This was this guys response:
I approve sir.
Holy shit this discussion pisses me off.
I’ve written and deleted 4 different versions of this, just because they turn in to me ranting unintelligibly.
So…… I’ll try again.
1- Is there a breed called Pit Bull? Yes. Yes, there is a breed called Pit Bull. The UKC started registering the American Pit Bull Terrier in 1898. So. If you ever get into the discussion of “IS there a breed called Pit Bull?” then unequivocally….. The answer is yes. There is no debate. Yes.
2- Are the dogs people refer to as Pit Bulls actually UKC APBT’s? No. I’d kiss your entire asshole if we ran into a “Pit Bull” on the street that had UKC papers.
3- Does that matter at all? No. Not one bit. And there’s a lot of reasons why.
Pit Bulls were bred for function. That function determined their look. Same reason most Olympic Weightlifters look similar. And most NBA players look similar. And they tend not to look like each other. Function dictates form. The UKC was able to set a standard, because they looked true to type. But….. No pit ref ever asked for papers. And the dog men that pitted their dogs would’ve bred in gopher blood if they thought it would’ve made a better dog. Jesus Christ……. Its a fucking Bull & Terrier cross from day one!!!!!!!!
So…… Even though there IS a registered APBT “breed”. There really is no such thing as a “pure” Pit Bull. They’ve been mixing blood into that breed from jump.
If one more person asks me if my dog is “pure”, I’m gonna punch them in the throat.
4- You will be discriminated against because your dog is a “Pit Bull” whether you have papers saying it’s a French Bulldog/Boxer cross or not. All “bully” crosses are taking the brunt of the misinformation machine, and complicit shitty owners. So, arguing that there’s “no such breed” still ain’t gonna get you in that apartment.
5- That fucking “Pick The Pit Bull” chart they pull out to prove BSL wrong is so NOT helpful. Trying to convince people that they can’t “find” the Pit Bull, does nothing to change their minds about what they THINK about Pit Bulls. It’s like saying segregating a person based on race is not cool, because of the difficulty in properly identifying their race. NOT that that shit is just WRONG. Stop muddying the water. Want to help defend these dogs…… learn about them. Then defend them. Don’t play the red herring game and say “you can’t even find one….. nanny nanny boo boo”.
Summary: The UKC officially “recognized” the type of dog the pit dogmen created a long time ago. I can recognize that type of dog when I see them outside whether they have papers or not. The fact that your dog doesn’t have papers won’t save you from BSL. The fact that your dog isn’t even remotely that old pit type of dog won’t save you from BSL. The fact that prejudicial douchebags can’t pick a UKC papered Pit bull out of a “leading” line up won’t save you from BSL. Saying there’s no such breed won’t save you from BSL.
You need to understand the “breed” so you can defend it well.
We need to cut down on irresponsible breeders AND owners. (of ALL dogs, not just these)
We need to train our dogs to be ambassadors for this breed so we can start to make a difference.
Ok….. I suppose I’m all ranted out.
I’ve gotten this question a few times in the last couple of days. Thought I’d share my response here since a few other people may have the same question. Enjoy:
Question: “What are your thoughts on people who tie a tug and let the dog hang? ……..What’s the purpose?”
(old school shot of a tree Spring Pole)
My Answer: “Back in the day Spring Poles were just ways to develop grip and drive. They would put dogs on them and let them rip. Most dogs didn’t have an out so they would break stick them off the hide/tug. This is CLASSIC agitation. Take the dog up pulling on a 2 inch collar going apeshit. Let them get it and go NUTS. Then….. Literally pry them off! Makes a ton of drive. Not to mention physically conditions their wrestling, and biting musculature. That said….. There were a lot of stuff in old school Keeps/Pit Dogmanship that can be super useful if done a little different. Spring Poles are one of them. Typically everyone now knows that tug can be a great way of training your dog. Builds great obedience, and impulse control. Develops relationship. And, satisfies a very biologically appropriate style of play. Spring Poles have all those same benefits…… AND……
1- MORE impulse control. The tug is being directly controlled by you. Which means “some” of what keeps them from early strikes is spatial/social pressure. And “some” of what makes them out is you “deading” the toy (-P) to enforce the command. Well….. If the toy is inherently self reinforcing and not being controlled…… Their impulse control must be SOLID. And their out must be BOMBPROOF. Because, when you say out, they “can” keep going. That’s a HUGE jump in impulse control.
2- Increased area of influence. For you to send away, out, recall, down at distance etc…. your obedience from a distance has to be solid. Most people can say down and get compliance at 2 ft. At 20…. Not so much. compliance from your dog at 20 ft, in the face of an available, HUGE temptation…… That’s monster training.
3- Real world translation of skill. If you can out and down at a distance….. Or recall your dog OFF a spring pole, you have a much better chance of calling them off a squirrel!
