OT bad experience today

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My neighbor has a 1 1/2 pound chihuahua that is mean as a snake around larger dogs and has a heart the size of a mountain. It is very gentle around kids too. He trained it to be mean around his other dog which is a pitbull, female and very tame. The chihuahua is the alpha dog and the pitbull the subordinate. It is quite funny to watch them sometimes.
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Doug Miller wrote:

Not nearly as much more difficult as you think. I have friends with goldies too and I know they're also eager to please their owners.

Why? They're both dogs and they both have the same sets of instincts. Do you know what is involved in attack dog training and how it is done? It simply involves reinforcing the instincts in any dog. (And yes, I have worked as a dog handler -- not a trainer! -- for a company that had both guard and attack dogs.) In principle it's no different than teaching a dog to chase a stick -- which is what it looks like in the early stages.
Training an attack dog not a matter of finding a dog with some special 'killer instinct' waiting to be unleashed. It is simply a matter of conditioning the dog to apply its natural behavior in a particular way in a particular situation. And in fact In fact one of the reasons some breeds are preferred for attack dog training has nothing to do with an aggressive temperament. Quite the opposite. For attack training you want a dog which is extremely stable temperamentally.
Now if by 'attack dog' you simply mean making a dog vicious, that's also the same for any breed. Fundamentally you drive the dog crazy by mistreatment until it is deathly afraid of people and it takes out that fear as aggression. You may or may not let the dog bond to you, but you end up with a very mentally ill animal.
--RC

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Rick is obviously quite emotionally incensed by this discussion. Well, that's fine. It doesn't follow from one's being emotionally involved that one's mistaken, although clearly one should be careful. He claims that pit bulls, as a group, aren't more dangerous or aggressive than other dogs.
Notice that this is a different question than whether or not other breeds of dogs can be trained to be aggressive. Of course they can. Other breeds can also have individuals that are naturally aggressive, either towards other dogs or whatever.
That fact is that statistical studies have been run that correlate aggression and damage inflicted by various dog breeds. I don't have them at hand, and I don't remember where the pit bull ranked. Nonetheless, the studies clearly proved that some breeds are more dangerous than others, and the fact that one might know a number of examples of non-aggressive dogs of a more aggressive prone breed does nothing to undermine the statistics. If I remember correctly, german shepherds were the breed most likely to bite a person. Someone will no doubt respond, "But I've known tons of g. shepherds and they've all been goofy little pudd'n pops! They wouldn't bite anyone!" That doesn't change the statistics, or the fact that breeds vary in there general aggressiveness.
The fact is that dog breeds very quite considerably in their behavior. I would not take a full grown intact male Great Pyrenees to a dog park, and it doesn't matter how well socialized the dog was. These dogs, which are great dogs by the way, were bred to see other large animals as a threat to the flocks of sheep that the great pyrs guarded. As such, they tend to be very aggressive towards other dogs, and they will not back down, as they were bred and trained to defend their flocks with their lives. This tendency towards aggression is recognized in the breed standard, and a person ignores this genetic predisposition at their peril, or, more correctly, at the peril of other people's dogs.
Let's stay with Pyrs. All of the major Pyr sites, books and breeders will tell you not to walk your Pyr off-leash. Why? Because they were bred to be independent and to roam with their flock of sheep. This required patrolling a very large territory. As a result, when given the chance, they often take off. There are are even stories of obedience champions who get loose, and despite their very good training they nonetheless take off. How many people do you think have lost a dog because they thought that _their_ dog wouldn't do that, and hadn't taken off the prior times when they were let loose? Training, even very conscientious training, does not guarantee the extinction of a genetic behavioral predisposition.
Let's get back to the American Pit Bull Terrier. They were bred to hurt and kill other dogs. While it's true that their jaws don't "lock", consider this from the American Pit Bull Terrier Faq:
"Those of you who frequent dog shows for the APBT will no doubt eventually be witness to dogs getting loose and starting a fight. So, what happens when they are serious? Well, each dog will bite the other, take hold and start to shake its head punishingly. It is so serious that in most cases nothing you do will cause the dog/bitch to give up that precious hold! Nothing! Choking, shocking, etc...It just doesn't matter!"
This is different behavior than a large number of other dogs. These dogs were bred to be killers, just like other dogs were bred to be retrievers, herders, working dogs, or companion animals. Each of these classes has dogs with unique behavioral instincts. Why then would the pit bull be any different? There's no reason to think so. Does this mean that they aren't good dogs? No! But it does mean that special care need to be taken with them, just as it does with a number of other breeds of dogs, such as mastiffs, rottweilers...
So you're upset by people being wary of pit bulls? Get over it! My dog, a Leonberger, was bred to be a companion dog, which is the reason that the breed was created. Nonetheless, he's a very big dog, roughly the size of a great dane. He's goofy and lives for playing with people and other dogs. Nonetheless, he often scares people. Take the UPS guy. He won't come into are yard. Now I could get all pissed off about how Murphy is being ignorantly maligned, but then I realize that he's a very big dog who could be very dangerous if he wanted to be, and I recall all of the idiot's I've met who've had dogs. Example, I once pulled a husky off of another dog. Luckily, there was only a little blood. The owner of the husky said, "I don't know why, but every time I come to the dog park Klondike picks out one other dog to attack."... A person should be wary of an unknown large dog, especially one that might have aggressive predispositions, and that certainly applies to pit bulls.
By the way, the angrier pit bull fanciers get,the more dismissive they become of the worries of others, and the more they brush off the dangers of the breede, the more likely it will be that ownership of the dogs will be restricted.
-Peter De Smidt
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Number one in deaths, Rottweiler number two, other large dogs dominating mist of the list. Surpisingly, a Yorkie gets a mention! Less than 1% involved a leashed dog off the owners property.
www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/dogbreeds.pdf
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Lobby Dosser wrote:

