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Are some dogs just too dangerous?


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The other thread in which Spy Car thankfully was able to stop a pit bull has spurred me to start this thread. I realize it is controversial but I truly believe that some dogs like pit bulls are truly just too dangerous:( I have read over the years plenty of horrifying stories of pit bulls maiming and killing:( I have also heard the refrain all too often that it is the owners and not the dogs that cause dogs to be aggressive and dangerous. Now, of course, this can be true, but I also think it is true that some dogs can be dangerous despite good owners.

 

This article was quite compelling to me and seemed spot on to me despite it coming from a blog dedicated to dog bites:

 

http://blog.dogsbite.org/2013/07/beyond-the-interview-essay-of-a-fatal-pit-bull-mauling.html

 

 

I plan on teaching my ds to never trust or go near pit bulls and rotweillers which from I understand are responsible for the majority of fatal attacks which have increased over the past decade or so:(  I also support any efforts to ban such dogs or to have insurance rates increased for owning such dogs or not being insurable at all.

 

The other thing that is compelling to me is that I cannot imagine my border collie mix or any of the other family dogs killing or maiming others. The article says it much better than I.

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I have no experience with Pit Bulls, so I cannot comment on those. We have a Rottweiler Male. That breed was never on my list, but someone threw him out of a pickup truck, when he was about 4 weeks old and my Stepson and his wife brought him home on their motorcycle. He is the sweetest dog we have.  He is the largest  of our dogs and he is in the house more than the other dogs combined.  He is good when little kids (toddlers) are visiting.  That said, if someone were to attack one of us, I am   certain that he would attack them.   I believe, with ANY breed, it is best if one can know the parents, before selecting a puppy, if you are getting a puppy from a breeder. The puppy will probably grow up to be like his/her parents.  When I first saw this Rottweiler puppy, and I looked at his feet, I told my family, "he is going to be huge".  He is. They didn't take him to Obedience school and he could knock someone down, with his  exuberance.  There are dogs, in EVERY breed, who are mentally unfit and should be put down. Hopefully, that's an extremely small percentage of each breed.   Bottom Line Rule should be that one should not extend their hand to a stray/strange dog, not pet them, etc.  One does not know if the dog will be friendly or aggressive.   Our Rottweiler Male  was neutered, because we have several female dogs. He does not bother our cats.    . 

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Really, very few owners imagine their beloved pets harming others, but it happens. Even a small dog can do damage. Never trust someone who swears " it's fine, pull her tail or ears--she won't hurt a fly!" I'd not scare my child by telling them to never go near a certain breed( and I dislike pits) but rather teach them the proper way to approach an animal, the hows and whens.

Even a pet cat can maim a kid; it makes me nervous to see pics and videos of babies face to face with a kitten/cat.

I agree that any pet could potentially hurt or bite someone. However, from the stories on pit bulls it sounds like that they bite and do not let go or stop the attack even when a person hits them with objects very forcefully like baseball bats and chairs:( OTOH my old dog, Misty, would have immediately wimpered and stopped if we hit her with something to stop her from biting from what I can imagine seeing as she never bit anyone. I believe most dogs would stop but not pit bulls it seems.

 

As for my child I agree not to frighten and teach about how to approach pets but he is now 14 so I am teaching what pit bulls look like and what he can do to stay far away and to protect himself if ever attacked. I also would never visit a home with pit bulls and will teach him the same. I just think they are too dangerous even with good owners:(

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I worked in veterinary medicine for nearly 20 years, and worked as a dog trainer including with aggression cases. I also, like MANY veterinary professionals, have a soft spot for pit bulls. I think they can be some of the greatest dogs out there. However, I do think they can have a higher tendency to dog vs dog aggression, so am cautious in those situations. But in regards to attacking/biting/hurting people they are no where near the top of my personal dangerous breed list. That said, ANY large dog is capable of killing a person, so I don't trust any large dog I don't know. Period. 

 

But as for breeds I am more cautious around? Akitas, Chows (more because they are hard to read body language wise than anything), cattle dogs (I swear they are less domesticated than the average dog), etc. I also don't trust most chihuhuas pomeranians until proven otherwise, but obviously they do minimal damage unless you are face to face with them (I've known a woman who was bitten on the face by a maltese and needed plastic surgery...she was kissing it while it growled because she thought the growling was cute.)  

 

I have a pit mix now, and would have zero problems owning another pit or pit mix. Many/most of the vet professionals I know love pits and several own them themselves. 

 

The absolutely scariest dog I've never come across was a Giant Schnauzer. That dog hated me. I literally would have to hide when it came in the office. I have no idea why it hated me, but it did. And it was owned by a little old lady who had zero clue about her dog's behavior and no way to control it. Terrifying. Oh, and a labrador that scared the crap out of me, and later, after we had warned the owner many times, put the family's infant in the hospital with a skull fracture. 

 

I think the reason vet professionals often like pits is that they are pain tolerant so less likely to fear bite (why most dogs bite) and they are usually pretty clear with their body language. 

 

I don't agree with breed specific legislation. I think there are some bad people breeding aggressive pits, but if you took away their pitfalls they would go back to dobermans or Rotties or another breed. They'll just switch breeds, not stop breeding bad dogs in bad circumstances. 

