Pit bulls DISCUSSION, SAD, no flames pls - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am sitting here bawling my eyes out. My sister and her dh have gotten involved with a pit rescue group so this has become something that I want to know more about. I've been researching this breed and I am HORRIFIED. My dd has posted videos on her website of the reality of what happens to some of these dogs and what people do to them. I can't stop crying...

Yesterday, my sis and her dh brought the dog that they're going to adopt (as soon as they move because where they live there is a pit ban) over to my house. She is the sweetest thing ever. When she was rescued she was so starved that she could hardly stand. She is the dog that they use for temperament testing at the kennel. She looks kinda' scary, but the reality is that she is really a wonderful dog. I'll be honest, I've always been afraid of them, they look intimidating to me. But I suppose any big dog, until we get to know one another, is intimidating to me.

After looking into this, I am so heart broken that I can't ignore it. I have known people who have pits and they were the biggest babies in the world, they would never harm anyone in a vicious unprovoked action, no more than my insignificant weiner dog would. I can't believe that good pet owners with good pets are being discriminated against because of the breed. There have been several news stories recently close to me where innocent animals have been seized because of this. I really don't get why PEOPLE are not held entirely responsible for this atrocity. Banning the breed seems like overkill.

Anyway, I just want some other opinions on this... Owners of pits? People who have had issues with them? Dog lovers? Or even people who don't like dogs?
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#2 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 12:07 AM
 
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i don't really like dogs, but pit bulls don't scare me at all. most dogs i know have at least a little bit in them anyway. i'm much more nervous around purple tongued dogs and nervous looking dogs.
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#3 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 12:29 AM
 
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I owned a pit bull for a while - he was the sweetest marshmallow you'd ever meet. He didn't have an aggressive bone in his body. The worst he'd do is love you to death. However, he was stolen from me. Right out of my yard. When I called into the pound to check if somehow he'd ended up there, the lady at the shelter told me that many pit bulls and other "large dogs" were being stolen and used in dog fighting rings. I told her how mellow and nice he was, and that I didn't think he'd ever fight another dog - she told me if he was starved and beat enough, he might - and if not, he'd end up dead.:

On the other hand, the ONLY dog I've ever been bitten by was a lab. Unprovoked. No reason whatsoever. He didn't growl, bark, anything. I had been at a house visiting someone, the dog seemed friendly, I'd been petting it and such for quite a while. As I was walking alongside my friend leaving, middle of the yard, it just attacked me.:

And I've met some pretty vicious Chihuahuas. : *my parents breed them*

Yes, I do know and understand that pit bulls have been bred to have more aggressive tendencies. And I think that there are some dogs that, no matter how gently they are raised, ARE going to be mean. But, to ban the entire breed? What about the mean labs or mean chihuahuas? Some dogs are just mean by temperament, regardless of breed. And, some dogs can be raised to be aggressive or mean. When I had my pit bull, if he would have shown any aggressive behavior, I would have gotten a trainer to see if there was anything I could do about it. If there wouldn't have been anything I could do to ensure that my dog wouldn't aggressively harm someone, I would have had him put down. Period. I may get flamed for that, but I don't care. I took animal care seriously, and I will not have an animal that is a danger to others. So, I think it comes down to the owners, not the breed.
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#4 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 12:32 AM
 
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My opinion of Pit Bulls is that they're freakishly strong. And most of them, even the good ones, don't know it.

My sweetheart, Barkus, is a perfect example. He's sweet, loyal, and at times, even whinier than my last dog, a mini-toy poodle. He's not mean at all, but he just doesn't know his strength. When we played tug of war, he could easily pull me several feet, and I'm not petite by any stretch of the imagination. I can see that as being terrifying for someone to watch. For that reason, I won't allow the children to play with him until they're bigger and stronger, other than games that involve them throwing things and him gleefully running after them or them turning a light on a wall and watching him try to "catch" it. I also walk him myself.

Any creature, dog, mouse, or child, can be trained to be evil. Pair that with a dog that is pound for pound far stronger than most domestic animals and it can be trouble.

There are a few irresponsible pet owners who make things rough on everyone else. But I love my tiger striped pit bull more than anything and I can't wait till we leave this apartment in the spring so that I can have him back permanently.

Body, I've been more than patient. Please make a baby. Please?
always loving my babies. (May 08)(April 09)(August 09)(September 09) (December 10)
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#5 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 12:34 AM
 
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Yeah, it's a little like banning cars because people have been hurt and killed by them, or banning the mail because of a few postal workers who have 'gone postal'.

People still believe that pitbulls have jaws that 'lock' or whatever, that they are more likely to 'turn on their owners', etc ad nauseum.