But dog deaths are related to size and strength, not to number of attacks. --RC
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Well of course they are. But the Pit Bull is #1.
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Lobby Dosser wrote:

Which demonstrates that a Pit Bull is a strong, fast dog. However it says nothing about the breed's aggressiveness, which is the point at issue.
Remember my analogy to a powerful shaper.
--RC
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Peter De Smidt wrote:

Actually the studies prove exactly the opposite. The number of dog bite incidents correlates (as best we can determine) with the relatively popularity of the breeds. The more popular the breed in a particular area, the more likely they are to bite someone. There's no correlation with 'aggressive' breeds.
Note that this was exactly the question before the Alabama supreme court in the only (AFIK) 'dangerous breeds' case to go up on appeal. After studying the evidence the court came to the conclusion that there is no proof that any breeds are inherently dangerous.
Dog bite fatalities show a different picture. There's a direct correlation between the size and strength of the breed and its involvement in fatalities. That's why pit bulls, rottweilers and such figure high on that list. But St. Bernards and most other large breeds of dogs are high on the list as well.

Except the statistics don't support the idea of 'aggressive breeds' in that sense.

There was a time when German Shepherds were one of the most popular breeds in the US. More German Shepherds, more bites by German Shepherds. That simple.

My acquaintances with Pyrs are only casual (and favorable), but I would be willing to bet that with proper training you could take a full male to the dog park with no worry that he would attack another dog. What you can't be sure of -- for any breed -- is whether any of the other dogs there would attack the Pyr.

Most responsible sources will tell you never to talk _any_ medium to large size breed off a leash.

I'm told this is common at dog shows with all kinds of breeds.

That's certainly true. As I say, a pit bull can do a lot of damage.

No. Killers don't win dog fights. Dogs with game, stamina, strength, endurance and speed win dog fights. A dog that just wants to kill is at a disadvantage. And a dog that shows aggression towards humans in the middle of a dog fight is a liability -- and not going to survive.

They're not. But you're exaggerating the 'unique behavioral instincts' of the various breeds of dogs. Look, dogs were dogs for tens of thousands of years before modern breeds appeared on the scene. In all those tens of thousands of years they were bred for socialization with humans and other traits. Those are still predominant.

I've said repeatedly that pit bulls are not dogs for everyone.

I'm not upset at people being wary of pit bulls or any other kind of dog. I am upset by the kind of hysterical nonsense that all too often passes for fact when they're discussed.

All pit bull fanciers can do is try to educate people about the actual nature of their dogs by countering the sort of absurdities that some people put out as 'fact'. Pit bulls are not for everyone, but they are not the 'four-legged assault weapons' the ignorant and fearful try to make them out to be.
--RC

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Then they're guilty of the same type of hysteria that you've been arguing against in this thread. I'd like to see how one goes hunting with one's dog on a leash.
In any case, you're ignoring the main issue which is different breeds have different behavioral traits, some of which are aggressive in character, and which can only be mitigated by training. Since that's true, then some dogs are inherently more dangerous than others. Given the characteristics that the American Pit Bull Terrier FAQ ascribes to pit bulls, it follows that they are a more dangerous breed than most others. So are mastifs, rottweilers, ... This doesn't mean that people shouldn't own them, or that they don't make good dogs under the appropriate circumstances.
I will add that there are a number pit bulls that come to our dog park. When certain of them show up, everyone leaves. Why? Because these specific dogs have demonstrated their aggressiveness. Sure the owners are idiots. But a cocker spanial in the hands of a poor dog owner is less dangerous than a pit bull owned by a similar person, maybe not always, but certainly on average.
-Peter De Smidt
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Peter De Smidt wrote:

Obviously there are exceptions. But the rule is well-nigh universal. Keep any medium to large dog leashed.

Actually I spent most of my message to you responding to exactly this point. To recap:
1) Dog bite statistics show no correlation between breed of dog an aggression. 2) The Alabama Supreme Court found no evidence that some breeds are inherently dangerous. 3) There is apparently no factual basis for your argument that pit bulls as a breed are more aggressive. 4) While different breeds have different characteristics, I think the evidence shows the differences are much, much less than you seem to believe and are in any case not determinative. 5) All that said, pit bulls are large, strong dogs that are quite capable of doing a lot of damage. That means that their owners have a special responsibility to make sure their dog is properly trained, well-socialized and properly restrained. This is true of Rottweilers, German Shepherds and many other breeds of large dogs.

