Read to the end of the thread. The short form is that no breed is more
likely to attack than any other.
If I weren't interested in gardening and Ireland,
I'd automatically killfile any messages mentioning
'bush' or 'Kerry'
Mom and Dad inherited a Shepherd back when they were renovating a
farmhouse. For some reason, they thought they needed a bigger house for
five kids . . .
When the dog moved in, she IMMEDIATELY became "Mom's Dog."
There was one guy on the HVAC crew whom Mom didn't much like. Peabo
wouldn't let him into the kitchen (the divide between the old house and
the addition was there).
Sorry, can't buy it. I had a pit bull and spent a great deal of time with
it hunting and just being out in the woods. I noticed that even in the
house, there was agression I didn't care for. One day, he almost took out
the front door of the house trying to get at a horse that was walking down
the street. About a month later, we were in the country and a 900 lb steer
grunted at him during a staredown. I saw it coming but was too late - the
dog attacked the steer in the throat and was then tossed outwardly by the
steer turning in circles. The dog couldn't hang on and hit a post through
centrifugal force when the grip gave way. He shook it off and went back
after the running steer and went under and grabbed the underside with the
steer hitting it with its hooves while running. I aimed to shoot the dog
but couldn't get a good shot without possibly hitting the steer. The steer
finally collapsed on top of the dog which still wouldn't let go. I ran to
the dog and turned the collar enough to make him let go and then took him to
the truck. Drove immediately to the vet and had the dog put down and then
the vet and I went to the steer. He said it almost died but not from the
wounds which didn't penetrate the leather but rather exhaustion.
I miss the dog because he was loyal but he couldn't be trusted. You're
probably going to assume it's something I did but all I can do is assure you
that he lived in a normal household enviornment with no teasing or tauting
and lots of human contact. While I don't think he would have ever attacked
a human, I couldn't take the chance because if he would have, there wouldn't
have been a chance in hell. A 40 lb dog against a 900 lb steer and the
steer didn't have a prayer - that dog made sounds during the attack I hadn't
heard in an animal before.
You're not gonna like this, but. . .
The reason the dog displayed unacceptable levels of aggression is that it wasn't
properly trained. Just being around people (socialization) is important, but it
is not enough for any dog. You have to train them in what you want them to do.
This is especially important with a large, strong dog. You _have_ to train them
or you're going to have trouble.
For example, charging the door at a stimulus outside is a very common dog
behavior. Everything from Yorkies on up does it and I have a friend who ended up
with a huge vet bill because his Irish Setter charged through a glass storm
door. However when a Yorkie does it you may not notice. When a pit bull does it,
the dog is likely to break the door.
The incident with the steer doesn't surprise me either. When a dog like a pit
bull attacks it can do a lot of damage and pit bulls do not quit.
But the real point is that you simply did not have control over your dog because
you had not trained it properly. You can see equivalent behavior from just about
any breed of dog in the local park on the weekend. And in all cases the cause is
As I say, pit bulls are not for everyone and they most certainly need to be both
trained and socialized. If you don't do both, you're going to have trouble.
"D. J. Dorn" wrote:
I'm saying any medium to large dog must be properly trained in addition to being
socialized with the family. It is not just about 'attacking and killing'. It
includes everything from not charging the door when excited to responding to the
leash properly and not trying to drag you all over the place, jumping up on
people, etc. Above all, the dog has to be trained well enough to be under
control at all times.
A dog that challenges other animals or people is an extreme example of a dog in
bad need of training. So is a dog that crashes into the door an in effort to get
at someone or something on the other side.
Have you ever been around a poorly trained Great Dane or Lab? It's no fun and it
is dangerous. I very nearly had my head taken off by a Great Dane when I was a
kid because I approached the dog where it was sitting on the grass with its
owner. Fortunately the dog was on a leash. I have some friends who had a Dane
who was as mellow as you describe -- unless he thought the family's daughter was
in danger. Unfortunately the dog didn't have very good discrimination as to what
constituted 'danger.' It took some doing for them to train that out of him.
The bottom line is that any medium to large dog needs to be carefully socialized
and trained. It's a fundamental responsibility of owning a big dog of any breed.
