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  #41  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:43 PM
Teal Teal is offline
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Originally Posted by ~Tucker&Me~ View Post
I think that is a pretty big big blanket statement. A dog with sound genetics can absolutely be driven to bite if the training and socialization are not there. We have domesticated dogs for a very, very, VERY long time, but that does not mean that they don't need training and socialization and can still turn out to have a solid temperament and be trustworthy. At the end of the day they are still animals.

All dogs can bite. Even the most temperamentally sound dogs have a limit, and it is foolish (imo) to claim that some dogs won't ever bite.


I am not claiming there is not ANY circumstance where a sound dog won't bite - I agree that sound dogs have their limits. I am simply saying that a lack of training/socialization in itself isn't going to cause a Pit Bull to bite. Pit Bulls have a MUCH higher level of tolerance than other breeds, and do not bite humans in many situations where other breeds will. It DOES take a lot more to get a sound Pit Bull to bite someone than it does say, a Golden Retriever. An unsocialized but SOUND Pit Bull should not fearfully bite something it wasn't exposed to... otherwise, it wouldn't be sound - because fearfulness is not part of the breed.

Are there exceptions to everything? Of course. But Pit Bull owners/breeders have HIGH standards (responsible owners, anyways) when it comes to their dogs and how they handle interactions with humans.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:10 AM
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I am simply saying that a lack of training/socialization in itself isn't going to cause a Pit Bull to bite. Pit Bulls have a MUCH higher level of tolerance than other breeds, and do not bite humans in many situations where other breeds will. It DOES take a lot more to get a sound Pit Bull to bite someone than it does say, a Golden Retriever. An unsocialized but SOUND Pit Bull should not fearfully bite something it wasn't exposed to... otherwise, it wouldn't be sound - because fearfulness is not part of the breed.

Are there exceptions to everything? Of course. But Pit Bull owners/breeders have HIGH standards (responsible owners, anyways) when it comes to their dogs and how they handle interactions with humans.
So Pit Bulls are born knowing what is human and that humans are not okay to bite? Then, are Pit Bull owners exempt from having to teach bite inhibition?

Also, what is your definition of "sound"? Do you think a fearful dog is NOT sound? If Pit Bulls are both "sound" and "not fearful" does that mean they are more likely to be a challenging dog? Or only in association to other dogs, since they are apparently born knowing what a human is and how they should act around them?

I'm honestly just curious at this point. I do believe dogs do not see us as dogs, but I'm really on the fence about whether or not dogs see humans as "humans - do not bite". Or....if they ARE trained/socialized to do so. As in, will a wild pit bull, with NO human interaction in its life, know to accept human leadership immediately?
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  #43  
Old 05-14-2012, 12:43 AM
Teal Teal is offline
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Originally Posted by Lyzelle View Post
So Pit Bulls are born knowing what is human and that humans are not okay to bite? Then, are Pit Bull owners exempt from having to teach bite inhibition?

Also, what is your definition of "sound"? Do you think a fearful dog is NOT sound? If Pit Bulls are both "sound" and "not fearful" does that mean they are more likely to be a challenging dog? Or only in association to other dogs, since they are apparently born knowing what a human is and how they should act around them?

I'm honestly just curious at this point. I do believe dogs do not see us as dogs, but I'm really on the fence about whether or not dogs see humans as "humans - do not bite". Or....if they ARE trained/socialized to do so. As in, will a wild pit bull, with NO human interaction in its life, know to accept human leadership immediately?


Every dog needs to be taught some level of bite inhibition, because dogs don't just bite out of fear/aggression. Biting is also done a lot in play, and Pit Bull owners are definitely not exempt from teaching bite inhibition in that regard. But, I have NEVER had any of my dogs even offer to bite out of fear/pain. My dogs aren't fearful, so I've just never encountered that situation, but I've dealt with dogs in pain (mainly things like dew claws/nails broken off, but I've had to handle a few dogs injured in accidental yard fights)... things that other dogs would usually bite over.

