Dogs can make the best companions. They are loyal, lovable, cute, and unbelievably forgving. So why do we continue to label them? We don’t like labels as humans, yet we continue to label one another. It is amazing how fast we want to attach a title or label to our name when we are proud of something. However, as soon as we make a mistake we immediately say that was in the past or we have changed. So why can’t we do that for our dogs? Why do we constantly define them by their breed or past history? The irony is, dogs live in the present, not the past or future. So why do we need to put a label on a dog because of their “potential” future due to breed stigmas. Lets live more in the present.
PIT BULL. What comes to mind when you hear that word? What do you do when you see them? Do you smile? Do you cross the street? Be honest. We hear stories about a certain breed and start pre-judging a dog without even giving a specific dog a chance. One of the worst parts about this is most of of the labels we attach to dogs are inaccurate. We need to stop having the weight of your dogs history or breed define their future potential. A dogs life is so short let us not waste anytime judging, feeling sorry for them because of their past or living in fear because of something your friend told you.
How many times have we asked our friends, our loved ones and family for a clean slate and fresh start? I think it’s time we give our dogs the same treatment, we need to STOP labeling Pit bulls and other breeds! I could keep going on and on but I want to get into some facts. If this message speaks to you please share it. More people need to hear this, thank you.
1. PIT BULLS SAVE LIVES: Take for example Sergeant Stubby, the most decorated war dog of World War I. He was nominated for rank and then promoted to Sergeant. Stubby served 18 months and participated in 17 battles. He actually SAVED his regiment from a mustard gas attack and comforted the wounded. He also found a German soldier and held him by his pants until American soldiers found him. Sergeant Stubby was an honored guest of every White House administration. There is also a movie being made about him set to release in 2018. If you want to know more about pit bulls and the lives they saved here is a great article that list Pit bulls doing heroic things like taking a bullet for their owner to rescuing humans from a house fire: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/29/pit-bulls-heroic-happy-and-good_n_5563496.html
2. PETEY THE PIT BULL: Did you forget the television show the little rascals? Pit bulls used to be portrayed as a family dog, in fact in England the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known as “The Nanny Dog “or “The Childrens Nursemaid” because of their nurturing demeanor towards children.
3. PIT BULL?: It is important to note that a Pit bull is a broad category and can lead to misinformation. Many shelters label any dog that may be a little boxier in stature and with short hair a Pit bull cross, making it much harder to be adopted due to the breed’s unwarranted bad reputation. In many cases it might not even be a Pit bull at all. The term “pit bull” is a general term encompassing three distinct, but also related breeds: the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
4. WAKE UP: In this 2006 study from the Journal of Interpersonal Violence revealed that owners of vicious dogs were significantly more likely to have criminal convictions for aggressive crimes, drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, crimes involving children and firearms. In other words a dog’s dysfunction is very likely a result of their owners. Not the breed.
5. BIG BARK, SMALL BITE: In a study by Universty of Pensyvania researchers interviewed over 6,000 dog owners. What they found was that 1 and 5 Dachshunds (yes those adorable weiner dogs) bit, tried to bite or have bitten strangers. A similar number attacked other dogs and 1 in 12 have snapped at their owners. This is very typical of what we see on a day to day basis as professional dog trainers, there are many more aggressive small dogs than large because we do not view this as a problem due to their size. Some people even laugh about it or think it’s cute, which is baffling to us. No one would think it was cute if it was a Pit bull.
6. PASSING THE TEST: Another study done by the ATTS (American Tempermant Test Society) that out of 870 Pit bulls that took the test 755 passed and had a 86% pasing rate. The ATTS Temperament Test focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog’s instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and preservation in the face of a threat. Now lets compare the Pit bull results to a very friendly, well loved breed like the Golden Retriever. Of course they should have a 99% passing rate, right? Out of 785 Goldens tested, 669 passed, which is an 85.2% passing rate. Slightly less than the Pit bull. Which, in other words, means that a Pit bull is less likely to show aggresion than a Golden Retriever.
As a Chow-Chow owner myself, I have experienced the judgment from owning a breed that comes with a label. I have heard countless times “Oh I have heard chows are mean,” and have seen people go out of their way to avoid walking by our sweet Zoey. When we first were trying to find an apartment years ago we were denied countless times because of the breed of dog she is, not for the dog that she is. If you are reading this then you have probably experienced something similiar. For places that allow dogs to co-exist with other humans, we believe there should be an interview per dog instead of a complete breed ban. It’s really pretty silly.
The fact is that we as humans hate being labled as a race, gender, by our lifestyle, eating habits, etc…we are asked all the time to define ourselves, create profiles and feel the need to be on the left or the right. I truly believe in my heart now more than ever the world needs love. We need to stop putting lables and attaching a history or prejudment on one another and dogs! We are all humans and for the most part all want similar things and have similar needs. However, not everyone is a good person and there are people in America right now that people could associate me with and assume we are the same and I for sure wouldn’t appreciate that. So we should not do that to dogs. Let us stop LABELING Pit bulls and other breeds, and START LOVING. Compassion over Judgement.
– Phillip Kensington, Co-Owner KeenDog