on "temperament"

May 07 2012 Published by under #FWDAOTI

no seriously....go to the Wikipedia on "dog fighting breeds". Start picking dogs and page down to the "Temperament" link for them all.

"strong character". "suspicious of strangers". "suited for very experience dog owners". "take a socially dominant role with other dogs". "If poorly socialized or trained, it can become especially territorial and aggressive."

Have you ever seen such a bunch of denialist, dog-bothering crapola? So many ways to try to avoid saying "Gee, d'ya think maybe breeds bred for fighting each other, for guarding medieval potentates, for 'protection', for 'bull-baiting' (wtf), for taking out wolves that are attacking sheep flocks, for catching slaves*...MIGHT BE FUCKING DANGEROUS???!!??? What are you, stupid?"

At least this one is honest:

renowned for sneaking up on intruders as opposed to first alerting them of its presence...this guardian breed needs extensive proper socialization to learn to accept strangers, especially within the home; without proper early socialization and training, these dogs are likely to become aggressive towards strangers and unfamiliar dogs. Like with other breeds, forceful training methods, "alpha roles", and a general "dominance" mentality will not work with these dogs, especially since it is difficult to try to physically dominate a dog that is nearly as large as an adult human;

of course, the inevitable BS apologetics:

one should prevent problems before they happen by using positive training methods, beginning socializing early, and continuing socialization throughout life.

so, when it DOES bite someone's hand off, well, that was just a failure of "continuing socialization throughout life" you know. Ooopsies, bad owner.

*ok, that one's extinct thank goodness!

18 responses so far

  • Geeka says:

    There was recently a story of a 3-day old being killed by a husky in my city. Sounds really bad, until you find out that the owners just adopted the dog days before, and it was likely never around children before. I'm not trying to lessen the loss of a child, but who does that? I not sure that it's the fault of the dog at this point, it's all confused in a new situation, doesn't know the rules, and you leave it close to something that's like a squeaky toy?

    I had a very pretty dog for a while, who was the largest dog that parents would allow their kids to pet. There were rules that I had: the kid had to ask their parent permission to pet her, and my dog had to be sitting and be at attention. In fact, once I was so commanding with getting my dog to sit, both my dog *and the child* immediately sat on the sidewalk. I would always reply that all dogs bite when I was asked.

    Dogs are dangerous animals, and they can be worse when they are maltreated, purposely trained to fight, and in unknown situations. However, saying a particular breed is worse that another is sort of like an ethnic joke. I'm Polish and a phd: there are always exceptions.

  • skeptifem says:

    The stink of cesar millan's ideas is fucking everywhere these days. He works so much like a cold reader it is unbelievable. There is virtually no criticism of him from skeptics (outside of the article I wrote awhile back), despite petitions from behaviorists asking that he be taken off the air for spreading irresponsible bs about animal training.

    Anyway, if you *really* want a show, register for pit bull message boards and read them. All the shit that has flooded into your website from pit owners and advocates looks very different from what owners say to each other in their own communities.

    Threads on discipline or aggression problems are really eye opening. Half parrot crap from cesar millan (about being an "alpha") and insist they can control their dogs all the time because of that. The other half says "never trust a fighting dog not to fight", and usually have some pretty gruesome stories about how that lesson was learned. One lady had all these iron gates welded into her house to keep all her pits from killing each other, it looked like a creepy prison for little people.

    In the rare event that a mauling is discussed everyone blames the victims or talks about how to help out the dog that attacked.

    Without fail, the focus is on making sure the dogs look good.

    My favorite example of this is a couple that got attacked by their pet pit bull, and blamed it on wild animals to deflect blame away from their dog/the breed.

    http://blog.dogsbite.org/2009/03/couple-blames-cougar-for-attack.html

    It is hard for me to conclude that normal people would feel comfortable returning home to an animal that attacked two adults if there were not so many myths flying around about how dangerous animals can be rehabilitated. Can you imagine returning from the hospital, the dog still caked with your blood? Jeez. It seems like people who say all this bs about how their dogs are harmless cannot readily deal with reality if they are unlucky enough to get a dog that attacks them.

    OH YES, and please google "nanny dog", look for pictures of people putting their babies next to pit bulls to prove how safe the dogs are. When people argue that dogs are blank slates, that any behavior can be trained out of them, putting your baby next to a fighting dog is no longer dangerous.

    Thanks so much for making more than one post about this issue. No one is talking about it and they should be. I've emailed "whats the harm?" and everything- no one seems to give a damn that pits kill someone about every three weeks on average in the US. All of these deaths are preventable, all of the horribly painful.