4- People have adopted WAAAAAAY to much dog. There are a gang of nice little old ladies that are adopting Pits. Good for them. But they couldn’t play tug with their dog to save their fucking life. That’s a huge bummer. That dog will forever miss out on an amazing activity. And that owner will miss out on a great training modality. a trainer can do a few sessions and get the dog working on a spring pole. Then help them put one up. Get them all set. Then,,,,, Granny can work that dog like a champ! That’s a HUGE benefit. Really fills a hole for new, over their head adopters.
(modern day Bully on a constructed pole Tell me that dog’s not the epitome of happy)
Here’s one of my dogs during their 3’rd session learning Spring Pole. As he gets better it’ll get higher. (the higher it is, the more it “fights”, the more impulse control it requires)
So…. There you are. Why I like, and teach people how to use the old school spring pole!
Maybe now I’ll put up a “How To Make One” article.
I have been asked to come to Monaca, PA and give a workshop on my approach to the Bully Breeds!
August 30th, 9am.
Lecture Portion: We will cover the history of the breed, how it truly affects temperament, and my approach to helping the troubled ones. Also, which of the old school methods may still have a place in a modern Pit Bulls life.
Working Portion: My approach to foundation training that I use to work with these high drive game dogs we’ve all come to love. These are techniques that have been developed from my history with game dogs, and the most innovative, effective trainers in the country!
For more info, or to reserve a spot, please contact Paul @ http://www.abcaninetraining.com/
Look forward to seeing you there.
Ok. Ring the bells. Blow smoke out of the chimney….
I’ve changed my mind about something.
Now, if you know me, you realize how big a deal that is. I’m a tad stubborn. But, I think it’s only a fool that keeps their old position in the face of new evidence. So here is my revelation:
All Pit Bulls are not genetically dog aggressive!!!
(Not all pit bulls are genetically predisposed towards aggression. And, while it may be more prevalent in this breed, it is still extremely rare. They aren’t ALL born to fight.)
Now, in the world of dog rescue, this has been the accepted position for a LONG time. And I have always disagreed. And it’s started a lot of “discussions”.
See, I grew up around the world of fighting dogs. And what I saw, was dogs that were clearly aggro to dogs and totally cool to people. So, when I went into rescue, I was in the position of convincing people that “just because they are aggressive to dogs, doesn’t mean they are aggressive to people”.
But, then as I got more into rescue circles I saw MANY Pits that fought, socialize with other dogs. I couldn’t resolve that in my head. Of course, and no one in rescue likes to admit this, but….. There IS a higher predilection for fighting with bullies than other breeds. And their play style is OBVIOUSLY harder. So…. There is a difference. But…… How to wrap my brain around it?
I think I figured it out.
Their communication sucks.
Wait…. No….. That’s not it.
Well, it is technically, but I figured out the reason their communication sucks!
My new mentor, Chad Mackin, is one of the most respected experts in rehabilitative socialization. And he said “Aggression is not a trait….. It’s a behavior“. That BLEW MY MIND. Because I had always thought the increased dog aggression I saw in Pits was genetic. But in the last few years I’ve successfully integrated multiple Pits with aggressive histories into my home. And I thought I had just been “managing and preventing” their fighting. But after reading about Chad’s work in socializing….. I knew there was more to it.
So…. What are the traits that we bred into them that created the aggression behavior.
Well, we bred them with a SUPER high pain threshold. And Lot’s of drive (they adrenalize easily). So. So what? Why would that make them fight?
Well, fights are painful. So fear of injury and pain are a deterrent for most animals. But we bred Pits to have crazy high pain tolerance. So, we removed one barrier.
Now, we get interesting. In the wild…. Fights are expensive. If you get a cut…. You can die of an infection. If you get a broken leg, you can be killed by a predator. Or not hunt. Not good. So smart animals avoid fights. Problem is When you’re in adrenaline mode, your ability to make choices goes way down. Chad likes to say that “dogs can’t make the right choices, unless they’re in the frame of mind that allows the to make choices”. He means, that when a dog is adrenalized, he CAN’T make choices. He reacts. Well, we bred these guys to be “drivey”, “motivated”, whatever. What that means is we bred them to get into the frame of mind that stops thinking about the cost of what they’re about to do is. And that removes the last reason.
And that’s how fights happen.
The “calming signals” that dogs throw at one another are designed to let the other dog know, that they don’t want a problem. But these signals are also called “stress signals”! And that’s accurate. See, when a dog feels wary of a possible fight…. They feel stressed. And they throw those signals. The other dog sees them and throws their own. Then both see the other as wanting to avoid the fight.