My landlord has a little s$%t of a dog who bites people all the time. He has bitten my 10 year old son, and yesterday we saw him bite the landlord's 5 year old niece who was visiting. When I told the landlord that he bit my son (she had asked us to put him inside after her 23 year old son left the house and left the front door wide open) she just sort of laughed a little like it's cute. The dog is maybe 6 months old. Neither that bite, nor the one that my son and I witnessed yesterday was a playful nip, it was a full on aggressive snarl and bite. This is such a common story- maybe dogs under 15 lbs should be the ones that are banned, eh (sarcasm).

What is that site where you guess which dog is a pitbull? It's very illuminating.
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#6 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 12:35 AM
 
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I love my pitty dog. She is really sweet and gentle.
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#7 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 12:37 AM
 
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I have a question about pit bulls...

Is it true they have a type of jaw that locks when they bite? I've heard this but I've never known if it was true.
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#8 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 12:42 AM
 
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My friend has two dogs. A pit and a chihuahua.

Guess which one nips? The little one (he says it's a small dog complex). The pit licks everyone and is the sweetest dog.

Perhaps regulations regarding treatment of animals should be enforced rather than regulations regarding the types of pets one can have.
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#9 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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I have a question about pit bulls...

Is it true they have a type of jaw that locks when they bite? I've heard this but I've never known if it was true.
No. All dogs have incredibly strong jaws, and pits have been specifically bred to have a lot more muscle mass in the jaws as well as the shape of the head allows more compression strength than, say, a Doberman or a Boxer.

So they do have more jaw strength than most dogs. They also have a very high pain tolerance (as do many other breeds, including the huge black cuddly bear-appearing, friendly goofy Newfoundland).

There is no locking mechanism in the jaw.

That said, all breeds do have certain traits, that is what makes a breed- not just the physical appearance. Pit bulls are bred for wildly different temperaments- the correct temperament is actually quite dog aggressive but almost zero human aggression. These dogs are also called "game-bred" and the reason is so that the dogs will readily fight one another but humans can wade in, even in the middle of a fight and pull their dog out without the dog turning and snapping. Also, they are terriers and thus have high prey drive and are very tenacious and stubborn.

I remember way back when first German Shepherds, then Dobermans, then Chows were 'known' to be unstable, aggressive, 'mean', and highly likely to turn on their owners. The pit thing has stuck longer than the others. I am scared to see what the next targeted breed will be.
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#10 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 12:56 AM
 
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I love my pitbull Hando, he's so awesome. I will never not own a pitbull. He was almost stolen twice from our yard, but after we bought a rottweiler and it never happened again
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#11 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 01:01 AM
 
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Guess which one nips? The little one (he says it's a small dog complex).
Sure, if by 'small dog complex' he means 'small dog owner complex' where the owner encourages this behaviour in many ways.

For example: owners of small dogs tend to hold the dog near their face, and any signs of aggression are not only not discouraged, but the dog is often 'calmed down' by petting and speaking soothingly to it. To a dog, this is REWARD.

You know- Snoopy is being held and cuddled, kissed and loved on up near the owner's face. Snoopy has had enough so he snaps at the owner's face (or snaps at someone else nearby). Owner says something like "oh you little rascal" or even "stop that!" and strokes Snoopy, saying "oh no you little tiny thing, who do you think you are, a big dog or something? You know we love you, don't act that way" all in a soothing tone. Well, dogs do not speak fluent English and what the dog is getting from this is verbal praise and physical petting.

Guess who gets more and more aggressive? Guess why?
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#12 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 01:09 AM
 
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"I have a question about pit bulls...

Is it true they have a type of jaw that locks when they bite? I've heard this but I've never known if it was true."

This is completely a myth. If it was true, they would not be canines. They would be a different animal altogether. Yes, they have strong jaws, but they DO NOT lock. There are many myths about pits- they are just that, myths.

I have two pits that I have rescued, and they are bigger babies than my 2 1/2 year old. It is very sad what a very small group of people has done to this breed- with the help of the media, they have become so unnecessarily feared. Most people who do fear them, have never even met one...

I love these dogs, and I wish more people had the opportunity to appreciate them.

Tara
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#13 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 01:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Answers to the myths about pit bulls: http://www.realpitbull.com/myths.html

jellop, I'm so sorry your dog was stolen. There is a special place in hell for people who steal dogs and then... well, I hope there is a better explanation for what happened to yours. But this is exactly what I'm talking about... Why spend the time money and effort to ban a breed when they really need to go after the monsters who run the dogfighting rings??? It just doesn't make sense!