 

Oh, and I think dog fighters should be locked up for life, and am very much in favor of laws that prohibit chaining a dog all day, etc as that is how you end up with these bad situations most of the time. 

 

I'd even be okay with limitations on licensing of certain breeds (large breeds, not just pitfalls) where owners have to take a training class with the dog or something and make sure the dog has annual examinations, as often the vet professionals can point out issues that the owner is in denial about. (in all the bite cases I saw the owner had been warned by us of the dog's behavior...it wasn't out of the blue but the owners always said it was.)

 

 

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I agree that any pet could potentially hurt or bite someone. However, from the stories on pit bulls it sounds like that they bite and do not let go or stop the attack even when a person hits them with objects very forcefully like baseball bats and chairs.

 

In my experience with dog fights, that is pretty much always the case, no matter what the breed. They don't even seem to notice what is going on and pain just ramps them up more. (my only argument against pinch collars/prong collars is that they can backfire in high adrenaline situations for that reason.)

 

I'm sorry you wouldn't come in my house just because I have a pit mix. But I also understand that people feel that way and often lock her in a bedroom when people come over, until and unless I have permission from them to bring her out. She's a big softy, but she LOOKS intimidating if you are at all afraid of or cautious around dogs and I don't want someone to be uncomfortable. 

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I don't know. It's usually not a good idea to paint in very broad strokes.

 

But what I do know is that it's ridiculous when some breeds of dog have been bred to aggression/toughness or bred to be wild and half-cocked all the time and then lay people just going about their business in the world are frightened by these dogs....and their owners or advocates adopt this really derisive, condescending tone about it. These dogs were literally engineered to be frightening and/or extremely intense and suited only to experienced handlers (thinking sled dogs for the latter). So yeah.. I am afraid of your SCARY ON PURPOSE dog. Duh. duh duh duh duh duh

 

I have a friend that adopted a pitiful little pitbull (very small) that had been used as a bait dog in dog fights. Absolutely heart-breaking story! Absolutely heroic work on the part of my friend! But she (the dog) cornered me once, threatening to attack me, and has also gtten into extremely violent altercations with other dogs/cats....and my animal-crazy loving friend thinks *I* am a silly goose for being afraid of the dog. duh duh duh duh duh

 

But it's not just this specific dog. People keep saying pits were nanny dogs (as IF we should take parenting advice from the voctorians lol But I digress...) and they are really sweet hearts. Ok. Fine. But they are scary too! People afraid of them aren't just making it up. It's not a fear that fell out of the clear blue sky! There is sold, logical rational behind that fear.

 

A green mamba finds its way into my livingroom, I'm going to be wary! An unleashed pitbull or chow or whatever I don't know very VERY well: same.

 

That said, I personally think rule of law should go after irresponsible breeders about  a trillion times more harshly than it currently does. Aggression was bred in. It could be bred out or! used more constructively.

Edited by OKBud
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When I was a young person we lived on a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere and my father always had a dog that would make someone think twice about getting out of the car and stealing something when we weren't home. We had a Doberman, three pit bulls, and a Mountain Cur. None of those dogs ever harmed a person at any time, ever, even when the should have, lol. They were supposed to LOOK intimidating, not BE harmful. My grandparents always had German Shepherds for that reason. Again, none of their dogs ever hurt a person. I don't believe certain breeds are more dangerous than others, but I believe some breeds are not as smart as others and more prone to trouble. One of the pit bulls we had had been a fighting dog. My dad rescued him from a fighter. He was the sweetest ever once he was fed and loved and he actually was quite loving to baby animals of any sort. He once licked a baby bird to death, and he shared his box with kittens. HOWEVER, he never ever let go of something once he got ahold of it.

 

I would never advise someone to simply trust a pit bull. They are not that smart, even though they are loving and loyal, and I could see them hurting a child who sent mixed signals. Never happened to us, but I could see how it could happen. IMO the problem with pit bulls is that they are impossible to stop once they get going, so it is better to not risk starting.

 

Now I live in the middle of nowhere and an intimidating dog would be nice, we have the worlds most loving Golden ever and he simply is not a crime deterrent. But I would not have a pit bull even though I have had wonderful experiences with them.

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I have had a poodle, a cocker spaniel, and a beagle/german shep mix... All of them showed attitude at least on one occasion. The last two actually snapped at children (the cocker in her old age, and the beagle at my dd-we rehomed him-long story.)

 

Now I have a lab/pit mix (it's very obvious to others what she is-she has the pit bull face). Sweetest dog I have ever had in my LIFE. I never thought a dog could replace my spaniel.. and I do miss her still, but my pit mix is without a doubt the most loving, gentle and calm dog I have ever had. She has my heart. She is 75 pounds of pure scaredy cat. She was a rescue and I always tell my dh I feel so bad for her because I feel like she would die at the hands of some abuser than fight to stand up for herself. She was so pitiful when we first got her. Anyway.. that's 4 different breeds of dogs and the same owner. My pit mix is the dog I would trust the most out of all of them.

 

The whole pit bulls are bad thing really gets old. I've seen more aggressive small dogs than anything (Chihuahuas! lol) I get that IF A pit bull would attack yes, they would do more damage--but to say they will be more likely to attack? I don't buy it. 

