Dog Aggressive? In their genes?
Just Passing this on from my neighbor in LB. I know if a dog is “fixed” they are less likely to display extroverted behavior. But always educate yourselves (and be as mindful as you can to warrant any situations that could occur) as any Pet Responsible Parent should do.
“The article below was written by my good friend Tia Maria Torres (Founder, Villalobos Rescue Center and Animal Planets “Pitbulls and Parolees”)
Even though this article focuses on Pit Bulls, it pretty much applies to any breed of dog that has exhibited the behavioral issues described below. You know, the behaviors that most people write off as “He/She always does that” or “He/She is just playing”, etc. Believe me, I see this all the time
Bottom line, people will bring Pit Bulls to a dog park; therefore, just wanted to give you some food for thought.
“This is probably the biggest argument among the Pit Bull forums…..is it the way they’re raised or…..is it “in their genes?” So for “argument’s sake”…let’s get ready to rumble! To answer this question you need to go back in time to what makes up the Pit Bull type dog. The first thing that comes to my mind is “terrier”. Helloooo??? Can we say “feisty, scrappy and always on the go???” So common sense tells us that because of the “terrier” in the American Pit Bull Terrier or the American Staffordshire Terrier…..this is a dog that is going to keep us on our toes. Think of the Jack Russell Terrier…..yes that little dog that just keeps on going and going and going This is a breed that was bred for chasing down unwanted rodents. Thus the term “animal aggression” comes into play. And let’s face it, Jack Russells are not only one of the smartest dogs ever, but they have the energy level of a tornado! They are like this because it’s “genetic”. Not all are like this but let’s face it…most are. This is the life of a terrier.
Then you have your Labradors who love water. Again, not all but most. Then there are the Border Collies and Australian Shepherds who on a split second impulse will “chase” down anything that moves and herd it into whatever corner of the yard seems best. I know this by experience because my parents had Welsh Corgis and as kids we were constantly getting nipped in the ass and on the back of our legs. Why? It’s called “genetics!” My parents never taught our Corgis to do this. Even as puppies they were constantly chasing our horses.
Okay so back to our breed. If I had a dime…Hell…a penny, for everyone that emailed or called and said, “I don’t know what happened. My Pit Bull has been great with other dogs and then ALL OF A SUDDEN he attacked my neighbor’s dog or went after a dog at the dog park” and of course my knee jerk response is always….”ah….what’s the question?” It’s like saying…”I don’t know what’s wrong with my Lab….he won’t stay out of the swimming pool”.
Now here’s where the argument begins. There are those of us that have been around these dogs for not only years but have dealt with them in large amounts whether it be working at a shelter, or a vet’s or a groomer, trainer, whatever. We sit back and say….”well……ah…..well….that’s what Pit Bulls do sometimes.” But then you have the group of owners who believe…….oh geez…..I’m preparing my flame retardant suit……the group that says….:”it’s all in how you raise them.” Okay….kinda.
Here’s the dealio. Some of you have Pits that will NEVER EVER display dog aggression. Great! Congratulations! And yes, some of that should be credited to you as an owner for not putting your dog in a situation that warrants him/her to have to fight back. But more than likely you just got lucky and your Pit just has a kick back temperament combined with a lifestyle that keeps him out of harm’s way and trust me…I wish all Pit Bulls could live like that.
But truthfully, in dealing with hundreds to thousands in my rescue career, most Pit Bulls that have come thru here, display some form of dog aggression. Maybe not full blown, “I want to kill another dog” but even so much as giving each other the “stink eye” has caused a ruckus. I’m not saying that your dogs are going to “snap” (geez I hate that word) and all of a sudden go on a doggie killing spree. But what I am saying is that most Pit Bulls (yeah yeah, go ahead and cuss me out) have that “genetic make up” of dog aggression. And though they may never display it, to deny it exists, is only potentially putting your dog in a situation that may cause him/her to fail. All I’m saying is just be aware that it may surface if pushed too hard (example: allowing a bunch of ignorant dog owners at the dog park to have their dogs run up on your Pit Bull) and you just need to be that “defensive driver” for your Pit Bull’s sake.
When out in public, I never ever let some stranger come up to me with their dog and do the….”oh can my dog meet your dog?” Ah….that would be a big fat “NO”. Don’t let your Pit run off leash out in public. You never know what idiot may be around the corner. And I know this one is gonna piss some people off but I don’t recommend dog parks. Good way to not only set your dog up for failure but the “what if” a dog fight happens. You’ve now put your Pit on the defensive and there is a good chance that he/she may now want to go after every dog he encounters. I’ve had dogs like this come to my training class after a bad dog park encounter and it takes some time to “unring that bell”. Instead maybe find some people you trust and who’s dogs you know and create play dates.
So no one says you have to take my words to heart but at least I can tell you these words come from 18 years and thousands of Pit Bulls later. I’ve learned from my mistakes and I would rather be safe than sorry. Like I said, if your Pit is dog friendly….HOORAY!! I’m jealous. But still just “be aware” and at least practice “safe Pit”
If you ever had a pit that was so sweet and never aggressive-we’d like to have you comment.
If you have had a Pit or other breed that “switched” behaviors for no apparent reason…please let us know your story below. Check out our products page…many things to order at discounted prices...especially the TOP NOTCH healthy, digestible Pet food.