Friday, September 28, 2007

A Dog's Breed Is NOT Its Destiny!

I love bully breeds. My human has socialized me since I was a puppy to as many kinds of dogs as she could, so I would not be timid or afraid of dogs I might encounter on our daily walks. From the time I was a puppy in daycare, my best friend was a Pit Bull named Titan. Back when I was only 10-14lbs, the daycare workers would tell my human that I was the alpha in the daycare...even over Titan!! He was the sweetest pup, and just like Cesar mentions in this article, it's all about positive experiences and proper education and care to have a balanced dog. Here in Ontario, all Pit Bull/Staffie breed must wear a muzzle when going outside or risk being taken away to a shelter. We have a saying around here: Ban the Deed, NOT the Breed.

This article is taken from Yahoo! Pets columnist, Cesar Milan. Regardless of your attitudes towards his style of training, this is a good article, and perhaps if you see a bully breed on a walk with their human, don't be so afraid to stop and sniff and say hello!
Millions and millions of human beings in this world understand what it's like to struggle under the weight of a negative stereotype. That's why many human societies are finally evolving past racism, sexism, religious intolerance, and other forms of bigotry. So why is it that most people don't think twice when they make the sweeping assumption that all pit bulls and all Rottweilers are vicious killing machines, or that all Jack Russell Terriers are non-stop, hyperactive balls of energy?

The truth is that although inborn breed traits can indeed be a powerful influence on a dog's behavior, they are absolutely not the driving behavioral factors of a dog that is balanced and has a strong, consistent pack leader! In most dogs (those that have not been irreparably damaged by human cruelty), the darker traits of any breed can be overcome by consistently fulfilling the dog physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I've met many people who are conditioned to fear pit bulls, and who assume the strongest drive in all pit bulls is the instinct to attack and kill. But if my mellow pit bull Daddy were the first pit bull you'd ever met, you'd have no reason to believe that at all. The tendency of a dog to engage in breed-related destructive behavior is usually just a reaction to a lack of physical and mental stimulation. Like any other breed, pit bulls have the capacity to be family-friendly, loving, mellow animals. I'd argue that any pit bull would rather reach its potential as a calm, submissive family pet than as the belligerent gladiator that dog fighters try and breed them to be.

So how did my pal Daddy become this shining ambassador for the pit bull breed? A steady regimen of exercise, discipline, and affection -- begun when he was only four months old -- took advantage of his inborn desire for leadership and structure. And even some of the pit bulls that come to my pack as survivors of terrible dog-fighting culture abuse have been -- with consistent attention paid to fulfilling their basic needs -- able to shed their breed stereotypes and simply relax and enjoy life as dogs.

I often say that a dog is animal first, then dog, then breed, then name. So if a dog's breed is only his "suit," as it were, then you as the owner have the responsibility to take control over the "outfit" your dog puts on every morning.


Lacy said...

woofies simba, nice to meet u!!!! nope u has a nice weekend...

b safe,

Jackson said...

Hey Simba, wise words! J x