I don't know if it's that Pit Bulls have more "awareness" of humans than other breeds, or just that they have such higher tolerance because of their past. Injured pit dogs had to have high tolerance, because they were handled when injured, handled when amped up, etc.

However, I've encountered Pit Bulls kept in backyards with little to no human interaction their entire lives... who were not bite risks, out of fear OR aggression. Playfulness - absolutely! I know I'm just one person and I've not encountered even a fraction of the dogs alive.. I've done the research into others' experiences in the same area, and across the board it seems to be that undersocialized/untrained Pit Bulls don't exhibit fearfulness/aggression to the point of being unsound.

No, I do not think a fearful dog is sound. My definition of sound is a dog who can rationalize situations and react appropriately. For example - a dog encountering a shiny hardwood floor for the first time. If the dog balks, sniffs the floor, is hesitant but curious and eventually tests out the floor, that, to me, is sound. If a dog flattens, shakes, and just falls to pieces when confronted with a hardwood floor for the first time without ever having a prior experience and NEVER progresses towards a more accepting reaction with continued exposure.. that, to me, is unsound. I expect sound dogs to learn from their environment and move forward.

But, I have REALLY REALLY high standards for temperament. I demand perfection, and I'm entirely biased in that I hold my Pit Bulls to MUCH higher standards than other dogs. But, it's been proven to me that they can meet those standards... so, I'm not lowering them.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Lyzelle View Post
So Pit Bulls are born knowing what is human and that humans are not okay to bite? Then, are Pit Bull owners exempt from having to teach bite inhibition?

Also, what is your definition of "sound"? Do you think a fearful dog is NOT sound? If Pit Bulls are both "sound" and "not fearful" does that mean they are more likely to be a challenging dog? Or only in association to other dogs, since they are apparently born knowing what a human is and how they should act around them?

I'm honestly just curious at this point. I do believe dogs do not see us as dogs, but I'm really on the fence about whether or not dogs see humans as "humans - do not bite". Or....if they ARE trained/socialized to do so. As in, will a wild pit bull, with NO human interaction in its life, know to accept human leadership immediately?
It was really interesting, we went to look at adopting a "shepherd mix" advertised by a local rescue in Tucson ages ago.

There were 12 fosters in the home. The two most recent had been there for 4-6 months. They were the same age. They'd both been caught feral on the Tohono O'Odham reservation in the desert.

One was a black and white pure looking bully named Tank. The second was the "shepherd mix". The second dog turned out to be a coydog.

Both had ZERO human interaction for the first four months of their lives. So, blank slates with no socialization. When we met Tank, he'd been living in a house for several months. He was your typical bully. Grinning that huge wide bullfrog smile, wiggling his butt in happiness, playing with his dog friends, he ran up to greet us and licked our hands with joy. He was definitely a good example of an inherently stable dog that turned out awesome despite a major lack of socialization. I would have never guessed his life started that way. They said it only took him about a month to completely come out of it and turn into a normal happy tame dog. He took a lot of cues from their other fosters at first, and it helped that he was really food driven, lol.

The coydog was totally opposite. She was terrified of everything. The foster family told us that she hid under their bed for the first several months and only came out at night to eat and poo. After a couple of months, she finally got brave enough to sneak into their bed and cuddle with the husband at night, but the moment he showed any signs of waking up she'd flee in terror straight back under the bed. The entire time we were there she's skulked around the perimeter of the room with her tail tucked against her belly, and shaking. I tried offering her treats, but she just froze in place and trembled instead of taking it.

Totally different hardwiring. I do believe different breeds are just basically hardwired differently. Look at NGA greyhounds. If you slapped a GSD in a kennel for four years with minimal socialization, only turning it out muzzled in a large group of other GSDs for group exercise a couple times a day and it was otherwise crated, sometimes got sprayed with a hose to break up fights, etc. you'd have to euthanize the poor dog vs. placing it in a companion home. Any GSD that came out of that type of situation with it's sanity intact would still require massive rehabilitation in an experienced home to function well in society. Yet thousands of greyhounds are able to make the transition with no problem year after year.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:18 AM
JessLough JessLough is online now
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Originally Posted by Romy View Post
It was really interesting, we went to look at adopting a "shepherd mix" advertised by a local rescue in Tucson ages ago.