 

(I'm specifically talking about the nature of the dog-not counting the impact a bad owner can have--that's a different story.) 

 

ETA: I am also not saying I blindly trust any pit bull. If I saw a stray walking down the road I would avoid it at all costs and make sure my kids know to do the same. However, I would do the same with ANY stray dog. One should always exercise caution around an unknown animal, regardless of breed.)

Edited by Mrs. Hound
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This is a very controversial issue. Many people who love these breeds will absolutely not acknowledge that some breeds are inherently more dangerous than others. Yes, all dogs might bite. But if I had to choose between my kid getting nipped by a chihuahua, or a rottweiler, sign me up for the chihuahua. I generally don't like breed bans, but higher insurance, and more accountability of some sort. I'm not sure what that would look like.

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Oh goodness.  This is such a loaded topic and one that I usually avoid.  I doubt there's a side to it that I haven't heard hashed out over and over and over again.  I think both sides can make some very good points.

 

When I was younger and less dog experienced and a lot more starry eyed I bought into the notion that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.  Time and experience changed my thinking on that.  There ARE bad dogs.  There are dogs who are born "off."  Thankfully those are few and far between, but they do exist and anyone who says otherwise simply (IMHO) hasn't had enough experience with dogs to realize that.

 

I used to defend pitbulls, saying it was (in general) the type of person who is attracted to them that was the problem.  Other breeds have certainly experienced the same thing -- a few decades ago it was Dobies that were the tough breed of choice, and then Rotties.

 

But truthfully . . . I really do think there is something inherently "off" in pitties.  Certainly not all of them.  Just like not all Golden Retrievers or Greyhounds will develop cancer.  But a large majority of them will.

 

That's an abbreviated response -- I could go on and on and may come back and add more thoughts later.  Or maybe not.  I've been a part of this same discussion on too many message boards too many times to think it will lead anywhere good or productive.

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No, I don't agree with the OP.  Some dogs are trained by idiots and criminals.  There are some individual dogs (like some individual people) who are born with mental problems, but not whole breeds.  Besides, a "pit bull" isn't even a breed, it includes many kinds of dogs that have no scary tendencies.

 

The last thing I would do is teach my kid to be afraid of dogs.  The dogs will pick up on this and behave in response to it.  It can cause problems that never would have happened if the human was not afraid.  I teach my kids safe things to do (or not do) when around dogs they don't know.

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Most of these "dangerous pit bulls" you read about in the news aren't pits at all. They're pit mixes or even just random mutts, because most people don't actually know how to distinguish a pit bull from any other dog.

 

And for my money, the most vicious dogs I've ever encountered have all, to a dog, been chihuahuas. Call me crazy, but I don't go near one of those unless I know for darn sure they're safe. They bite, and then they don't let go!

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Some have said that there is no such thing as one breed more dangerous than others and used the example of how some dogs will snap at others. I ask however will a miniature breed for example be almost unstoppable during an attack and keep coming back for more? Of course snapping is not to be tolerated at all but to me there is a big difference between a dog who snaps once and a pit bull who will not stop attacking for for almost nothing:(

 

Also, the statistic that pit bulls accounted for 62% of fatal attacks in the past 10 years and are only 6% of the dog population is also very compelling for me.

 

Lastly, many have talked about good owners who swear how good natured their dogs are which I am sure is true. However, there are several compelling stories of owners who thought the same thing and one day their pit bull snapped and attacked with horrific results.

 

As for children and dogs, I wholeheartedly agree that children should never be left alone with any pets especially in the case of infants.

 

 

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Most of these "dangerous pit bulls" you read about in the news aren't pits at all. They're pit mixes or even just random mutts, because most people don't actually know how to distinguish a pit bull from any other dog.

 

And for my money, the most vicious dogs I've ever encountered have all, to a dog, been chihuahuas. Call me crazy, but I don't go near one of those unless I know for darn sure they're safe. They bite, and then they don't let go!

This may be true but how often are chihuahuas involved in fatal or maiming attacks ? I cannot imagine any unless someone made the mistake of leaving an infant alone with one:(

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No, I don't agree with the OP. Some dogs are trained by idiots and criminals. There are some individual dogs (like some individual people) who are born with mental problems, but not whole breeds. Besides, a "pit bull" isn't even a breed, it includes many kinds of dogs that have no scary tendencies.

 

The last thing I would do is teach my kid to be afraid of dogs. The dogs will pick up on this and behave in response to it. It can cause problems that never would have happened if the human was not afraid. I teach my kids safe things to do (or not do) when around dogs they don't know.

Most people who refer to pit bulls mean American Pitbull Terriers. Which is certainly very much a breed.

Edited by Pawz4me
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I think any dog has an aggression potential, and that people REALLY need to work more towards educating themselves and their children on how to behave around animals.  I have seen WAY too many videos where parents think their kid is being all adorable when they climb all over their dog, or pull their ears, or get in their faces.  What is even more horrifying is watching the dog's body language and knowing that they not happy with the situation.  