  • skeptifem says:

    "There was recently a story of a 3-day old being killed by a husky in my city. Sounds really bad, until you find out that the owners just adopted the dog days before, and it was likely never around children before. I'm not trying to lessen the loss of a child, but who does that? I not sure that it's the fault of the dog at this point, it's all confused in a new situation, doesn't know the rules, and you leave it close to something that's like a squeaky toy? "

    And in serious attacks that do NOT involve a fighting dog it usually is children, disabled people, or the elderly who are killed/seriously injured. I would so appreciate some kind of PSA about never leaving infants or young children with dogs, especially in light of the pit bull community's habit of doing so that I noted above. Maybe they should give out a pamphlet to people when they adopt a dog about this kind of behavior?

    Pit bulls seem to take out adults as often as children, something that speaks to the increased level of danger involved in an attack from a fighting breed.

    http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-study-dog-attacks-and-maimings-merritt-clifton.php

    There are a lot of videos of attacks online (they are hard to watch obviously), but they are educational in that they demonstrate just how difficult it is to stop a fighting dog from attacking. It often takes a gun or a mob of adults to dislodge one.

  • Lady Day says:

    Just read about this pit bull attack, today: http://midtown.patch.com/blog_posts/upon-being-returned-stolen-pitbull-attacks-little-girl-with-kisses-e39e95b9

    Absolutely frightening! I suspect that you may be on to something, DM!

  • Isabel says:

    One of the dogs that bit me was bred to hunt lions in South Africa, but was living with a psychotherapist in a city apartment. The owner was upset that I insisted on going to the ER because her dog now has a record, and she kept dragging her feet about replacing my torn jacket-I finally had it repaired and she grudgingly paid the bill. Never apologized.

  • Beaker says:

    @Lady Day:

    Q: How come pit bull owners say, "My dog might lick you to death."
    To understand the experience of owning a negatively perceived dog, Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy did a study on pit bull owners. Researchers found that owners of out-law dog breeds directly feel the stigma targeted at their breed and resort to various tactics to lessen it. One of the tactics included attempts to counterbalance the pit bull's menacing appearance and physical power with overwhelming "affectionate" behavior, such as: "My dog might lick you to death."15

    http://www.dogsbite.org/dangerous-dogs-pit-bull-faq.php#tuftsstudy

  • Lady Day says:

    @Beaker: interesting study. It saysn nothing about the dogs' actual behavior, though.

    One consistency I have noticed is that my pet pit bull appears to attract meatheads and children, when we walk in the park. Not sure if that's something that could be used for advertising the dogs, except among the single lady demographic.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Absolutely frightening! I suspect that you may be on to something, DM!

    yep, I am.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_20569153/pit-bull-attacks-2-year-old-concord

    you aren't going to win this game, Lady Day.....

  • drugmonkey says:

    Beaker-

    Just about every regular dog owner in the world says "s/he's friendly" (I can't speak to the meathead demographic).

  • Beaker says:

    The study says something about the actual behavior of pit bull owners, such as the one who posted the "pit bull attacks little girl with kisses" video anectdote.

  • spit says:

    I am genuinely not sure what point you think this "proves."

    Wikipedia?

    You do realize that people swap "breed temperament" stories all over the place from absolutely jack shit in terms of knowledge, no? Like, I could find you a million people who think a waggy dog is happy and won't bite your arm off?*

    *Hint: not true

    The only true thing in this whole thread is that cesar milan is an asshole. Well, I suppose it's also true that way too many people think their dog is friendly -- no matter what the breed -- when they've given it zero training and see nothing wrong with it assertively running up and jumping on strangers and looking them square in the eye, or yipping annoyingly every time somebody walks by. Then they wonder why the dog gets grumpy with some kid. But that's about people being stupid, not dogs being bad.

    Whether you want to be bothered to think about it or not, it is actually _true_ that most temperamental tendencies in breeds can be worked with via strong and thoughtful behavioral work, especially beginning early. They aren't programmed like friggin' machines, they have tendencies to work with -- say, border collies tend to be sensitive and reactive, chihuahuas tend to be protective and assertive, pits tend to be determined and hard to redirect once they set course. None of these are good or bad, but they have meaning and define a training approach. And their experiences and training will tend to shift these basic traits into fine or not fine behaviors.

    I have _two_ extremely challenging rescues -- one with a serious medical condition that makes her extra grumpy. They could be dangerous, in the wrong situations. No, children may not pet them. No, strangers should not think they'll be fine just because they look waggy from a distance. It's on me to keep them safe and to keep others safe from them, and I do. I know that just because they are balls of snuggly love and bouncy joy with me does not make them safe. Dog owners do need to be realistic about dog behavior. It certainly doesn't help that so many dog owners know jack shit about dog behavior.

    But you really don't, either, and just pointing at wikipedia like it's some kind of proof of your point just makes it way funnier.