There were 12 fosters in the home. The two most recent had been there for 4-6 months. They were the same age. They'd both been caught feral on the Tohono O'Odham reservation in the desert.

One was a black and white pure looking bully named Tank. The second was the "shepherd mix". The second dog turned out to be a coydog.

Both had ZERO human interaction for the first four months of their lives. So, blank slates with no socialization. When we met Tank, he'd been living in a house for several months. He was your typical bully. Grinning that huge wide bullfrog smile, wiggling his butt in happiness, playing with his dog friends, he ran up to greet us and licked our hands with joy. He was definitely a good example of an inherently stable dog that turned out awesome despite a major lack of socialization. I would have never guessed his life started that way. They said it only took him about a month to completely come out of it and turn into a normal happy tame dog. He took a lot of cues from their other fosters at first, and it helped that he was really food driven, lol.

The coydog was totally opposite. She was terrified of everything. The foster family told us that she hid under their bed for the first several months and only came out at night to eat and poo. After a couple of months, she finally got brave enough to sneak into their bed and cuddle with the husband at night, but the moment he showed any signs of waking up she'd flee in terror straight back under the bed. The entire time we were there she's skulked around the perimeter of the room with her tail tucked against her belly, and shaking. I tried offering her treats, but she just froze in place and trembled instead of taking it.

Totally different hardwiring. I do believe different breeds are just basically hardwired differently. Look at NGA greyhounds. If you slapped a GSD in a kennel for four years with minimal socialization, only turning it out muzzled in a large group of other GSDs for group exercise a couple times a day and it was otherwise crated, sometimes got sprayed with a hose to break up fights, etc. you'd have to euthanize the poor dog vs. placing it in a companion home. Any GSD that came out of that type of situation with it's sanity intact would still require massive rehabilitation in an experienced home to function well in society. Yet thousands of greyhounds are able to make the transition with no problem year after year.
Did you really just try to make that point by comparing a bully breed to a COYDOG? Really?
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  #46  
Old 05-14-2012, 02:58 AM
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Did you really just try to make that point by comparing a bully breed to a COYDOG? Really?
No, I also compared German shepherds being raised in the same conditions NGA greyhounds are raised in.

The reason I brought up the bully and coydog comparison is they were both:

1. The same age

2. Captured in the same environment, during the same "raid" even.

3. Were fostered in the exact same foster home by exactly the same foster family.

4. Were exposed to identical things in the home.

It's interesting to me because you rarely get a chance to work with totally feral puppies, much less two from such different genetic backgrounds but coming from exactly the same place, same age, going into the same environment, etc. Usually you get littermates in a situation like that so it's harder to compare the difference in how they respond.

To me, the bully exemplified a stable DOG temperament. The question in the post I quoted was:

Quote:
I'm honestly just curious at this point. I do believe dogs do not see us as dogs, but I'm really on the fence about whether or not dogs see humans as "humans - do not bite". Or....if they ARE trained/socialized to do so. As in, will a wild pit bull, with NO human interaction in its life, know to accept human leadership immediately?
Tank accepted human leadership very quickly and readily. And he was quickly able to generalize that status to ALL humans, not just his foster family. That to me is pretty dang incredible considering where he came from.

And I think it's pretty telling about dogs in general, not JUST pit bulls, about how incredibly in tune they are to humans and how keyed in they are to human facial expressions and emotions. It's been proven that domestic dogs are better at interpreting human emotion by reading our faces than other highly intelligent apes such as chimps are. And wild canids like wolves are completely crap at it, which is why the coydog had such a horrid time adjusting to a domestic life after being raised in the wild for its first four months.