 

I have a little JRT that we put up in another room when we have small children over.  I do not trust her around them.  She is small and adorable, and most parents seem to think that it is ok for their kids to treat her like a cuddly stuffed animal that doesn't mind being manhandled.  She isn't the cuddly type around kids and I'm not putting her in a place where she feels like she's being threatened.

 

I don't fully trust any dog.  I LOVE dogs.  I've always had them/been around them.  But I also realize that they do not reason like humans.  

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I think my lab mix was half pitbull.  She was an awesome dog.  I do think if someone attacked us, she would have attacked back, but otherwise she minded her business.  Now, our Border Collie is another story.  I have to put her away when we have people over.  Once the other dog died she became more aggressive with strangers, in particular men for some reason.  

 

My dh has many family members that are dairy farmers.  I'm terrified of their dogs.  Blue heelers are especially scary to me.  Working dogs just seem more serious. I respect them and give a wide berth. lol

 

 

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My dog was attacked at dog park by a retriever (or retriever mix).

 

My neighbors Dalmation attacked his nephew totally out of the blue (the dog was put down the next day).

 

I grew up around German shepherds (my favorite breed ever) and had a bichon frise that was way more vicious than any German shepherd I ever owned.

Edited by gingersmom
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lol, I got attacked walking back from the grocery store. Terrible behaviour that, walking home.

 

I assume someone will tell me how it was actually my fault because i did or didn't do X.

 

How about dog owners work towards educating themselves on how to keep their dogs under control ?

 

Nope, not your fault at all.  I didn't mean for my post to come across that way.  Absolutely people need to be responsible dog owners!  

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I feel about dogs the way I do about snakes. Some animals are too dangerous for me to keep in my house, given the age of my daughter and the other kids who are around regularly and my skill and experience level as a keeper (or, in thr case of the snakes, DD's level of skill and experience). I will not allow DD to keep a snake that she or I cannot handle unassisted, which means nothing over a ball python, corn snake or King snake in size, and nothing that is hot (venomous to the point that it can injure a human). At that size without venom, the snake cannot hurt a human beyond a bite that, for most species, can be described as "angry Velcro.

 

There is a place for large constrictors and venomous in captivity for education or research purposes, but not in my home. The risk is too high for my level of skill as a keeper. For some snakes, the risk is too high for them to be anywhere outside of a zoo or research facility (no one needs to keep a pet cobra!), and I do support some form of licensing and control for some species that have higher levels of risk involved.

 

The same is true with dogs and cats. I'm sure there is a place for rottweiliers and chows and pit bulls-but not in my house given my level of skill as a keeper. I've known awesome dogs of all three species, but it does require a little more knowledge and care, from assessing temperament as a puppy through ongoing training. And I don't think anyone needs to keep a pet tiger outside a zoo, no matter how much you like striped cats.

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My 55 lb std poodle was attacked by a pit and the only way he let go was someone fired a shot in the ground.  We will not have our dd around a pit after that.  Sorry, we are just not willing to take a chance.  She is somewhat fearful although not as bad as right after it happened of pits and she is pretty confidents with lots of other types of animals...dogs, horses, cats, lizards, frogs, etc.

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If pitbulls account for a high % of attacks, it is largely (possibly solely) because some people train a certain % of them to be vicious.  Unfortunately for pit bulls, they are the favorite breed for that disgusting human activity.  Obviously the statistics are skewed and tell nothing about a puppy who has not ever been trained by that kind of human.

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The "tiny dogs attack" line doesn't hold much water. True, ALL dog owners need to be conscientious and know their friggin' limits irt dog training/handling. But, for example, I recently got to witness a friend beat the snot out of a dog that attacked her dog, and turned  for her children, with a tree branch. The dog was a big mix and didn't bat an eye. She made enough ruckus though, that we all walked away unscathed including the dog. She had hit him with all her might!

 

One whack like that and a tiny dog would have had him spine broken in two no matter how vicious it was.

 

My point is that while yes, obviously, little dogs can and do bite, they are not terrifying. Quite rightly!

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If pitbulls account for a high % of attacks, it is largely (possibly solely) because some people train a certain % of them to be vicious.  Unfortunately for pit bulls, they are the favorite breed for that disgusting human activity.  Obviously the statistics are skewed and tell nothing about a puppy who has not ever been trained by that kind of human.

Yes but there reports of responsible dog owners who raised "sweet" pit bulls from puppyhood only to have them later attack out of the blue with horrific results:( The lady in the story I posted was simply carrying the toddler she was watching on her hip as she put her pit bulls in the dog run she had and was attacked viciously and the toddler killed:( There was no provoking of these dogs prior to the incident and she raised these dogs since they were puppies and they never once gave any indication of viciousness. This sort of story has been repeated all too often:( 

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The "tiny dogs attack" line doesn't hold much water. True, ALL dog owners need to be conscientious and know their friggin' limits irt dog training/handling. But, for example, I recently got to witness a friend beat the snot out of a dog that attacked her dog, and turned  for her children, with a tree branch. The dog was a big mix and didn't bat an eye. She made enough ruckus though, that we all walked away unscathed including the dog. She had hit him with all her might!

 

One whack like that and a tiny dog would have had him spine broken in two no matter how vicious it was.

 

My point is that while yes, obviously, little dogs can and do bite, they are not terrifying. Quite rightly!

