or "known" agressive types any breed can be pushed into biting by the right trigger or series of events.That is something I think every dog owner should be aware of and truly honest with themselves and others about. When I am asked,"Do they bite?" I tell people they haven't bitten anyone yet, and as long as you don't seem threatening to us or them,they should be fine. Most people who mean no harm will generally take the chance and pet them.

Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 7:43pm PST 
MIKA&KAI is correct. Pitbulls do not hold the market on being sweet and loving. It just happens to be the breed you prefer. But you don't have to have one to have a sweet and loving dog.
There are other breeds known to be capable of great damage, but they prefer not to. My dogs, for instance, have never engaged in a fight, but they certainly have been attacked. I choose my breed because I need a breed with a good reputation and develops public trust. My breed has a long reputation of NOT biting. In fact, in WWII 200 of them were donated to the war effort, and 200 were put down because they were unsuitable as war dogs, because they could not be provoked to bite. My breed has never been listed on any viscous dog list. Although other dogs jump them, they have never attempted to retaliate. In my business, this steadiness and reputation for stableness is important.

It has it's drawbacks.. they SHED.

Every breed has it's pros and cons.

But when you choose a breed, you choose the responsibility of the legacy that your breed has established in the past.

You don't complain about the reputation it has earned, whether your dog fits the mold or not.

If you don't like the reputation your breed of choice has garnered, you work hard on changing the image through being an ambassador for your breed. Instead of complaining when people scoop up their dogs or turn the other way when they see your dog, it should be accepted as a behavior that you accepted when you chose the breed. If they are scooping up their dogs, it's because you haven't educated them that your dog is not a threat.

But until the breed as a whole makes an effort to clean up it's act, and as long as peoples dogs ARE being attacked by pitbulls of other owners, I'm sure you can't expect them to stick around and risk their dogs being dog bait just so you can prove to them that your dog is different. It needs to be a breed wide effort.

My dogs DO play with my sisters very nice pitbull. They love to go play with her. But just because she is nice, does not mean I allow my dogs to play with every pit bull. In fact, my experience with MOST pitbulls has been exactly the opposite. How many times do my dogs have to be attacked? How many times do they get attacked before they finally decide perhaps that maybe they OUGHT to defend themselves? (Two dogs fighting would be a lot more difficult to break up than one dog attacking and one dog trying to escape)

My experience so far, even though my dogs do have a very nice pit bull to play with, as a whole, any strange pitty approaching, is viewed with caution, and I pull my dogs closer and make sure I have my pepper spray even closer.

Until the breed as a whole changes, keep expecting that same reaction except for the friends your dog has won over. The bad dog label is being proliferated by many, even though you are trying to change it. Get mad at the pitbull owners doing this, and don't be frustrated at the people who care for their dogs, reacting from bad past experience
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