OFFICIAL Bitework/Personal Protection Debate Thread

Weight pull, Protection, Agility, Flyball... you name it!

Postby cheekymunkee » April 3rd, 2006, 10:07 pm

Again, this is all opinion. No one is talking about making law here. I do not think that people who do bitework responsibly are evil or bad trainers, or are intentionally out to ruin the breed. I have a great respect for Chris, and others who do this well. But that doesn't mean I agree with everything they do. I assume for example that Chris would feel Tess should be put down for her fear issues, based on his previous posts. But that does not mean I have to agree, or that he thinks I am an idiot. We all do things that others will disagree with.

I do like that about this board, that we can discuss these things without it getting personal. I am enjoying this discussion, and I hope we can all keep this going as civily as we are.



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Postby Romanwild » April 3rd, 2006, 10:10 pm

I agree.

This was our intention from the begining. Civil debate is awesome. :D
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Postby mnp13 » April 3rd, 2006, 11:02 pm

dogcrazyjen wrote:Exactly reba. Bitework is a chosen action, not a breed of dog. Bitework can be discouraged with pits without damaging anything. Banning pits is basically damning a whole breed to extinction, and screwing the majority of owners based on fear and quite frankly incorrect information like locking jaws. Apples and oranges.


Again, I am not saying that anyone wants to ban bitework, I am saying that the arguements against bitework sound a LOT like the arguements for BSL. BSL is based on fear and lack of knowledge, some of the posts have seemed to be quite fearful. And many of the posts show a lack of knowledge of what responsible training entails and lack of understanding of the fundamentals of bitework training. There have been lots of questions, and that's great... I hope it leads to better understanding. (Please don't misread this paragraph, I am not saying anyone is stupid. there is a huge difference between not haveing experience with something and not being intelligent.)

You could say that many things are judged by the actions of a few, from gun ownership to all men being treated as potential rapists to lawn darts to banning cell phones in cars. Some have merit, some do not. That does not mean they are all the same, just because the means for deciding are the same. Lawn darts were not acceptable because the risk was deemed as far outweighing the good. Guns hopefully that is not going to happen.


That's the thing. If people are too irresponsible to not throw a pointed piece of metal at someone maybe they need to sit out a game or two. I could wing a bocce ball at someone's head and hurt them as well. At some point personal responsibility needs to come into play.

I think that for every Chris there will be a dozen jack a$$es giving pits a bad name. And even with Chris, I am on the fence as far as total good vs total potential bad PR.


and for everyone of us who are responsible Pit Bull owners there are a dozen idiot owners who are accidents waiting to happen.

So is everyone who does bitework as aware of their surroundings as you are?


if they are responsible, yes. Is everyone who has a deadly dog aggressive dog as aware of their surroundings as some of the people here? We all have to hope.

Pits are not getting bad raps due to dog aggression, they are getting bad raps due to people aggression.


I disagree. "Pit Bull kills small fluffy dog" headlines are not uncommon. Of course, the next idiot comment is "the kids are next" :rolleyes2: and many dogs are killed for dog aggression.

What we are talking about it using PP to counteract bite inhibition in dogs that are able and possibly create breed lines based on that lack. And having the average idiot think that anyone can do this.


I don't understand. there are people who have said that their dog is so solid it would never ever bite a person no matter what the circumstances. you can't make a dog have the correct temperament for bittework. It's there or it isn't (it can be fostered, but that's a different topic).

There are plenty of breed lines who have wildly aggressive dogs who no PP responsible trainer would go near. those dogs don't need training to bite someone, they are so unstable that they will bite anything that moves. Those dogs are NOT bitework candidates.

Aggression comes from fear, not confidence.*. The best dogs in protection sport are not the aggressive ones, they are the confident ones

In protection work, there is a command "watch him". Ideally the dog starts barking, pulling and sometimes jumping in the direction of the "bad guy". Some tournaments score the dog on the "threat display". the very confident dogs score poorly in this exercise because they don't want to give a threat display. They want the bad guy to come closer, they don't want to scare him off. That is confidence. Threat displays mean "don't come any closer or I'll hurt you", it's a warning and it is meant to scare the other party away.

the snarling, lunging, insane dog behind the fence is not strong and confident, it is aggressive and afraid. It wants to scare you away, not confront you.

(To the trainers out there, please correct me if this is wrong.)

I do like that about this board, that we can discuss these things without it getting personal. I am enjoying this discussion, and I hope we can all keep this going as civily as we are.