Not only that I have seen videos of one pit bull terrifying and attacking a group of 6 or more adults who had great difficulty stopping the dog!

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I have no beef with pit bulls, per se. Or even pit bull owners really. There are a lot of homeless ppl where I live and many of them have very scary looking pit bulls. I always think that's a match made in heaven because who needs a good protector beast more than someone who has to sleep outside? These ppl are like "yes, this dog will mess you up," they aren't waving off your legitimate concerns telling  you Fritzy is a cuddle machine and will only lick your toddler to death har har har. They keep their dogs bodily attached to them at all times and the dogs seem super loyal and cared for.

 

It's the breeders who are doing //have done so much damage to specific breeds!

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Yes but there reports of responsible dog owners who raised "sweet" pit bulls from puppyhood only to have them later attack out of the blue with horrific results:( The lady in the story I posted was simply carrying the toddler she was watching on her hip as she put her pit bulls in the dog run she had and was attacked viciously and the toddler killed:( There was no provoking of these dogs prior to the incident and she raised these dogs since they were puppies and they never once gave any indication of viciousness. This sort of story has been repeated all too often:( 

 

Of many breeds of dogs.

 

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I'm not saying you need to go get a pit bull or even love them.  I just think it's a bad idea to teach your child to be afraid of them.  Just teach him how to respect all dogs and that should be enough.

 

We hear about "sweet pitbulls attacking" because it is sensational these days.  But some of the most popular kid breeds also attack fairly often.  IMO you can't make an objective decision based on "I keep hearing these horror stories in the media."

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I have known two (2) Dalmatians that were extremely aggressive. Where we lived before our next door neighbors had one and where we live now, our next door neighbors had one. A female. We have one of her puppies. The father was a Black dog and his daughter is Black like him. She's a fine dog.  I seriously suggest that nobody assumes that the only dogs that can be extremely dangerous are Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. Certainly not based on the Rottweiler we own and love. 

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Really, very few owners imagine their beloved pets harming others, but it happens. Even a small dog can do damage. Never trust someone who swears " it's fine, pull her tail or ears--she won't hurt a fly!" I'd not scare my child by telling them to never go near a certain breed( and I dislike pits) but rather teach them the proper way to approach an animal, the hows and whens.

Even a pet cat can maim a kid; it makes me nervous to see pics and videos of babies face to face with a kitten/cat.

My current dog seems likes she doesn't have a mean bone in her body. Sweet, no food aggression, or any hint of aggression. However, she is incredibly strong with really strong jaws. She's not been around young kids. She can carry a chipmunk in her mouth without hurting it, but will play pretty darn rough with her rubber pig toy. I'd never assume she will always be 100% harmless.

I don't support banning certain breeds, but I do support strong leash laws and a general culture of keeping dogs and young children separate. I have a friend who alway assured me that her lab mix was friendly, and then one day it bit a toddler's face while guarding food.

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Yes but there reports of responsible dog owners who raised "sweet" pit bulls from puppyhood only to have them later attack out of the blue with horrific results:( The lady in the story I posted was simply carrying the toddler she was watching on her hip as she put her pit bulls in the dog run she had and was attacked viciously and the toddler killed:( There was no provoking of these dogs prior to the incident and she raised these dogs since they were puppies and they never once gave any indication of viciousness. This sort of story has been repeated all too often:( 

 

 

That's what they owner SAYS, but I don't buy it. What are they going to say? "Hey, this dog was a menace and people warned me I should have put it down, but I didn't and now it killed my daughter. oops." No one is going to say that. 

 

There was a dog that was a patient at a clinic I worked at that was terrifying. It was aggressive, and had almost killed her other two dogs more than once. It scared the crap out of me, honestly. (it was a lab, by the way) We all told her she needed to have the dog put down. She refused to listen. She had a baby. We again told her the dog was too dangerous to have near a baby. She refused to listen. We told her what could happen, what the warning signs were, etc. She didn't listen. The dog attacked the baby and put it in the hospital with a skull fracture. 

 

She told everyone who would listen that there was "no warning" and it was "out of the blue."  I know this because my mother, not realizing I knew the woman, got her nails done by the owner and came home and told me the horror story of a sweet dog that one day "just turned" and attacked "without warning." I happened to know that the owner was a nail tech, and rightly guessed that it was the same client I had personally warned multiple times, and whom the veterinarian had BEGGED to have the dog put down. No warning my rear end! But that's what she told everyone. 

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I don't support banning certain breeds, but I do support strong leash laws and a general culture of keeping dogs and young children separate. I have a friend who alway assured me that her lab mix was friendly, and then one day it bit a toddler's face while guarding food.

 

See and this is the harm that the disney version of dog ownership has done. No toddler should be allowed near a dog while it is eating! Any dog could bite in that circumstance! People used to realize dogs were animals, and it was normal to tell kids to leave  dog alone if it had a bowl of food or a bone or whatever. Now, people think dogs are these fuzzy things that love them so much they'd never hurt them. 

 

That said, I work with my dogs to make sure they are NOT food aggressive, just in case, but I also don't let my kids near a dog that is eating. 

