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As I approached the three standing quietly before a display of dog food, the daughter looked at me. I asked, “Is he friendly?” She hurriedly and nervously replied, “Yes, but don’t approach him! Let him approach you!” By the time she’d blurted-out her somewhat alarmed-sounding two sentences, I’d already held my hand down to this handsome grey would-be friend, palm downward, and he snarled at me. The daughter quickly explained that her pet is a new rescue who is absolutely terrified of humans – he’d been abused. No more explanation needed. I fully understood and did not need her to instruct me to replace my hand inside my coat pocket – I’d already done so.
We had a very nice conversation. The mother and daughter explained that they were new at this whole Pit Bull thing, and I wondered why then, were they bringing their new, unsuspecting adoptee into a public place where other pets visit, as well. It seemed obvious to them that I understand Pit Bulls, so they asked me several questions. I was happy to oblige with answers, since this “whole Pit Bull thing” is NOT new to me!
One of the tips I elaborated upon was, “The very first thing you want to say to anyone wanting to approach your dog, is “Don’t put out your hand to him!” The daughter responded, “I did that! I told you not to approach him!” I responded, “That’s different than saying DON’T PUT OUT YOUR HAND TO HIM! She agreed and seemed to recognize her error in judgement. I then explained to her that unless she gives proper warning to people, her dog will be the one who will suffer the consequences if he reacts by hurting someone. These dogs have been taught by abusive humans that any approaching dog is going to attack, thus, the Pit Bull’s “fight” response with me. (By the way, because of that fact, had that dog hurt me, it would be I to blame – NOT the dog!) Why do animals attack? Most animals attack out of fear. YES! FEAR!! The Pit Bull rescue has also been taught to fear humans. . . that IS THE REASON THEY ATTACK!! (Please read Gorman’s book mentioned at the beginning of this blog if you doubt this!)
Just as I was finishing checking-out, in walked a middle-aged couple with two giant Dobermans. Each person was holding the people-end of the leash of one of the dogs, and each person looked as unsure of themselves as the other. Each person’s charge proceeded to pull it’s person further forward into the store. Without delay, I proceeded to warn the check-out girl that there could easily be a serious dog fight in her store as there was a new Pit Bull rescue toward the back of the store. She handed me my bag and hurried toward the couple with the Dobermans. I proceeded to hurry out the front door. I did not want to bear witness to any possible damage to dogs and/or humans.
The thing that dumbfounded me then, and continues to dumbfound me now, is the unbelievably arrogant/uneducated attitude of the public concerning their choice of dog breeds, without first researching the special needs and personality trait differences of the breeds. If you were looking for a new car, would you not research new cars, first? (I hope so, or you could easily end up with a new car that doesn’t run well!)
Dogs, just like people, have their own, individual personalities. Certain personality TYPES are especially characteristic of certain breeds. In my opinion, none of these owners should have brought their pets into a store where other pets visit because neither owners were confident in handling their charges. Great bodily harm to all three dogs may have resulted after I left the store. I don’t know, and I certainly hope not. But, this was a clear situation of people acting without thinking and planning ahead.
For example, I own a Pit Bull. My Pit Bull used to attack the vaccuum cleaner each time I turned the machine on. What changed that behavior? I got down near the floor with my Pit Bull (Dazie) and reassured her that under no circumstances will I ever allow that vaccuum cleaner to hurt her. I gave her hugs and kisses as I explained this to her. From that point forward, if Dazie begins to approach the vaccuum cleaner while I vaccuum, all I have to do is to say, “No!” Dazie proceeds to go lie down on her bed.
My point? One of the most serious mistakes I see people make with dogs, is telling themselves that they, the owners, are much smarter than their pet. SMART PEOPLE DON’T TAKE CHANCES! Enough said. My advice?
1. If you wish to own a large, aggressive dog breed, RESEARCH. RESEARCH, RESEARCH the breed! (All you have to do is type the name of the breed into your search engine and it will pull-up more information for you than you could possibly read in a week!
2. Look honestly at whether or not your personality is a good match to the breed in which you’re interested (i.e. are you assertive enough to let the dog know that YOU are the leader of the pack? Or, might you not wish to hurt the dog’s feelings? Being assertive doesn’t mean using any type of physical punishment with the dog . . . not ever. But to keep the dog safe from people (like the police) who may be inclined to shoot it to stay safe, your dog will need to be able to rely upon you to be his respected leader. (Not all policemen understand the large, more aggressive dog breeds.) Yes, my Pit Bull is afraid of her own shadow. However, just by nature of her breed, she has a fierce, unfriendly appearance.
3. Don’t do your pet the injustice I witnessed the folks inside the pet store, doing theirs: Do NOT visit places that welcome any dog who wishes to do so, to visit the area until you have WELL TRAINED your dog to at least: a.) “HEEL!” and b.) “STAY!” I’m talking about your dog doing this no matter WHO OR WHAT IS AROUND, and your dog refusing to do anything but “Heel” or “Stay” until YOU tell the dog to do differently.
REMEMBER: If you’re not in absolute control of your pet at all times,
1. You are an accident looking for a place to happen!
2. You stand a great chance of ending-up not only in a law suit, but of having to helplessly stand by while your beloved Pit Bull/dog is ordered to be euthanized!
(SURE HOPE YOU’LL COME VIEW MY VIDEO! JUST DOUBLE-CLICK ON THIS LINK: http://youtu.be/Au9esCf49wM)
(Copyright 01/21/2014 by JC Fredlund)