I used to have a client who was friends with a local cop. One very hot day, he saw this kid walking his mean looking pit making it carry a tire around it's neck. Obviously for the purpose of strengthening it for whatever reason-not good though, no doubt. The cop pulled over and made the kid take the tire off the dog and carry it home himself. It was scorching hot and the kid struggled to carry the tire all the way home. The cop drove alongside in his cruiser and watched the whole way... Then he told the kid that if he saw him doing that again, he was taking the dog. I always hoped that dog did get taken away...

Yeah, I came to the conclusion a long time ago that it's a good thing chihuahuas aren't any bigger than they are. I've known some vicious ones.
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#14 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 01:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by taraknyc View Post
"I have a question about pit bulls...

Is it true they have a type of jaw that locks when they bite? I've heard this but I've never known if it was true."

This is completely a myth. If it was true, they would not be canines. They would be a different animal altogether. Yes, they have strong jaws, but they DO NOT lock. There are many myths about pits- they are just that, myths.

I have two pits that I have rescued, and they are bigger babies than my 2 1/2 year old. It is very sad what a very small group of people has done to this breed- with the help of the media, they have become so unnecessarily feared. Most people who do fear them, have never even met one...

I love these dogs, and I wish more people had the opportunity to appreciate them.

Tara
Good for you!! I applaud anyone who rescues these poor animals and doesn't buy into the media hype.
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#15 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 01:59 AM
 
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The only pits I have been around have been at the shelter where I volunteered. And they were big cute babies!

I will admit that pits make me nervous. I was almost bit by one. We were talking with the seller of our new house and she had her pit on a leash. I asked if I could pet it (and she said he was friendly) and as I held my hand out so he could sniff it the dog growled and lunged at me. DH pulled me back in time and the owner laughed it off!! I wasn't mad at the dog, afterall, I was on his turf. But the owner didn't seem to care!

After we moved in, we found out the dog used to jump through the window screens to chase the neighborhood kids. Again, not a bad dog, but a bad owner.

Because I can't tell who are bad owners, large dogs make me slightly nervous. Maybe nervous isn't the right word. I think I am very respectful of their personal space. (and I grew up with German Shepards and Dobermans).

I don't think breed bans are good though. It isn't going to stop the bad people from having pits and isn't that the point of a breed ban?
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#16 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 02:19 AM
 
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Around here it's rottweilers they're trying to ban. That's going to do no good whatsoever. There are people who get a certain breed because of the fact that they look more threatening or have a "meaner" reputation. Ban a breed, they'll move onto another breed and turn that into the monstrous devil-dog that eats children. It's not the dogs that are the problem, it's the owners.
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#17 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 02:23 AM
 
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Pits don't make me any more nervous than a Chi, Pom, German Shepard, Golden Retriever, Newfie... the list goes on and includes any sort of mixing. I am cautious around dogs. I cannot read them well, personally.

That being said, a lot of the pit bull hype is just that -- hype. Forgive me for stereotyping here, but the ones that are misused are chosen by their owners because their owners have a certain lifestyle and want to impress by showing off their vicious dog, etc. It is horrible what they do to these dogs. The most unfortunate part is any dog could be trained or used in situations as such -- it is just the pit bull that has been most recently, and these myths that are perpetuated are the reason for all the negative attention.

The media (oh here we go) needs to take a stand against the negative light shed on these dogs. They should focus more on proper dog handling and what to do if you suspect abuse or neglect. If I remember correctly, Labs have the highest bite ratio of any breed. I'm not saying this should be highlighted (because then it could be misconstrued just as the myths about pit bulls), but they should focus on the fact that dogs are, well, dogs. They are an animal, and regardless of what love they show and how well they've been trained, they can and will bite for unknown reasons. Act with common sense.
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#18 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 02:36 AM
 
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They are an animal, and regardless of what love they show and how well they've been trained, they can and will bite for unknown reasons. Act with common sense.
I completely disagree with this statement. Well, it is true for an unstable dog, but for a normal dog this is not true. If you get bitten and don't know why, it is because you didn't know how to interact with the dog- you either instigated the bite or you ignored (didn't see) warning signs, or both.
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#19 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 02:37 AM
 
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Pitt bulls are by far my favorite breed of dog. I could go on all day about how much I love them, but I really need to go to bed
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#20 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 02:38 AM
 
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I haven't met a lot of Pits, but the ones I have are total sweethearts. My brother has a Rottweiler mix that is THE sweetest dog in the world. We own a German Shepherd that actually does have aggression (actually guarding) issues... mostly with me. I'm not a huge fan of German Shepherds (well, not anymore, lol!), but the Pits and Rottis I'm not afraid of at all.