I'm glad to read this comment, it is one of the things the staff has discussed in depth. We are all about intense, even heated, discussion. But no one learns when people are screaming at them (and yes, I have done plenty of screaming in my time)

* Way to all-encompassing statement that was not correctly stated nor explained well... sorry
Last edited by mnp13 on May 22nd, 2006, 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Red » April 4th, 2006, 1:50 am

I know you feel passionately about this topic but I can tell you haven't looked into it very much.


Charles, I don't think that it is the time to do PP with these dogs, period.I can look into it how much you want but the simple fact is that these dogs would be better off doing something else.For God's sake, don't we have enough problems to think that protection training needs to be part of the breed?

You let me know when you would like to and I will fly you out here to one of our competitions at my expense. I will pay for airfare, hotel and meals for you and a friend. I hope to give you the opportunity to see for your self that, the sky is not falling! No one will judge you or harass you. I will see to that. It is simply an offer to let you get more information and achieve a better understanding of personal protection work.


It's a nice offer and thank you. I am not sure I want to hang out with folks who could spend their time doing something more positive for the breed though.
In that case I would fly (or drive most likely, I hate airplanes) and meet such folks at my expenses. :)
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Postby Romanwild » April 4th, 2006, 7:39 am

Red, I don't do PP. Can I fly you up to see me? :devilWink:
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Postby dogcrazyjen » April 4th, 2006, 7:50 am

Since I disagree with Chris, will he fly me up to see him too? :D


I am a sucker for a big man with a well trained bully dog! :heartbeat:
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Postby katiek0417 » April 4th, 2006, 11:45 am

Okay, I have really, really, really tried not to get involved with this discussion...really have tried.

About 3 months ago, someone from a lab-chat group asked me "Why would you ever train your lab to do something she wasn't bred to do?" The most experienced PP trainers will tell you that when Sacha does bitework she is doing EXACTLY what she was bred to do. See, Sacha views bitework as a game. When they give her the sleeve, she brings it to me. Guess what? She's retrieving. She's a labrador RETRIEVER...she IS doing what she was bred to do (but with a different object). My trainer tried to give her a bare arm bite one day...just to see if she would do it. She bit, and let go IMMEDIATELY!!!! With work would she get past that? Probably, but I'm not going to try to get her past it. I'm okay with her just putting on a "good show."

I was dog-sitting a friend's malinois. Who is very good at bitework. When she does bite work, she has this high-pitched bark...like "Come play with me." She was in my backyard one day, and someone walked past...all of a sudden, she let out a few deep, chesty barks. She didn't carry-on, just a couple of warning barks. She's definitely not afraid of anything...she was just being protective of what she viewed as "her" backyard. I have since noticed my puppy doing the same thing.

Alternatively, you've got the pit I am dog-sitting right now. Rusty is a baby doll...he came into my house, not really knowing me, being taken away from the owner he's had for 6 years, and has been nothing but a sweetheart for me. This is a dog that is PSA-titled, and has since started to do a bit of training in "civil" protection. This is the same dog I posted about who had kids loving on him a couple of weeks ago. This is the same dog who "makes his rounds" from lap to lap when I have more than one friend over. This is the same dog who sleeps in my bed every other night. But he has the stability to do that.

PP training does not take a good dog and turn it into an uncontrollable one. Responsible PP trainers will evaluate a dog to determine if it has the correct temperament to do bitework. Responsible PP trainers will not let the dog do bitework if the owner is not willing to work on getting "tight" obedience with the dog.

Responsible PP trainers should tell someone if his/her dog is not "cut out" for PP. If it doesn't have the stability, etc.

Along with PP training comes control. A very important part of PP training is the "out" command. How many regular pets out there can't "out" when they're playing with their owners? Well, if we go with some of the arguments that have been made about PP, maybe we should tell these owners never to play with their dogs again.

Yes, there are dogs out there who don't have the stability, traits, etc to do PP work. This should be a discussion that occurs between the owner and trainer, though...it's not anyone's right to tell an entire group of owners of a breed that they shouldn't do this work.
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Postby Pitcrew » April 4th, 2006, 11:51 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:If I say I'm anti-PP, will you fly me out too??? With my dog????

:wink:


MEEE TOO! Seriously! But I'll drive!
I agree with what Chris said, completely.

Anyone can have their opinions... but I think a few of the reasons are way off base. You don't like it, and wouldn't chose to do it... fine.

Now folks... I understand you BELIEVE this " breed out human aggression" thing. But our dogs are stable, because they are bred to be confident. Not as likely to react out of fear. Even nice, well meaning 'breeders', and owners can produce or create unstable dogs, simply by not providing proper socialization and training.