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But truthfully . . . I really do think there is something inherently "off" in pitties.  Certainly not all of them.  Just like not all Golden Retrievers or Greyhounds will develop cancer.  But a large majority of them will.

 

 

 

Yes, I think this is key.  Maybe pit bulls have been bred and trained to be violent, but then there must be something in them that makes them better at being violent, or else why would that breed be chosen in the first place?  Maybe they have a potential level of ferocity or stubbornness or single-mindedness that is unique among breeds.  I don't know.

 

I think other breeds have their quirks too.  I'm thinking of cattle dogs, which we unfortunately learned of in a very sad, scary way.  I had dogs all my life and never had an issue.  Our last dog was an Australian shepherd, which we got as a puppy.  One family owned and raised his mother and father, and this was their first litter.  I went to their farm and it was a very sweet family with lots of kids, and the parents of the litter seemed super friendly and gentle, even with strangers.  Our pup was the last one, and he was quite shy but was a real sweetie.  He bonded with our entire family quickly, all 9 of us (including a dil and sil).  After only two weeks though, a new person came into the mix, a friend, and as he knelt down to pet our sweet pup, our pup went absolutely berserk.  He went into a mad snarling frenzy.  It really shook me up to see such a young pup like that.  But, I figured I had met his parents, they were good with strangers, I needed to give him a chance.  I immediately enrolled him in obedient school, which we went to twice/week, meeting lots of other dogs and people.  I handed out treats to our neighbors and kids' friends and even our mailman, so that he would get to like strangers.  And, I was extremely careful.  I never let him out of my site as I cautiously brought him into new situations, and always on a leash.  Often when we were in a new situation and among other people though, I could see a strange look in his eyes.  It seemed fearful and unsettling.  I exercised him a lot, and worked very hard at obedience.  Even in the home, I never opened our door to anyone until I knew 100% that he was constrained.  We did have two other potential violent/frenzy episodes, but he was on a leash and I had control over him.  I had a trained dog handler and a veterinarian helping me work with him too.  He was always extremely comfortable, sweet, and fun when he was home with all of us, and seemed to be more confident over time.  We all felt we were making headway with him, though I was still leary.

 

One day, a friend of ours walked into our house unannounced, which never happened before.  He had just let himself in and was walking into our front hall.  Our dog (about a year old) trotted down the hall thinking it was one of the kids.  In an instant, I heard a strange ferocious sound.  I ran into the front room as he was attacking the friend.  He had hurled himself at the friend so fast, I could do absolutely nothing to prevent it.  He immediately grabbed onto the friend's thigh in a deep bite.  He seemed out of his mind.  Both my dd and I threw ourselves at him and were able to stop him and pull him away.  Our dog did allow us to do that, and I led him out of the room.  In that instant, the friend's pants were ripped and his leg was bloody.  I'm not sure what our dog would have done if we hadn't come in right away.

 

I was really terrified.  We ended up talking to some cattle dog experts who explained that cattle dogs innately react instantly.  They'll throw themselves into a situation without sizing it up first.  It is because of this and their intelligence that they were bred to be cattle dogs.  That's what makes them so good at the job.  Usually they are a confident dog too, so all goes well.  But they also explained that among the dominant cattle dog genes is a line of recessive genes that pops up from time to time.  It is a gene that simply makes them, well, very shy.  So you can have a mom and dad and entire litter of friendly, confident Aussies, except for one pup in the letter who ends up with these recessive genes and is extraordinarily shy.  The mix of this extreme shyness + their innate tendency to react instantly without thinking is what makes this particular combination violent.  

 

When we got back in touch with the breeder, they did tell us that the others in the litter had all been adopted before him because he was always too shy to make an appearance.  When his siblings were outside with the strangers playing, he would hide behind a pickup truck.  Of course even they didn't understand what that meant in an Aussie.

 

Anyway, it helped me understand a lot more how so many things come into play with a dog.  We did end up putting our Aussie to sleep.  One of the most difficult things I ever did.   :(

Edited by J-rap
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Yes, I think this is key.  Maybe pit bulls have been bred and trained to be violent, but then there must be something in them that makes them better at being violent, or else why would that breed be chosen in the first place?  Maybe they have a potential level of ferocity or stubbornness or single-mindedness that is unique among breeds.  I don't know.

 

 

 

A big part of it is that they are very pain tolerant. That's what makes them able to keep fighting rather than run away hurting. It is also what makes them less likely to bite if a vet is giving them a shot or a kid accidentally trips over them. But...it's why it is so hard to break them up in a fight...they don't register the pain and stop if you say, smack them with a branch or whatever. 

 

But the pit bulls were originally very good with humans, just not other dogs. During dog fights there were humans in the ring during the fight, and the dog had to NOT bite the humans, even in the midst of battle. Also, it was common practice for the opposing people/owners to wash each other's dogs to make sure there were no toxic substances on the dogs during the fight. So they had to be well behaved around strange people enough to have strangers bathe them. They were very carefully bred for not being aggressive to people. 

 

However, that's not what we have now. We have a segment of society that wants a "tough" dog, one that will attack randomly, one that will guard their junk yard or used car lot or drug house. They are breeding those dogs now, and so yes in areas with lots of pits you get goes that may have been selectively bred to be aggressive to people. Notice it isn't a show dog from good lines that you hear about attacking, its the ones that come from who knows where, possibly tracing back to drug dealers and gang members who are breeding for "toughness" and aggression. 