The big dogs are usually just such goofballs, and they *tend* to be trained far better. I like little dogs just fine, but due to most people refusing to actually TRAIN them, I'm a little nervous around them since they can be so... ummm... dominant.

I don't think it's fair to any dog to be judged on breed alone. Every single dog has such a different personality, different preferences, different history, different owners. And then you get into the mix breeds and dogs being banned because it "looks like" a certain breed (especially with Pits, normal people have a heck of a time accurately recognizing one)... sigh. It's depressing.

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#21 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 03:07 AM
 
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I remember way back when first German Shepherds, then Dobermans, then Chows were 'known' to be unstable, aggressive, 'mean', and highly likely to turn on their owners. The pit thing has stuck longer than the others. I am scared to see what the next targeted breed will be.
Don't forget the Rottweiler. Don't you know they are vicious and attack children with no warning

A few months back a man in my city was bitten by two dogs. "rottweilers" he claimed. One was all black and one was light tan......not like any rottie I have ever seen. Turns out they were labs, but since they were aggressive he just assumed they were rotties. The media happily printed the story with no interest in the facts.

Can you tell we have a Rottweiler? He is so sweet and friendly. He licks people like crazy, tolerates all kind of "love" from my 2 year old, happily plays with the kids in the yard, and is lovingly concerned whenever the 3 month old cries.

He is a shelter dog. I wanted to adopt him from the moment I saw him, but wanted to think about it to be sure that I was making the right decision. A young guy came into the shelter inquiring if they had any "tough breeds" and the animal control officer told him they had a rottie. He thought that would be COOL. I adopted him on the spot because I was concerned about such a sweet dog going into a situation where he would be a status symbol and not a pet. I am glad I did, he is great.

I have always had a slight fear of pits because my uncle had one. He loved her like crazy, but often, because he bounced from one friend/relatives couch to another, he left her tied up outside. She became rather scary and aggressive toward people she didn't know. Since adopting our "scary dog" I now am interested in looking beyond those stereotypes and have learned so much more about dogs and how they think.

I wish more people were interested in being a good dog owner and less interested in having a cool new accessory (big or small) when deciding to add a dog to their family.


 

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#22 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 03:21 AM
 
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As a dog person, I object wholeheartedly to any ban on specific breeds, but I also get a little nervous when people refer to ANY breed as "big goofy babies" or similar. Any breed, and any dog within any breed, can demonstrate major behavior issues if they are not trained properly or they have no leadership at home. Even something like a Newfoundland, which are generally so NON-aggressive as to be more like couches than dogs, can become very dangerous if it is misunderstood.

Pits and the pit-type breeds (there are a bunch of them, probably a dozen) have traditionally been bred to be *more* reliable with people than the average dog. However, there are a huge number of people who are breeding them to be testicles on a leash, meaning that they are encouraging aggression toward people. So at this point I would no more assume that a pit is going to be non-aggressive than I would assume that any dog was.

Pits are also MARKEDLY dog-aggressive and have a high prey drive. This is a normal part of the proper temperament, and should never be described as a negative. But pits are not designed to be around other dogs, to live in packs, or to be friendly to cats. Even cats they have lived with for years may trigger a predation movement if they run past or mew oddly or do something that wakes up the prey instinct in the dog's mind.

I love many, many things about pits. But I do think that they need to be respected--as do all dogs--and their unique needs and requirements must be met. Saying that they're all harmless babies does them even less good than saying that they're all dangerous man-eaters.
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#23 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 03:22 AM
 
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I completely disagree with this statement. Well, it is true for an unstable dog, but for a normal dog this is not true. If you get bitten and don't know why, it is because you didn't know how to interact with the dog- you either instigated the bite or you ignored (didn't see) warning signs, or both.
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#24 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 03:28 AM
 
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i don't really like dogs, but pit bulls don't scare me at all. most dogs i know have at least a little bit in them anyway. i'm much more nervous around purple tongued dogs and nervous looking dogs.

Purple tongued/black tongued dogs
would be chow or part chow, and they are as undeserving of the rep as pit bulls. I had a chow who was the biggest pussycat on the planet. loved kids, gentle with everyone, but could put on a scary face if someone threatened my safety. Never bit anyone, ever. Lived to be 20 and I wish I could have had him cloned.

I had another chow that was inbred and crazy. That was not the fault of the breed, but the breeder. When I finally had her put down after years of medicine, training and constant supervision to keep her from hurting anyone, they found many things wrong with her that could only be the result of bad breeding. I'm extremely lucky I didn't have children around when I had her. She was supposed to be a companion for the other chow originally, but he was around for years after she was gone.