  • queenrandom says:

    "It's on me to keep them safe and to keep others safe from them, and I do. I know that just because they are balls of snuggly love and bouncy joy with me does not make them safe. Dog owners do need to be realistic about dog behavior. It certainly doesn't help that so many dog owners know jack shit about dog behavior."

    Yeah, as an owner of a german shepherd mix - a breed that's outlawed in several areas - I gotta agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment. I know that my training and control could mean life or death for my dog, as much of a baby he is. We worked hard with him from the moment he came home, and that's my responsibility as a dog owner. I don't care what breed you have - it's always on the owner. From a genetic perspective, some breeds are more prone to behaviors that could lead to attacking including aggression (chow chows, bully breeds), mental illness leading to aggression (St Bernard, dalmation), strong will (huskies), overprotection (rotties, dobies, german shepherds), or committed attacks/"locking jaws" (a misnomer but still) (cairn terriers/other ratters, pitts/staffordshires). From a legal perspective, I don't give a flying fuck what breed your dog is - if it attacks, you, the owner, are responsible. You need to know what you're getting into with any breed and individual dog you adopt, because any dog has the potential to turn into a dangerous dog, and if you get a "docile" breed you're fucking kidding yourself. For example, dachshunds and chiuahuas are actually the most aggressive breeds: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/2254479/Sausage-dogs-are-the-most-aggressive-dogs.html. Are their bites as bad? Probably not. But they do so more often.

  • drugmonkey says:

    I know that my training and control could mean life or death for my dog,

    and, you know, some kid. no biggie on that one though, amirite?

    I don't give a flying fuck what breed your dog is - if it attacks, you, the owner, are responsible.

    what does "responsible" mean? cash settlement and so sorry about your face or lost granma?

    Look, I appreciate you being willing to at least admit the truth and to take the steps of apparent responsibility. but c'mon. what does all this mean in the context of some other innocent person being put at risk for your behavior*? you cool with that? or do you simply feel that by being such a responsible owner, you can stone cold guarantee nothing bad is going to happen to anyone else due to your dog?

    *I, for one, acknowledge this for my automobile driving behavior for example. it isn't that hard to acknowledge this thing that we all do.....

  • queenrandom says:

    Responsible? Whatever the law says it means, same as if I hit someone with my car. I don't have all the answers to that, I'm not a lawyer. Something in line with negligence leading to similar injury. By responsible I mean legally liable. It seems that some states are only willing to do that with certain breeds (like pitts) and not others, in a way that's not necessarily correlated with the rate of breed attacks (although correlated with volume), which seems hella shortsighted to me.

    And no, I'm not a fucking idiot (thanks for flippantly assuming so), so I don't think I can guarantee nothing bad* is ever going to happen to someone due to my dog, just like I can never guarantee nothing bad is going to happen to someone due to my driving. I never implied otherwise, tyvm. But by putting in the training, effort and work, I can reduce risk a lot (hey, just like driving, useful analogy). What I am saying is there's no guarantee any dog isn't going to hurt someone, and if you decide to own a dog, you need to know that, train your animal, neuter it, and reduce risk. If you can't do that, you should be legally liable for whatever happens as a result of your dog ownership, regardless of breed of the dog. Owning a dog, like owning a car, is assuming risk and liability.

    I know there are a lot of people who fall into one camp (aggressive dogs bad kill them all!) or the other (dogs don't hurt people, people hurt people!) but I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, some dogs (and some breeds - although not always the one's you'd think) are more prone to aggression. But people choose to adopt them and people choose to put them in situations where they come in contact with other people or animals (i.e. situations with the potential for injury), therefore people are liable.

    *though if we're comparing dogs to cars, statistically speaking other people's driving(or other people in general - I'd take my chances with a random dog than a random human) is way the hell more harmful, more often, and at a higher rate, than dogs.

  • drugmonkey says:

    The thing is, queenrandom, unlike the automobile, there's no purpose for the vast majority of dog ownership. Save unadulterated personal preference. Even if we credit the most obvious benefits of a dog, we're still left with the question- why is the pitbull (or handful of other most dangerous breeds) necessary? What marginal good does it offer above, say, a lab or beagle*?

    *Snoopy. QED, amirite?!!??!

  • Vicki says:

    The question isn't just what the law currently says: that might mean you're saying you won't fight a $100 ticket for having your dog off-leash in the park. queenrandom, if the dog whose actions you agree you are responsible for attacks and harms someone, to what degree should you be held responsible? Misdemeanor or felony assault and battery charges? Or do you mean you'll pay the person's medical bills and cover their lost income?

    If a dog kills someone, should the owner go to prison for negligent homicide?

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