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A big part of it is that they are very pain tolerant. That's what makes them able to keep fighting rather than run away hurting. It is also what makes them less likely to bite if a vet is giving them a shot or a kid accidentally trips over them. But...it's why it is so hard to break them up in a fight...they don't register the pain and stop if you say, smack them with a branch or whatever. 

 

 

 

Interesting!

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I'm not saying you need to go get a pit bull or even love them.  I just think it's a bad idea to teach your child to be afraid of them.  Just teach him how to respect all dogs and that should be enough.

 

We hear about "sweet pitbulls attacking" because it is sensational these days.  But some of the most popular kid breeds also attack fairly often.  IMO you can't make an objective decision based on "I keep hearing these horror stories in the media."

I think the stats of pit bulls and rotweillers being responsible for over 70% of fatal attacks over the past 10 years is pretty convincing to me that it is not all dogs. I don't teach him to be afraid. I teach him to stay away.

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I don't agree with breed specific legislation. I think there are some bad people breeding aggressive pits, but if you took away their pitfalls they would go back to dobermans or Rotties or another breed. They'll just switch breeds, not stop breeding bad dogs in bad circumstances. 

 

Oh, and I think dog fighters should be locked up for life, and am very much in favor of laws that prohibit chaining a dog all day, etc as that is how you end up with these bad situations most of the time. 

 

 

 

I agree with the fallacy of branding certain breeds. We have never had pits but we have only ever had large dogs, Rottweiler, Lab / Rottie Mix and more recently Mastiffs and now a Boxer. We did  (for a short time) house MIl's Jack Russell who was by far the most aggressive dog we ever had but, again, I blame the owner.  :)  All our dogs have been gentle giants. They took their cues from us and we knew enough to separate and confine the dog if an anxious visitor was coming.

 

While I agree that dog fighting and the breeding for aggressive traits should be punished in the most severe way possible, I am not sure I like across the board legislation regarding chaining a dog. We have never had to chain a dog other than getting a newly rescued dog used to the perimeters of where s/he was allowed by clipping an outside cable on them that confined them to the deck while we were on the deck. Since there is orchard acreage around us, we have no fence around the property.

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See and this is the harm that the disney version of dog ownership has done. No toddler should be allowed near a dog while it is eating! Any dog could bite in that circumstance! People used to realize dogs were animals, and it was normal to tell kids to leave  dog alone if it had a bowl of food or a bone or whatever. Now, people think dogs are these fuzzy things that love them so much they'd never hurt them. 

 

That said, I work with my dogs to make sure they are NOT food aggressive, just in case, but I also don't let my kids near a dog that is eating. 

 

I don't think telling a toddler to leave a dog alone is particularly effective, based on my experience of toddlers, which is why I'm a big fan of keeping them separated. Just as a dog could bite when they have food, any young toddler could hit just because the dog got in its space (not defending - just saying it's normal toddler behavior), walk by the dog while it has food (like the toddler I know who got bit), etc... and I think it's just too harsh of a consequence for small children to get bit by a dog for that. 

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I have known two (2) Dalmatians that were extremely aggressive. Where we lived before our next door neighbors had one and where we live now, our next door neighbors had one. A female. We have one of her puppies. The father was a Black dog and his daughter is Black like him. She's a fine dog.  I seriously suggest that nobody assumes that the only dogs that can be extremely dangerous are Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. Certainly not based on the Rottweiler we own and love. 

I totally agree. I am just pointing out that the majority of fatal attacks are caused by 2 breeds. I also understand that many have good experiences with these breeds. I am just saying I choose to stay away from such dogs. I will also support any efforts to ban such dogs in the condo where I live and strict lease laws and so forth.

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When I was a young person we lived on a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere and my father always had a dog that would make someone think twice about getting out of the car and stealing something when we weren't home. We had a Doberman, three pit bulls, and a Mountain Cur. None of those dogs ever harmed a person at any time, ever, even when the should have, lol. They were supposed to LOOK intimidating, not BE harmful. My grandparents always had German Shepherds for that reason. Again, none of their dogs ever hurt a person. I don't believe certain breeds are more dangerous than others, but I believe some breeds are not as smart as others and more prone to trouble. One of the pit bulls we had had been a fighting dog. My dad rescued him from a fighter. He was the sweetest ever once he was fed and loved and he actually was quite loving to baby animals of any sort. He once licked a baby bird to death, and he shared his box with kittens. HOWEVER, he never ever let go of something once he got ahold of it.

 

 

I have to say that I owned mastiffs because of their loyalty and intelligence but also did not mind at all that some people were taking a huge step backwards when they just saw the face. We lived on acreage and when service people came, I was usually alone at home. Mastiffs have a bit of a poker face but I think - unlike Akitas - if you know dogs at all, you can read them. Our mastiffs always sensed situations and never took an aggressive step.