Some dogs are much more dangerous than others. But this owes much more to the training, socialization and temperament of the individual dog that it does to the breed.

Actually cocker spaniels have a reputation as biters as well. But no, a 20-pound cocker isn't as big or as strong as a 40-pound pit bull and probably won't do as much damage if it does attack. But again, that doesn't go to the inherent aggressiveness of the breed.
And keep in mind that pit bulls are enormously strong dogs for their size. They are commonly used in pulling contests and it's not unusual to have a single pit bull pull over 1000 pounds. It's kind of funny to watch a pit bull trying to swim. They have so much muscle they're very dense dogs and they have to paddle frantically just to stay afloat.
--RC

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On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 18:17:08 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

ROFL!! You just made me imagine trying to turn my 70-lb. Collie into an attack dog- he'd much rather sleep on the couch than eal someone alive.
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Prometheus responds:

LOL. Yeah. I can imagine my 15 pound terrier (one of the smaller non-yappers) and dachshund might do as an attack dog. She's hell on moles and baby rabbits, which delights me, but her favorite exercises are sitting up (which she can do for a long time) begging for attention or food, or rolling onto her back to show she absolutely has to have a belly rub.
Charlie Self "Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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Re: OT bad experience today Group: rec.woodworking Date: Sun, Oct 3, 2004, 8:27am (EDT-1) snipped-for-privacy@business.org (Prometheus) says: ROFL!! You just made me imagine trying to turn my 70-lb. Collie into an attack dog- he'd much rather sleep on the couch than eal someone alive.
Dunno. There was a story about an attack rabbit, a few years back. Seems some young idiots had constantly teased it, over a period of time. It would actually jump at people and try to bite them. I didn't bother to check to verify it, but sounds like something that could happen. I do remember reading about it, and believe I saw something on it on TV. But, you know how true those TV news stories are.
JOAT We will never have great leaders as long as we mistake education for intelligence, ambition for ability, and lack of transgression for integrity. - Unknown
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JOAT notes:

Oh, I dunno. Might be the same attack rabbit Jimmy Carter saw.
Charlie Self "Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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Charlie Self wrote:

Or the one that Arthur, King of the Britons slew with the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote in (Prometheus) says:

There was the one that jumped in Jimmy Carter's boat. That got big press for a while.
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On Sun, 3 Oct 2004 18:21:11 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

I saw that on TV too... it was called "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." :)

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First of all I do not live in a suburban setting, second I maintain a legally recieved license to carry a firearm. If this (or any other animal for that matter) was an imediate threat to myself or my child it would have been shot post haste. As far as a gun control issue, I have NO problem controlling my weapon. I believe that Pittbulls are notoriously used as weapons against police and other persons. They have a deep seated instinct to kill, and this instinct can be buried within the dogs mind but never removed.
How can I as a parent allow my child to play in his own yard with a dangerous animal running loose? I can't, so why should I keep my child locked up in a house while this dog runs loose? Dig deeper into the internet and you will find that "faithfull" dogs have turned on thier owners in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. By the way I am a dog owner, a pure bred Yellow lab, so this is not about dogs. It is about the safety of my child.
Searcher1
wrote:

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We've been dog owners for a good number of years. Our first dogs were Bernese Mountain Dogs, both of whom have sadly passed away, and now we have a 14 month old Leonberger name Murphy. Our dogs go on three long walks a day, at least one of which is usually a woods ramble or an adventure to a dog park. Unfortunately we don't go to dog parks anymore since our dogs have been attacked too many times, and I've gotten bitten pulling other people's dogs off of mine. Our dogs have been attacked by golden retrievers and akitas, but the biggest offenders have been german shepherds, rottweilers and pit bulls.
A pit bull made the scariest attack. He charged Murphy from 100 yards away and lunged for his throat. Luckily, the pit was wearing a muzzle. Nonetheless, he keep lunging and doing what he could to get at Murphy. The raging noises the pit bull made were unbelievable. During the roughly 5 minutes that it took the owners to get a hold of their dog, they spent the first minutes just watching, the muzzle almost slipped off. If that had happened, Murphy would be dead, and then either I or the pit bull would also have been no more. I could grab Murphy, but that just made him a stationary target.
People with aggressive dogs should never put that dog in a situation where he can harm anyone or any dog, and people who have dogs that were historically bred for fighting have to be very careful even if their dog hasn't shown any aggression. There are a great number of incidents were a supposedly perfectly behaved pit bull, akita, mastiff... went berserk and hurt or killed something. I'm not saying that people shouldn't own these breeds, but if they do they should very pro-active dog owners with significant experience in dog training, and they should be responsible for what their dog does. In my experience, this is often not the case.
-Peter De Smidt
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Leon must be proud to have a breed named after him.
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