Do you believe Labs or Goldens were EVER bred for human aggression?
Or ANY toy breed, terrier, or hunting breed (I'm sure there may be a few exceptions)? All dogs bite! I deal with these dogs every day! Breeding out aggression has nothing to do with it. Dogs are animals. Animals bite. They react based on instinct and experience, dominance and fear. All of those things we are responsible for controlling in our dogs. Even rabbits can be aggressive for cripes sake!
I have dealt with more aggressive Labs and Beagles than any other breed! Is it because they were bred FOR it? That couldn't be further from the truth. Think about it. Only 2 of the most popular breeds for the last 20 years! The "ultimate family dogs" some say.
Popularity and people create dog problems. If no one ever trained protection sports with a pitbull, you would not see any change in the idiots with the boxing gloves and baseball bats. You would also see no change in public perception of the breed, or pit bull bites. So why deny it from the responsible trainers?
Sound like gun laws? Criminals will still get them. Idiots will still be irresponsible with them. Any gun can still kill a person... ANY dog can still bite. But not without a person responsible on the other end.
In my opinion blaming bite sports for bsl or public perception problems is like blaming music and movies for peoples violent behavior. "It gave them the idea"... BULL SH!T ! How about holding the PEOPLE responsible! PERIOD!
If sport dogs were hurting people FINE. But it is the untrained dogs that are the problem. You will never protect the breed from people, without holding the people responsible for their dogs actions. Education, not excuses... is the only way.
What if your GOOD temperament wonderful dog ever bit. He never was bite trained. "Bred not to be human aggressive", but he reacted to a situation. You would come up with any number of excuses... being a pitbull would not be one of them for you... it would be for some.
He was afraid? Your responsibility to socialize and train.
The kid/person was harassing him? Your responsibility to protect him from them.
Just quit the 'good dogs don't bite' crap. It is ALL our responsibility! Breed is irrelevant.

I also feel it is a cop-out to (while protecting our own breed) allow or encouraging discrimination of another is okay because it takes the spotlight off of ours, or doesn't affect us. IT WILL, on another day. You are using the same prejudice against another. How can you defend that? Its stupid, and hypocritical.

Sorry about the rant... but COME ON!
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Postby SisMorphine » April 4th, 2006, 11:57 am

Lisa wrote:Even rabbits can be aggressive for cripes sake!

Boy do I hear that! My sweet little prey animal rabbit Sexy Rexy does not shake in fear when other animals come around. I have seen her attack rats, chinchillas, other rabbits, ferrets, and cats. She actually was just seconds away from lunging at the Rottie today because she was being too pushy with her. And rabbits aren't exactly bred for aggression . . .

ETA
Maybe I should think about PP training Sexy Rexy . . .
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Postby mnp13 » April 4th, 2006, 12:00 pm

SisMorphine wrote:Maybe I should think about PP training Sexy Rexy . . .
:wink:


when are you going to learn not to write things like that where Chris will read them?
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Postby cheekymunkee » April 4th, 2006, 12:10 pm

I have a cat I am thinking about sending him. :twisted:

I have learned soo much from this thread. Amazing how CIVIL DEBATE can actually TEACH isn't it?
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Postby babyreba » April 4th, 2006, 12:13 pm

So I guess it's also wrong to tell pit bull breeders, like many people here have done many times, that they shouldn't be breeding unless they are super-responsible, doing lots of health-testing, and looking out for the best interests of this breed either? That if they are acting in a way that puts the breed in danger or in a negative light in the public eye, that they are wrong. That they need to do things they don't want to do and put aside practices they've used in the past in the best interests of this breed . . .

I mean, that's also singling out one group, one breed, and telling people that, in order to proect it, they have to work in its best interests and avoid practices that put the breed in further jeopardy . . . ?

So now if we tell the stewards of this breed that they should be vigilant in their protection of these dogs, we are using the same arguments as proponents of BSL?

Hmm. Guess at one point or another then, several people on this board were using the same arguments as the proponents of BSL to make their points as well.

Maybe those points are no longer considered valid. Maybe it's just not important to people anymore . . . which is fine. I just don't think it's fair to tell those of us for whom this is VERY important that we are speaking out of both sides of our mouths . . . when really, we've been saying the same thing all along, when it comes to breeding or PP work, from one board to another, from one discussion to the next.
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Postby SisMorphine » April 4th, 2006, 12:33 pm

mnp13 wrote:
SisMorphine wrote:Maybe I should think about PP training Sexy Rexy . . .
:wink:


when are you going to learn not to write things like that where Chris will read them?