Dog charges, target panics, trouble starts. Leash is a perfect way to work
on that behavior.
My Australian shepherd was an end-of-leash sniffer, so I had to drag him
past tempting domestic foliage while my four-year-old walked the female
borzoi who stood taller than he and outweighed him by three. Used to get a
lot of strange looks.
Actually he was the epitome of "dog" - if he couldn't eat it or screw it, he
pissed on it.
As you may see in a previous response, I've owned a Pit Bull/Boxer mix and
dearly loved that dog. But, I sure as shit would not have tried to
socialize her with cattle! And don't know anyone that would.
Actually it's fairly common to have pit bulls who are fine around livestock.
One of my pit bull owning friends likes to work around horses and she has
trained pit bulls not to bother either horses or cattle. This same friend had
a pit bull who was an obedience champion.
Not all that difficult, actually to train a pit bull. You just have to make
sure the dog understands that certain things are no-nos. If you're consistent
with them pit bulls are extremely easy to train -- at least according to
people who know dog training and have trained many breeds.
Frankly, I (and every other human) have urges at times to
strike out and destroy other humans...but I do not give into those
urges because I was trained from birth not to. The urge is not
Bad example because it is apples and cantelopes. S&R were
dealing with tigers...Wild Animals that were not pets in any way,
shape or form. They were more like bad-tempered, dangerous partners.
Dogs, though, have been socialized to mankind for thousands of years,
and, have developed into a creature that works well in a symbiotic
relationship with mankind. It's called domestication, and, has quite
a range..If it is 1 to 100, Tigers are at about 0. Dogs are at about
90-95 (cats are probably 50).
Not absolutely, but breeding does make a difference. After
all, you would not want to send a dachshund out into a lake to
retrieve a downed duck, nor would you send a Lab down a hole to
hunt a badger. Ever since the first wolves joined mankind at the
fire, mankind has manipulated the gene pool to create an animal
that is suited to the hunting task at hand. Speaking of which...
have you ever seen a badger? they are one of the nastiest fighters
one could come across...so by this logic, dachshunds should be
restricted because they are tough enough fighters to take on
such an opponent. However, nobody is scared of a dachshund...
mostly because they have not been the subject of so much
bad press over the past few years.
Sorry. The analogy doesn't work. Tigers are NOT dogs and no attempt has ever
been made to domesticate them.
Generally, though I tend to agree with your conclusions. Some dog breeds are
more likely to be good shepherds, or fighters, than others, along with all the
characteristics that go with each job.
"Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles."
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
I never claimed that tigers are dogs. My point was that socialization
and training do not remove inborn tendencies, and my example
demonstrates that. Behavioral training and socialization of tigers,
dogs, hawks (which I've done), killer whales,..., are all very similar,
and use well established behavioral conditioning, even though the
specific inborn tendencies are quite different.
But in any case we seem to agree on the overall point.
-Peter De Smidt
Yeah and some of those inborn tendencies relates to degree of socialization and
aggression. Keep in mind that pit bulls as a breed are perhaps 200 years old at
most. (Actually only about 100, but the difference is nugatory.) Dogs split off
from wolves about 10,000 years ago and for all that time they were bred to
socialization with humans, obedience and away from wolf-like aggression.
Terriers in general have a tendency to attack other animals. The differences in
pit bulls relate more to their size and strength and to any 'killer instinct'.
(BTW: As near as I can see, pit bulls have no more killer instinct that other
terriers. What they do have is 'gameness' -- the unwillingness to quit. That and
an extreme willingness to do anything to please their owners.)
If you'd spent as much time around pit bulls as you have around hawks you'd
And neither of you apparently has any experience with the animals in question.
Greetings and Salutations...
On Sat, 02 Oct 2004 21:28:06 GMT, Lobby Dosser
Reminds me of a great story about Winston Churchill... One day
he and another fellow (I don't recall who just now) were in the
garden, when his dog (an English Bulldog, by the by...) came
staggering back in through the gate, all torn up and the worse for
wear. The guest observed that Churchill's dog did not seem to be much
of a fighter. Churchill replied that the dog was an excellent
fighter...just a very bad judge of opponents.
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