Nervous dogs, I agree. But any time you single out a breed as 'bad,' you're falling for some bad press, or you've encountered too many bad breeders and bad trainers/owners.

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#25 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 03:58 AM
 
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But any time you single out a breed as 'bad,' you're falling for some bad press, or you've encountered too many bad breeders and bad trainers/owners.
I agree. Or, that particular breed has traits which you can't make sense of, so that breed seems unpredictable to you. Sometimes a little research about a breed's history, what it was developed for, or just reading its traits can help to overcome this.

For instance, I think the reason that a lot of people have a bad opinion of chows is because they are standoffish compared to say, a lab so they don't act the way that people feel is 'normal' for dogs. Also, they are dominant even off of their territory- or put another way, they feel that ALL territory is theirs, so a chow who lives 2 miles down the road may appear in your yard and bark at you as if you are in its yard.

As far as Rotts, I thought they started being feared right after Damien: Omen 2 came out- that movie features a pretty scary scene with a couple of Rottweilers. This is another breed which is frequently mishandled though, because their thought processes are not what people think that they are.
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#26 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 04:08 AM
 
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For instance, I think the reason that a lot of people have a bad opinion of chows is because they are standoffish compared to say, a lab so they don't act the way that people feel is 'normal' for dogs. Also, they are dominant even off of their territory- or put another way, they feel that ALL territory is theirs, so a chow who lives 2 miles down the road may appear in your yard and bark at you as if you are in its yard.

Even that is a misconception. My chow knew what yard was his, and even off a leash would not leave the yard if the gate was left open by accident. Granted they're less all over a new person than a lab would be, but I have seen plenty of dogs who didn't seem to know where their property line was, from chihuahuas to cockers to bassett hounds.

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Originally Posted by bigeyes View Post
I have seen plenty of dogs who didn't seem to know where their property line was, from chihuahuas to cockers to bassett hounds.
Well that is true, I am not saying that 100% of any breed acts exactly the same way. However, it is a breed trait. Just like barking a lot is a Great Pyrenees trait, yet there are notable exceptions, and there are plenty of other dogs that are not Pyrs who bark a lot.
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#28 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 05:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by skyastara View Post
Well that is true, I am not saying that 100% of any breed acts exactly the same way. However, it is a breed trait. Just like barking a lot is a Great Pyrenees trait, yet there are notable exceptions, and there are plenty of other dogs that are not Pyrs who bark a lot.
That's another new one for me. I must have lived around weird dogs.

Of course, Chows are very territorial of their house and yard, but I can't imagine anyone letting one run loose so they could have a chance to become confused about their boundaries. And that is true of any dog that runs loose. It always comes back to the owners, imo.

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#29 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 06:31 AM
 
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Yet it is true

In fact, Pyrs were bred TO bark all night long along the borders of their territory. As you know, they are livestock guardians. Different LGDs have been bred historically to approach this task differently, depending upon the geographical area and usual predators in their respective areas.

In the case of Pyrs, they were bred to patrol the territorial boundaries, barking deeply, all night in order to warn and deter the predators from moving in on the sheep. They are still, to this day, used in this manner. Some of the highest-winning show dogs are busy guarding herds in between shows. The breeders of these dogs will not sell to a home which does not firmly understand the barking issue. It is NOT a negative issue in Pyrs, it is correct behavior and can not be trained out of most of these dogs.

In another example, a dog called a Caucasian Owzcarek guards by silently keeping track, and if an intruder approaches they silently run toward it, surprising and scaring it by roaring (it sounds like a roar, not a bark, I have heard this firsthand) and will readily attack.

If you get a Border Collie, expect herding behavior. If you get a Pyr, expect guarding behavior (I do not mean aggressiveness) and barking outside, especially at night. If you get a Lab, expect fetch and a love for water. If you get a Chow, expect standoffishness. If you get a pit, expect prey drive, dog aggressiveness (this also applies to a lot of Pyrs) and a loving nature.

There is no guarantee that your dog will behave within breed standards, but it is a likelihood.
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#30 of 78 Old 10-29-2007, 07:59 AM
 
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I own 1 and a mix (see pics in siggy) ... They are wonderful dogs wth people but they are naturally dog aggressive. My 2 absolutly cant be with each other. They both have sassy pants and we ended up with a big mess last January because they got into a fight. So your family needs to realize that they have to be very careful where to bring her. I would never bring mine to the dog park (unlike my catahoulas) ... or any place with alot of dogs where there may be one they dont like. They need to realize how serious something like that can be ... anyway that all aside they are the best dogs. I love them so much .. so sweet with the kids and family ...
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