:neener:

Seriously, if he could train that rabbit ANYTHING other than to crap and piss I would be amazed.

BUT I will be getting rats at some point this year and they are HIGHLY trainable . . .
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Postby mnp13 » April 4th, 2006, 12:45 pm

babyreba wrote:So I guess it's also wrong to tell pit bull breeders, like many people here have done many times, that they shouldn't be breeding unless they are super-responsible, doing lots of health-testing, and looking out for the best interests of this breed either? That if they are acting in a way that puts the breed in danger or in a negative light in the public eye, that they are wrong. That they need to do things they don't want to do and put aside practices they've used in the past in the best interests of this breed . . .

I mean, that's also singling out one group, one breed, and telling people that, in order to proect it, they have to work in its best interests and avoid practices that put the breed in further jeopardy . . . ?

So now if we tell the stewards of this breed that they should be vigilant in their protection of these dogs, we are using the same arguments as proponents of BSL?

Hmm. Guess at one point or another then, several people on this board were using the same arguments as the proponents of BSL to make their points as well.

Maybe those points are no longer considered valid. Maybe it's just not important to people anymore . . . which is fine. I just don't think it's fair to tell those of us for whom this is VERY important that we are speaking out of both sides of our mouths . . . when really, we've been saying the same thing all along, when it comes to breeding or PP work, from one board to another, from one discussion to the next.


See, there is the difference. I do not see PP training as irresponsible. I don't see any training as irresponsible - methods can be irresponsible, selection of dogs can be irresponsible, handling can be irresponsible, etc.

There is nothing wrong with PP training in the right hands. things go horribly wrong when it is in the wrong hands, but those idiots can make any training go horribly wrong. I've seen video of a trainer teaching sit in a manner I wouldn't use on my worst enemy... and that is the most basic of commands.
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Postby cheekymunkee » April 4th, 2006, 12:52 pm

Most of the idiots you see trying make their dogs into guard dogs ( whether it be human or otherwise) are NOT training them anyway & probably don't realize they HAVE to be trained for this work. All they are doing is abusing their dogs to make them mean. They don't know what a bite suit is, they don't know what Ring or Sch is. All they are doing is teasing their ill bred dogs trying to make them mean.
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Postby katiek0417 » April 4th, 2006, 12:59 pm

SisMorphine wrote:BUT I will be getting rats at some point this year and they are HIGHLY trainable . . .
:D


Rats are AWESOME pets. I was surprised by that. When I was in college, I took a learning lab, and we used rats (we taught them to press a button to get food, do mazes, etc). At the end of the semester, they let me take my rat home.

First off, he was like a puppy at the beginning of the semester. He was playful, cuddly, etc... Then, when I took him home, he was awesome....I could let him run loose (this was pre-cat era), and when he had to go to the bathroom, he knew to go to his "box." He was (sadly) smarter than most people I know.... :wink:
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Postby Romanwild » April 4th, 2006, 1:09 pm

babyreba wrote:So I guess it's also wrong to tell pit bull breeders, like many people here have done many times, that they shouldn't be breeding unless they are super-responsible, doing lots of health-testing, and looking out for the best interests of this breed either? That if they are acting in a way that puts the breed in danger or in a negative light in the public eye, that they are wrong. That they need to do things they don't want to do and put aside practices they've used in the past in the best interests of this breed . . .

I mean, that's also singling out one group, one breed, and telling people that, in order to proect it, they have to work in its best interests and avoid practices that put the breed in further jeopardy . . . ?

So now if we tell the stewards of this breed that they should be vigilant in their protection of these dogs, we are using the same arguments as proponents of BSL?

Hmm. Guess at one point or another then, several people on this board were using the same arguments as the proponents of BSL to make their points as well.

Maybe those points are no longer considered valid. Maybe it's just not important to people anymore . . . which is fine. I just don't think it's fair to tell those of us for whom this is VERY important that we are speaking out of both sides of our mouths . . . when really, we've been saying the same thing all along, when it comes to breeding or PP work, from one board to another, from one discussion to the next.


I am against Back Yard Breeding.

I am against Back Yard PP Training too.

You must be responible in both cases. :|
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Postby dogcrazyjen » April 4th, 2006, 1:55 pm

I personally do NOT think the average person has any right breeding any breed. I am nothing if not consistant!

I also feel it is a cop-out to (while protecting our own breed) allow or encouraging discrimination of another is okay because it takes the spotlight off of ours, or doesn't affect us. IT WILL, on another day. You are using the same prejudice against another. How can you defend that? Its stupid, and hypocritical.