 

My female mastiff sat for an hour between me (I was working in the kitchen) and the man who was cleaning out our flue. I asked him if he was okay. He joked and said: "As long as she just sits there." She just sat but watched carefully. Had I displayed fear or discomfort at any time, she would have stood up and puffed her chest out. As soon as he was done and drove out the driveway, she flopped to the ground as if she had just performed a strenuous exercise.

I felt protected by an intelligent dog. Not by a loose cannon.

 

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While I agree that dog fighting and the breeding for aggressive traits should be punished in the most severe way possible, I am not sure I like across the board legislation regarding chaining a dog. We have never had to chain a dog other than getting a newly rescued dog used to the perimeters of where s/he was allowed by clipping an outside cable on them that confined them to the deck while we were on the deck. Since there is orchard acreage around us, we have no fence around the property.

 

The legislation I've seen limited how many hours the dog could be left chained, alone. The scenario you are describing wouldn't have counted. It was about not having a dog chained in a back yard all day every day. 

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I don't think telling a toddler to leave a dog alone is particularly effective, based on my experience of toddlers, which is why I'm a big fan of keeping them separated. Just as a dog could bite when they have food, any young toddler could hit just because the dog got in its space (not defending - just saying it's normal toddler behavior), walk by the dog while it has food (like the toddler I know who got bit), etc... and I think it's just too harsh of a consequence for small children to get bit by a dog for that. 

 

Oh, I didn't mean that the toddler deserved it! Just that they should be kept separate, like you are saying. When we got my border collie (who has brain damage) we didn't know how he was with food so we fed him in his crate to be sure the toddler couldn't bug him while he ate. The other dog eats so fast that I just supervise...it's over in seconds, lol. It's my job as parent not to let the toddle mess with the dog, as well as instruct the kids. 

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I believe that behavior and breeding go strongly together.  It's not absolute, but it's definitely strongly connected.  I've seen this with my own dog (A Great Pyrenees).  She is docile with young people, wary with grown strangers, indifferent to most dogs....except dogs that look "wolfish" (huskies, akitas).  Those dogs set off her guard dog breeding and she will do her best to get out the door to kill them. She's never actually gotten out to get one, but I always have to crate her out of view of the outdoors.  This dog has never been trained to guard anything.  She's a family pet.  But her guarding genetics are strong (if I have repairmen over, she doesn't aggress them, but she sits nearby and never takes her eyes off of them).

 

I have seen too many cases with pitbulls to believe they are anything other than a bad breed. Are some of them good dogs?  Sure.  But I don't care.  A breed that bites this often, without provocation, is a bad breed.  Too many of them turning on not just strangers, but members of their own family.  Too many times hearing, "the attack came out of the blue".  It's a bad breed.  It needs to go.  There are plenty of good dog breeds in the world, and good mutts.  We don't need this problem breed.

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That's what they owner SAYS, but I don't buy it. What are they going to say? "Hey, this dog was a menace and people warned me I should have put it down, but I didn't and now it killed my daughter. oops." No one is going to say that. 

 

There was a dog that was a patient at a clinic I worked at that was terrifying. It was aggressive, and had almost killed her other two dogs more than once. It scared the crap out of me, honestly. (it was a lab, by the way) We all told her she needed to have the dog put down. She refused to listen. She had a baby. We again told her the dog was too dangerous to have near a baby. She refused to listen. We told her what could happen, what the warning signs were, etc. She didn't listen. The dog attacked the baby and put it in the hospital with a skull fracture. 

 

She told everyone who would listen that there was "no warning" and it was "out of the blue."  I know this because my mother, not realizing I knew the woman, got her nails done by the owner and came home and told me the horror story of a sweet dog that one day "just turned" and attacked "without warning." I happened to know that the owner was a nail tech, and rightly guessed that it was the same client I had personally warned multiple times, and whom the veterinarian had BEGGED to have the dog put down. No warning my rear end! But that's what she told everyone. 

 

And yet, dog owners expect people to just believe them when they say THEY are one of the responsible ones, that their little Fido wouldn't harm a flea.

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 Nobody has suggested that Lanny.

 

They are, however, involved in the majority of fatal dog attacks in the US>

 

They are.  And if one attacks, most people don't have any fat chance in hell defending themselves.  Attacks have happened a few times here.  These were people just walking down the street minding their own business.

 

But it is true that really no dog can be trusted to never attack.  My father had half his face torn off when he was 3 from a family dog.  He had done nothing to the dog. 

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And yet, dog owners expect people to just believe them when they say THEY are one of the responsible ones, that their little Fido wouldn't harm a flea.

 

Yeah, I never believe people when they say this, because they ALL say this. Even the man who's dog leapt up and bit my pregnant belly right as I walked in the exam room, hanging on to it. "Oh, she's not really mean." I don't care what you call it, I'm not going in there until that dog is restrained! 

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lol, I got attacked walking back from the grocery store. Terrible behaviour that, walking home.

 

I assume someone will tell me how it was actually my fault because i did or didn't do X.

 

How about dog owners work towards educating themselves on how to keep their dogs under control ?

A 5 year old I know was attacked by a rottie who jumped the fence into her yard. She needed several surgeries and hundreds of stitches, and is probably only alive because the dog's owner heard the screams and got to her quickly.

 

When I told this story to a coworker of mine, they told me that her parents really should have taught her no to scream around dogs.

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