Sunday, May 9, 2010

A first and a pit bull related vent

In all my years of being a trainer yesterday I had a first, I forgot a client! Yeah I know, not very professional. The lesson here is that for a calendar to be effective you need to look at it daily. Fortunately my "the trainer forgot your session" discount helped in my apology. They were very gracious about it but I felt like a complete idiot.

It was a great session with a fabulous pit/boxer mix that was adopted from a local shelter. The disturbing part was what happened when the owner took their sweet pup to the veterinarian. The vet pronounced it a "horrible" breed that would grow up to turn on them at the age of 2 or 3 years. Because "that's what happens with that breed".

Seriously?? And this is a professional?? It is mind boggling. Stick to practicing medicine please and leave the behavior work to those who know better.

Thankfully it was a dog savey owner who knew better but still had some concerns. We had a long talk about media hysteria, pit bulls and warning signals in dogs. (how not to teach a dog not to growl and why, how people miss warning signals, and the development of the breed to BE people friendly)

The sad part of this story is that I actually knew someone who got this same warning years ago from a different vet that listened and took the dog back to the shelter they got it from. It was a boxer mix. They thought if the vet said it then it must be true. (thankfully the dog got re-adopted and not euthanised for looking like it might be a pitbull)

A dog is a dog first and a breed second. All dogs are individuals and how they are raised can also come into play. There are just to many factors to say all _______ will act like this about ANYTHING. Media hysteria over the years is killing this breed. Unfortunatly some vets are helping them do it. Educate yourself people, there are no evil breeds, but there are stupid people.

And point to ponder, if pit bulls are so bad, wouldn't professional trainers refuse to work with them? Funny how I don't know of ANY trainer that has ever refused to work with a pitbull or any bully breed. So as my step-dad would say, stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

This is Worf, not the dog mentioned above but a shelter dog who was killed for being a pitbull. For those that haven't seen his story already it is here:


Katie said...

It surprises me a bit, and yet it doesn't. There will be people who have bad experiences and generalize to all dogs in all breeds. Most of the vets I've worked for have liked bully breeds because they're generally pretty tolerant of poking and prodding and you don't see so many horribly fearful ones who make everything so difficult.

Rottweilers though? I've heard a *lot* of bias against Rottweilers from vets, though I can't imagine one saying something so unprofessional to a client. The mind boggles.

A. Wilkinson said...

Dear Mary,

I was intrigued by your comment: "how not to teach a dog not to growl". How do you go about this? And, do you think it is possible to teach a dog to use warning signals again? Could you please elaborate a bit more or tell me where i can find some more information on this? I would be most gratefull.

Alexandra (The Netherlands)

Jen said...

I love this line "A dog is a dog first and a breed second."

So true.

We're fostering our first pit/mastiff mix right now and I must say... he is a dreamboat! A totally easy keeper whose only fault is being huge at 9 months and has NO manners (ie. knocks me down to say hello!). People do cross the street when they see him and a neighbor of mine even said "he looks at me like I'm lunch".
Ignorance, fueled by fear, plain and simple.

I feel bad, because these dogs are one of the only types/breeds that I feel are eager to please humans. Shibas? Not so much. The ignorant people are really missing out on great dogs!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

WOW! I think that vet needs to stick with cats.

Marie said...

Alexandra, Here is a link to another post all about growling. If you don't find your answer here then e-mail me directly. Good luck!