I think that most dogs with a stable temperament would adjust to a domestic life with humans if they were picked up around that 4 month mark and worked with. Dogs that are more territorial would probably never really trust strange humans (like the various shepherds, molossers, etc.) simply because it's not in their nature anyway, but I do think they'd at the very least "know" that you don't bite family. The caveat here is stable.

And dogs from more gregarious breeds (like bullies with correct temperaments, or greyhound types that don't have a territorial streak) would probably be like Tank and generalize that sort of appropriate interaction to ALL the humans.
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  #47  
Old 05-14-2012, 06:59 AM
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Troll or not, this thread has been interesting. I'm surprised to see some peoples tolerance for a dog that has bit a human.. unless it was an *extreme* circumstance (like say, someone was trying to cut off their leg or rip their ear off), a dog that bit someone would never live in my house.

And rehoming a Pit Bull type dog with a bite history? Good god.
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:24 AM
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I think where "training" has any chance of improving a situation is with a dog that is biting when feeling cornered or threatened in some way. These dogs that can be rehabilitated (at least in my experience) tend to be more fearful, defensive dogs, resource guarders, things like that.... and they don't go way out of their way to run out of their yard and chase down and bite a child that hard....UNLESS it's a perceived prey situation. But if it is, that's equally dangerous as an out and out aggression situation.

My gut feeling, going off of what was written (and yes, impossible to know for sure via the Internet) is that this dog has a very poor temperament and "training" or more socialization, good handling etc would have a very marginal affect, if any. I agree with other points that were made regarding the fact that there are so many other pits with good temperaments needing homes and that this is a travesty which is what furthers the BLS B.S. It's a shame that this OP (troll or theoretical owner or not) has been hitherto so careless in managing the dog and keeping the public safe. For that reason alone, I'd feel very nervous keeping this dog in this or any home. It's not worth the risk of getting someone killed or maimed imo.
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  #49  
Old 05-14-2012, 01:36 PM
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If a dog bites a human just because a human happens to be within reaching difference, then that dog has a serious problem.

I've done a lot of rescue, specifically "pit bull" rescue. I've seen first-hand dogs that had absolutely zero socialization (including during "puppyhood"). I've experienced them look warily at humans. I've experienced them shy away from humans and show inherent submissive behavior. I've experienced a handful offer low rumbles and growls. But I have never seen one attempt to bite a human (or actually bite) just because such human was close enough to do so.

I've also seen dogs beaten to within an inch of their life. I've seen dogs tied to and dragged behind trucks. I've seen dogs stabbed. I've seen a dog severely starved and thrown into a neighbor's trash can while awaiting death. In none of those situations did the dog just bite a human just because.

I don't think anyone in this thread said that dogs don't have breaking points. Sure they do. Each dog is an individual, so each dog will have a different breaking point than another. And I do believe that different breeds, in general, have general breaking points as a whole. But, what I don't believe, is that dogs will bite "just because", and that such bites are ok because dogs are just dogs after all.

Stable dogs don't go around showing outward aggression to humans and attempting to bite them and/or biting them. They just don't. Make all the excuses in the world, but you aren't doing the humans nor the dog any favors.

As for the question of whether dogs are able to differentiate between humans and dogs, ummm, I firmly believe they do. I don't buy into the whole "we are their pack....Now WOOF I say! WOOF!" crap.

If my dogs can tell the difference between a cat and a squirrel, and a deer and a hog, and a bird and an armadillo, then they can most certainly understand that humans are not dogs.

As for the whole "bite inhibition" debate, it could be said that puppies are taught bite inhibition by dogs and humans alike. Humans teaching it isn't some only-case scenario.

Yes, I've seen dogs that were not trained very well, if even at all, and yes, they tended to be quite nippy. But that's how dogs also communicate. No one is denying it. However, those dogs didn't aggressively go after people and just bite the hell out of them for no reason. There is a difference between a nippy, interactive dog and a dog biting out of aggression.

Human aggression has no place in any breed whatsoever.

And if I wasn't clear, IMO, this dog needs to euthanized. That's what I would recommend, and that's sure as hell what I would've done...yesterday.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:01 PM
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I think the dog in question probably needs euthanized, but I think its always good to get a professional opinion by going to a reputable behaviorist first.

