Dog Training to Save a Life
BSL - Breed Specific Legislation
"Dog Training to Save a Life"
Who's life? Their life. The terriers (pit bull), rottweillers, shepherds and all the rest. Humans train dogs. We train them to sit, stay, roll over, jump, catch frisbees, fetch and attack. When someone knocks on your door and your dog starts barking, do you take him by the collar and open the door? Do you try to squirm around him while he's barking to answer it? Either one, your training the dog to be aggressive. If a dog breed becomes popular and its a breed used for guard work and encouraged to be aggressive. The Fatal Dog Bite Index goes up for that breed and mixes of that breed.
The babysitter shows up for your night out with her dog, a Standard Poodle. What do you do?
Breed Specific Legislation
Commonly known as BSL, breed specific legislation targets a specific breed or mixed breed of dog. BSL can invoke a wide range of requirements and/or limitations. When a city, county or state enacts BSL the targeted breed is then segragated and expected to obey the law.
The National Canine Research Council website has a FAQ section just for BSL questions here. The NCRC lists 16 dog breeds that were either banned or had restrictions on their ownership in the United States.
BSL's are losing favor in the public fortunately, but not soon enough for the pit bull terriers.
Dr. Spoke, L. Sinclair DVM, and Dr. Gilchrist conducted a study and offer their results in the article: Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998.
The pit bull lead the pack for dog bites, at least before 1992. Since then the breed of dog that leads the pack for fatal attacks is the Rottweiler. The Rottweiler outnumbered pit bull fatal bites 10:3. Since 1992 the popularity of the Rottweiler has grown tremendously and fatal attacks by Rottweiler's have tripled that of the Pit Bull.
The doctor's that performed and contributed to the study state "We believe that fatal bites should not be the primary factor driving public policy regarding dog bite prevention." They further state that "several interacting factors affect a dog's propensity to bite, including heredity, sex, early experience, socialization and training, health, reproductive status, quality of ownership and supervision and victim behavior." In otherwords, owner's taking responsibility in training their puppies to grow up and be nice dogs.
The enforcement of animal control laws such as the leash laws, preventing and picking up stray dogs and proper fencing will further reduce dog bites as well as proper training.
Another interesting point was that law enforcement had contact with the owners of dogs that have fatally bit someone. If educational and dog training interventions were in place some of these fatalities could have been avoided. In turn, veterinarians need to educate dog owners about socializing their pet, dog training and how to raise a dog to be non-aggressive. Teaching dog owners about breed profiles so they will have a better understanding of what is within their training ability would be of help. Often someone will adopt or purchase a puppy because it was "so cute" only to learn later, when the puppy is no longer "so cute", that the dog is beyond their ability of training. They simply did not anticipate what a handful some dogs can be.
Socializing your dog is an important step in their development to becoming non-aggressive.
A Very Touching Story - A Pit Bulls Love
I have never been attacked by a pit bull or any other dog. I can't even imagine the horror a dog attack must be to experience. I do know that my father was attacked by the family Doberman Pinscher when he was a child. Neither my father or myself would want to see all Doberman’s euthanized because he was attacked by one. He'd say, "Its not in the breed, its in the dog."
The research in this study was conducted by and for the United States government. Yet, Animal Control, which the last time I checked, is funded by the same United States government, makes it a practice to euthanize anything pit bull, anything. If a dog comes in to the shelter with any indication it may have Pit Bull in it, the dog will not be allowed adoption it is sentence to euthanasia.
Pit bull dogs became popular in the late 70’s thru the late 80's. This popularity increased statistics across the board for the Pit Bull merely because there were more of them per person. More people owned them. They were used predominantly for protection. They look terribly vicious and they're built like a tank. And the Pit Bull's that were not obtained, for intimidation and aggression, are incredible, sweet, intelligent and loyal pets. Unfortunately the aggressive Pit Bulls outnumbered the gentle family Pit Bulls. Now the gentle are euthanized with the aggressive regardless of their demeanor.
Since 1992 the Rottweiler has become a popular breed and the fatal dog bite statistics show it. Will Rottweiler's go the way of the Pit Bull? Will BSL prohibit the ownership of the Rottweiler breed? Or will people see the injustice we have created for these dogs and take the opportunity to train their dog to be respectful, socialize them to get along with others and basically love them like they deserve.