I had started this blog post before two things happened. Yesterday, my dog went missing for five hours. And an article in Newsweek about pit bulls.
Because my dog is a pit bull mix and I know that some people hate blocky headed bully dogs, besides becoming frantic and worried and searching all over tarnation for her, I had the additional concerns that she could have been hurt, abused, shot on sight, and / or killed in a shelter because of the way she looks. She may or may not even be part American Pit Bull Terrier, have not had her DNA tested. I know she is part Dalmatian and looks and acts like an APBT. Anyway, the point is that I had someone tell me that she could have been picked up to be used as a bait dog or sold by druggies to dog fighters. I was half out of my head when she finally surfaced because of these concerns and it was also getting dark.
I think what actually happened is that someone spooked her. I hope that they did not hurt her. She stayed underneath someone’s camper for five hours. That is not normal behavior for my dog. I had taken her over to a neighbor’s camper to cheer the neighbor up. Cici loves this woman and I had taken her over there before yesterday. I will not take her over there again because when I went back to get her, the woman did not even know that Cici was missing, nor did she even come over to apologize to me, nor help me and others look for her.
By the way, I did remember to Call Home Again, to let them know that she was lost. They will contact all local authorities for you with the dog’s photo and microchip info and will let you know if anyone has found the dog. Good service. And I asked all the neighbors I could find and asked for their help. And as I drove around, I asked everyone I could see and talk to if they saw my dog. I also asked my online friends to pray, send good thoughts, vibes, send Cici and me light, for her to be found safe and sound before dark, asap. And a bunch of doggie mamas responded favorably to being asked and shared the news. A whole bunch of networking paid off.
A Yorkie and an Aussie Shepherd and a pit bull, really?
Ok, now onto the Newsweek article. Read it if you will.
Here are my comments about it:
I appreciate the overall stop labeling all dogs as pit bulls and leaving them in shelters. I do however want to clear up a couple of important things.
1. There are more like 20 breeds that can be labeled pit bull including mastiffs, pit bull terriers, the ones you mentioned and more.
2. The myth about locking jaws is a terrible myth. Talk to any vet or dog expert or dog owner, even.
It is a myth that keeps the dogs banned and deemed dangerous, scary, mean and vicious. Dog fighters and others who get their macho on from training dogs to be mean love these types of myths but the people who really love dogs and pit bulls know this is just a bunch of dangerous hype.
Not true, no such mechanism as a locking jaw. I know personally. I have opened up my dog’s mouth when she was latched onto something and did not want to let go. Terriers can be very stubborn and persistent. When they want something, they want it. And I have even stuck my hands into her mouth to get something out of there that she did not want to let go of. Like a child’s saying NO NO NO, this is a canine’s way of saying No, I want this and I am not going to let go of it. No locking jaw mechanism, just a stubborn terrier.
By the way, I emailed Newsweek with my comments and also commented on their Twitter. Google them and let them know what you think.
My comment to Newsweek paid off, here it is:
Thank you so much for your comment on my article. I deleted the part about locked jaws and added a correction at the bottom of the article saying that locked jaws are a myth. The last thing I want is to make dogs labeled as pit bulls appear dangerous or scary in any way.
For your comment on other breeds labeled as pit bulls, I didn’t say that the three breeds I mentioned were the only breeds labeled as pit bulls, just that they are the most commonly labeled breeds. So a correction won’t be necessary, but thank you for the information. Hopefully one day we won’t have any breed labels.
Mean dogs and dog bites / attacks
Below is what dog experts know to be red flags that can lead to dog bites / attacks.
Dog experts agree that the most dangerous types of dogs include:
1. unfixed (not spayed, not neutered)
2. unsocialized and untrained (dogs left chained up 24/7 and not part of the family)
3. abused (dogs treated cruelly, hurt physically, verbally and / or used in unhealthy ways*)
4. sick (a dog that is hurt or sick)
5. mamas with puppies (watch out for mamas guarding their babies)
6. roaming in packs (dogs roaming the streets with no human guardian)
7. left alone with children (NEVER leave a dog alone with a child, NEVER)
8. an unknown dog (a dog that is not known to you). Get to know the dog slowly, through a fence, perhaps or with the owner/guardian.
LISTEN Up if the owner/guardian of a dog says that their dog is mean or vicious or whatever, BELIEVE THEM. They KNOW their dog, so BEWARE.
Please notice that in NONE of the above scenarios are breeds mentioned. Because ANY dog can be mean, vicious, attack or bite another dog or a human being. And statistics show that the dogs that do bite and / or attack are dogs in any and all of the categories shown above.
This is why Breed Specific Legislation does not work because bans and BSL target various breeds of dogs. And it is not because a dog is a certain breed that a dog bites or attacks. It is because of the red flag factors above. There can also be genetic imbalances and chemistry in dogs that make them react or respond in vicious ways (born with a defect).
*Dogs that are overbred, used in dog fighting, used as bait dogs and other such cases can be put into the abused category).
Better to be safe than sorry. Evaluate each dog on an individual basis and know dog’s body language and the red flags above. These will enable you to be responsible, prepared and able to prevent dog bites and attacks. Please share and educate others.
True life example:
A very small dog with a mean disposition who barks, growls and snaps at other dogs got a lesson the other day when she approached the wrong dog, a larger dog, a dog that was not playing. The larger dog taught that small dog a lesson and the owner was very glad because his dog was cruising for a bruising and he knew it.
Now hopefully the small dog will think twice before snapping, growling and showing off her mean attitude to larger dogs (and maybe other dogs in general? one can only hope).