Perhaps a better comparison for dog temperament would be my two dogs. They came from different areas/situations, but they are essentially the same working mix. The ratios are a little different, but essentially you can very easily tell they are the same working mix type when you see them or pics of them.

Lily I would consider sound and even bombproof. I would call her well bred despite not knowing her breeding. I know she could easily do what she was bred to do (distance mushing) and excell at it, however I don't have the inclination or time to seek that out, so we do other stuff. She has a very sound temperament and recovered from being smacked around and dumped to starve very quickly and easily. Her only lasting issue is that she's got an eating disorder from her days ont he street, which really is very easily managable.

Scout on the other hand I know was out of **** poor stock genetically speaking. Knowing some nitty gritty details of that situation and the aftermath she was born into... there were a LOT of dogs that should have been euthed for temperment. Instead they were mostly adopted out. I've seen no less than 10-15 back int he system in only the two years I've had Scout. Scout is almost 4... Some of these were euthed by the shelter that took them in, others adopted out again. This I know from a friend of mine who works at the shelter that did initial intake, she may chime in if she wants to. Specifically I remember her telling me about one pup born into the rescue after the hoarding bust who was adopted and returned for biting children in the home. And on good old fb, one of the dogs was returned by its adopters for repeatedly biting, but instead of being put down it gets to be warehoused in rescue its whole life. All the pictures on the web and otherwise of nervous dogs throwing out calming signals and uncomfortable body language...And yet the "rescuers" and owners are patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

Well let me tell you. I live with one of these dogs. She is one of the much better wired ones out of that bust. Her two previous owners were very nice people that exacerbated some already genetically present issues without meaning to or knowing any better. She wasn't abused, she wasn't unsocialized by most people's standards, in fact by most people's standards the first home did everything right. So why was she so f'ed up when I first met her that I literally had to crawl into her kennel and clip the leash on and pull her out to take her somewhere? She was put in situations where most dogs would bite in her second home, including an unsupervised 3 year old biting her! Most dogs fear response in defensive, whereas Scout's is to huddle down and wait it out. She has a phenominal bite threshold and its the main reason she is alive today. If at any point she had proved herself willing to bite people out of fear, I'm sorry but I would have humanely euthanized her. Its not fair for anything to live with that much fear. Some drugs work to a point, but honestly if they are hardwired for something.... I just feel letting them go is more fair to THEM. I think people forget a lot of the time that its more important to do whats right for the overall well being of the animal, while not forgetting to hold public safety at the fore as well.

It came down to me or the shelter for her. I took her because I knew she'd just get put down. Two years later and most people dont' notice she has any issues at all. IMO there is still a LOT of work to be done. And we still have days where I am upset as hell to have to see her live with that genetic anxiety that I can't fix. There are plateaus and backslides as part of the work toward making a better life for a dog like this. Thats normal, but its frustrating. Most people would give up. When I took her I was expecting an easy fix like with Lily. I wouldn't change my decision to take Scout for the world. I have learned far far more about dog behavior, genetics, training, and etc. than I otherwise would have. However, I don't really want another project after she's gone. Like ever. Maybe its a selfish waste of talent, but I'd rather get a nicely bred dog I can just enjoy. Maybe someday I'll work with people on their problem dogs or something.

So yes, I believe hardwiring does play heavily into temperament. And unfortunately you can't always fix what is broken.

Whats great about bulldogs is that the work they were selectively bred for meant that those guys had to be able to get in there and physically seperate the dog from whatever. For the most part, they were selectively bred to pretty much be the most trustworthy companion a human could ever have and excell at also being the most badass dog at what they were bred for at the same time.

Its too bad large chunks of GSD breeders have given more thought to looks than temperament and working ability. IMO a good shepherd SHOULD be an allround extraordinarily sound dog. The same could be said about nearly all the other breeds too.... Fun what happens when looks become more important than function!
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