Here’s a super common “Pit Bull gets in a fight” scenario:
Pitty runs up to another dog throwing ZERO calming signals, because he doesn’t feel like it’s necessary. After all, he’s not scared. Then, the other dog starts throwing signals, and the Pit doesn’t recognize them because he’s either never been around other dogs, or at least other non-bullies. So, he doesn’t have much experience reading them. So he keeps being “rude”. The other dog goes up the continuum and gives some “warning signals”. The Pitty has no idea what this dog is “getting aggressive” for and goes into adrenaline, which renders him unable to consider the risk reward of a fight. Boom…. Fight happens.
If that happens enough. The Pit will get conditioned to go into adrenaline habitually around other dogs. Now you have an “aggressive” dog.
Looking back to my childhood, Dogmen were adamant about not letting game dogs around other dogs out of the pit. They always said it was because they COULDN’T be around other dogs. But maybe (even if subconsciously) they just didn’t want them to learn how to socialize. Dogs that read signals don’t habitually adrenalize. And a thinking dog may choose to turn. In a pit you can’t afford to have your dog “considering” whether of not it “wants” to fight. If your dog hesitates…… Doesn’t IMMEDIATELY scratch…. The fight is over. So I think their segregation from other dogs was more of a cause than a symptom of aggression.
Great….. But what do we do about it?
Well, if you catch a dog before they are habitually adrenalized around dogs, you just have to teach them how to communicate. That means spending time with them socializing and being the moderator, or bouncer. You have to watch the other dog for those signals, and enforce them. I watch for the other dog to give a lip lick or what not, and I will go in and split them. Gently. Not loud or fast. Just enforce the signal. I praise (calmly) for good signals. Hell I praise for good reading! And as I gently lead them they slowly learn how to communicate, and I intervene less.
If they’re already HABITUALLY adrenalizing….. You have to get them balanced enough around other dogs that the above process will even have a chance to work!
That’s gonna be a project unto itself. But it’s doable.
My two males have hospitalized each other a few times, and were BOTH habitually adrenalizing on sight. It took me 4-5 months. But now…. They play, and lounge together. They sleep on the couch together. They even wrestle, and play. Hard. And they give signals!
And more importantly……. They listen to them!!!!
Just wanted to say that I have changed my view. Pit Bulls are NOT naturally dog aggressive.
They are naturally bad communicators, and that leads to fights. And they adrenalize easy, and if that becomes habit the will BEHAVE aggressively habitually. You still have to take more care with them than most other breeds. But they are not born wanting to fight.
“Aggression is a behavior. Not a trait.” -Chad Mackin
Those simple words changed my understanding of my beloved breed.
I found this on petsadvisor.com and wanted to share. I know we deal with a lot of the dogs that fall into the “difficult” category, but they aren’t all “bad” bullies! Here’s some awesome examples of ambassadors of the breed!
Purebreds, mixes or dogs with “block heads” get labeled as pit bulls, and media stories have sensationalized the supposed dangers of these dogs. Their owners have been fighting back for years and continue to advocate for them.
Despite these reportedly “dangerous” dogs, there are many of them contradicting the hype by being ambassadors of the breed through their work. Here we look at some of the pit bulls giving the breed a good name.
Blueberry loves to visit with people as a therapy dog. By: Blueberry the Pit Bull Therapy Dog
The 6-year-old pittie with a fruit-related moniker was adopted from the Milton Animal League and works as a therapy dog in Massachusetts. Blueberry, affectionately called “Booberry” by her owner, visits rehab hospitals, nursing homes, humane societies, hospice patients, universities, and homes for the deaf and blind. When this dog is not working, Blueberry’s favorite activity is rolling in the grass.
Patients confined to a facility, some temporary or permanent, look forward to Blueberry’s visits to ease the loneliness or remind them of life at home. One of Blueberry’s regular visits is to a patient named Dottie, who said the visits make her happy. “I am so lonely here. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to feel a dog — her ears and body and soft fur. It is so … perfect.”
When Blueberry isn’t spreading cheer with patients, she attends BSL awareness walks with her owner and continues to change people’s minds “one pit bull at a time.”
Lilly is a symbol of canine bravery and loyalty. By: Lilly the Hero Pit Bull
The dog that made headlines when she moved her unconscious owner off train tracks and took the hit of a freight train continues to be an ambassador for the breed. The 8-year-old pit bull named Lilly was adopted by David Lanteigne from the Animal Rescue League in Boston a few years before the event, and he and his family were by her side continuously during her recovery.
Despite losing a limb and having regular therapy appointments, Lilly bounced back and has been a familiar face in the fight against BSL. She attends BSL awareness walks with Lanteigne, makes public appearances and even has her own kissing booth. Lanteigne and his family set up a charity in her name to help other pitties in need.
The Lilly the Hero Dog Fund tries to help place homeless pitties by regularly listing dogs up for adoption or in need of fostering in addition to donating time, money and supplies to shelters and rescues. The fund regularly advocates against BSL, spreads awareness, holds events and fundraisers, and provides financial assistance to dogs in need. Lilly’s so busy with her fans (and meeting new ones) that she has a schedule!