No, it is picking my battles. There are very few places BSL is including those breeds. If it came to NY, even if only GSD and Mals were on the list, I would fight it. I will sign petitions in other states. But I cannot fight everything. There are a huge amount of injustices in this world that I believe are worth fighting for. I cannot help them all. So I choose anti-BSL (any breed), supporting positive views of bull breeds, and a few non-dog issues. If GSD and Mal people choose to do PP and tarnish their image in the meanwhile, that does not fall in my range. You may feel that those breeds need spokespeople, so go ahead. I see many, many people already invested in those breeds who can handle it.

I would be hypocritical only if I supported PP work and BSL in GSD and Mals. I am ambivilant to PP and I am against any BSL, so I am not hypocritical.

I would appreciate not being called stupid, BTW.


My reason for believing that PP work in pits encourages others is the reactions I get to my Bull Terrier. I have had teens ask if she would be good at protecting me, or would attack someone on command. I saw the gleam in thier eye at how they would look with one on a chain and spike collar. I said no, Bull Terriers are too soft for that-they are not drivey enough towards people and would probably refuse to bite. Also that she is a big weenie. Not entirely true, but in every case I saw these kids decide that BTs are not that sort of dog. I then went on to explain that training a dog to be mean is not the same as protection, and even an aggressive dog may not be willing to protect the owner if push comes to shove. They are better off lifting weights if they want to look tough.

One, I tried to communicate that their idea of PP and dog training is wrong.
Two, I tried to at least cross my breed off their list if they didn't listen to number one.

That is my priority. Education first, and then cover my a$$.

I am sorry if that offends anyone. I have learned that staying noble and not comprimising ends up with getting nowhere as often as it changes things to the ideal. In the ideal world people would understand that PP in general is training, making a more solid dog. But the world is not perfect, so I advocate damage control.

Again, I have never said laws need to be made. I am just stating my opinion. I do not presume to tell people what to do. I can tell them what I think. Two different things.
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Postby mnp13 » April 4th, 2006, 6:55 pm

I think I've said pretty much all I'm going to say at this point, but....

dogcrazyjen wrote:I would be hypocritical only if I supported PP work and BSL in GSD and Mals. I am ambivilant to PP and I am against any BSL, so I am not hypocritical.

I would appreciate not being called stupid, BTW.


I'm pretty sure Lisa was saying that the arguement was stupid and hypocritical, not that you were. It may be a fine line, but it's there.

(And Lisa, if you were calling her stupid, play nice or you're gonna get yelled at. :) )
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Postby Pitcrew » April 4th, 2006, 6:57 pm

Sorry dogcrazyjen. I apologize if i made it appear to be attacking you or your ideas. I do appreciate your reasons and experiences as you have described them. I was off on a rant and was referring to an IDEA that I thought was stupid and hypocritical. Since this does not appear to be exactly your opinion... picking your battles I understand.

I praise anyone that tries to protect the breeds in any way. I just think it is important so see that some people do the same thing in a different way. Because people choose to be irresponsible, does not mean THESE people are somehow responsible for that. Although they have chosen a sport or hobby you don't agree with, they are doing a good job of presenting the sport and the breed in as responsible way as possible, with good sound training and good temperament dogs.

My response was caused by a stupid discussion, with a stupid person, at a dog show this past weekend... combined with similar ideas posted on this thread. I apologize if I was reading something between the lines that was not there and made it appear that I was attacking you. Or anyone.

Thank you for clarifying your stand.
I would also be VERY surprised if the idiot who approached you about your bullie being protective, even had an inkling about protection or got the ideas from anyone doing it, other than abusive peers.

Just venting about some of the crap I hear.

I just wish people would support GOOD breeders instead of condemning the lot, as many rescues do. As well as supporting GOOD trainers, instead of condemning the lot because some are bad. Grouping opinions too solidly one way or the other is what we suffer from bsl and the Pit hating public.

If the public, and the media, and the govt. representatives, would just make people responsible, instead of sensationalizing, making everything illegal, or allowing ridiculous lawsuits to stand up in court, we wouldn't see many of the problems we have... or have a need of this conversation.
If we weren't trying to protect our dogs from others opinions, no one would have a problem with protection (done properly)... and I also don't believe anyone would bother to raise the question about 'which breeds are considered pitbulls'. It just wouldn't matter.

I just think people need to see that NOTHING is all good, or all bad. Take it for what it is.

This debate is very good to see other people side and experiences though.
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