OFFICIAL Bitework/Personal Protection Debate Thread

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

Postby dogcrazyjen » April 4th, 2006, 7:49 pm

I agree there, and I apologize for misreading your intent.

I do support people who are responsible breeders simply because if we are going to keep the diversity we have, there needs to be breeding to keep those lines. However, the vast majority of people do not breed well. I would like to see some restrictions on breeding to give animal control more tools to cut down on BYBs, ad family accidents, but I do not know how it would work. The AKC shoots down every tiny effort at regulation. I personally would like to see the cost for licensing unspayed or unnuetered dogs be equivilant to the cost of a spay or nueter. That would be a huge incentive for those who claim they cannot afford the procedure.

As far as bite work, I can certainly see your point that highlighting training is important. I question, however, how many average people would recognize the training vs enjoying the bits on bitework.

We probably will have to agree to disagree here. While I can see your points, I still am not convinced of the totality of good vs totality of damage done. I cannot prove it either way, so have to go by my expirience.
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Postby DemoDick » April 4th, 2006, 9:58 pm

With regards to protection work being bad for the public image of Pit Bulls...

I would wager that the general public would be more disturbed watching video of Pits doing catchwork than PP training. Catchwork fosters mistrust and misunderstanding when not explained in context, probably more so than Personal Protection or sport bitework.

Why do I bring this up? Simply, the public will form misguided opinions no matter what. For crying out loud, some people think that weight pull is cruel! The solution is not to avoid tasks that the dogs can excel in. The soluion is to allow them to excel in those tasks to demonstrate their usefulness, trainability and stability.

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Postby dogcrazyjen » April 5th, 2006, 9:01 am

But will the *average* person see bitework as showing stability, trainability, or usefulness? Or will they see a pit bull attacking a person?

And for the record, I am not telling anyone they should not be doing bitework. I am saying I do not agree with it. There is a big difference there.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 5th, 2006, 9:20 am

I think the average person will see a dog that has its eyes on its handler 99% of the time and only goes after the decoy when signalled to. I may be biased since I'm very interested in PP, but I think it's very clear that the dogs are waiting for a cue. Especially when they are called off the "attack" when they're a foot away. I think that shows phenomenal obedience, and I think even John Q Public could appreciate the self-control that takes.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 5th, 2006, 9:23 am

I should have also added that most of the people who see the bitework are those who are already interested in it (at shows, etc) so they are going to have an open mind as to breed of dog, and understand the intense training. I would assume most people don't train for this in their front yard unless they have a decent amount of land, so it's not as though random people driving/walking by are going to see the actual bitework.
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Postby babyreba » April 5th, 2006, 12:29 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:I should have also added that most of the people who see the bitework are those who are already interested in it (at shows, etc) so they are going to have an open mind as to breed of dog, and understand the intense training. I would assume most people don't train for this in their front yard unless they have a decent amount of land, so it's not as though random people driving/walking by are going to see the actual bitework.


actually, there are demonstrations at all-breed dog events around here . . . last time i went, i saw a GSD that obviously wasn't trained all that well refuse to let go of the decoy and a couple of people had to get on him to pry him off.

i also once saw some shepherd breed, who obviously hadn't excelled in its recall training, take off into the crowd then down into the woods at a pet event that wasn't even just for dog people. i thought some of the folks in the crowd were gonna lose it when that happened. the handler returned with the dog eventually . . . those are the kinds of bitwork displays that the public sees, unfortunately. amateurs doing amateur work.

because, as you point out, the gen pop is not attending real bitework and PP and sch events.
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Postby DemoDick » April 5th, 2006, 12:52 pm

also once saw some shepherd breed, who obviously hadn't excelled in its recall training, take off into the crowd then down into the woods at a pet event that wasn't even just for dog people. i thought some of the folks in the crowd were gonna lose it when that happened. the handler returned with the dog eventually . . . those are the kinds of bitwork displays that the public sees, unfortunately. amateurs doing amateur work.


This is exactly why guys like Chris Fraize, Nelson Rodgrguez, etc. NEED to be in the spotlight. If the public sees what you just described then they NEED to see Rumble ignoring the decoy who is pestering him to watch Chris and follow commands.

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Postby babyreba » April 5th, 2006, 7:07 pm

I guess I see it slightly differently than you do, Demo. I am impressed with the amount of control they have over their dogs and I'd never shoot down their individual accomplishments.

I just don't see how putting pit bulls in the spotlight as excellent at this kind of work won't result in me seeing poorly trained PP trained pit bulls from showing up at World of Pets Expos and Joe Idiot's Dog Club Jamboree and proving to people that pit bulls ARE unreliable and potentially dangerous.

Chris F. and co. may be completely responsible and may do this right, but they are gonna make huge impressions on people who are not . . . so what I see is them starting a new trend that has the potential to be imitated. Badly.

Is that their problem? No. But it's the problem of the pit bull community. If one even exists anymore. I'm starting to really think it doesn't, sadly, as no one who claims to want to help this breed is willing to put aside their own egos and selfish desires to really do much good.

I'm sure many here won't agree. But the more pit bull people I meet and talk to and discuss these things with, the more I agree with those who say that the APBT's downfall is going to be the people who are loving the breed to its death.
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Postby Romanwild » April 5th, 2006, 8:35 pm

I've been trying to put this into some kind of perspective.

I used numbers.

What is the percentage of pit buls that are actually doing bite work? Responsible an irresponsible.

I would guess 1/10th of 1%. Hardly any. No offense to people who do it but what we are talking about is essentially a fringe activity. This will never catch on to the extent that you would find people doing it in their back yard. It's not mainstream. Hell, most people can't teach sit!

Even though I understand bite work and respect it I don't see where it will help the image of the breed to the uneducated. :|
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Postby Pitcrew » April 5th, 2006, 11:29 pm

Here's my take on it.

Typically... any of us who really get our dogs out in public, in classes, in trials, on the street... are very aware of peoples perception of our dogs.

This is even more evident when you have a dog that is not readily identifiable to 'joe public' as a bull breed. You would not believe the different breeds people think Luke is, boxer, swissie, border collie mix, etc., even "dog people". Now I generally find that people who meet him unknowingly, and really like him, are much more receptive when I tell them what he is. Although he is a registered amstaf I DO refer to him as a pitbull to help open peoples mind, and prefer to skip the pitbull/amstaf debate, to the public.
When I am around the same crowd with Vega who is much more typical looking, there is a big difference in peoples perception and reaction. She is seldom approached by people who aren't already familiar and comfortable with the breed.

Because of this... it is my experience, that responsible, aware, bully owners make it a point to have their dogs better behaved and better trained than the average dog, just to be given a fair shake.
I also generally find that pet owners who love their pitties, but don't have as much control over them, don't get their dogs out as much because they realise the perception, and they keep them at home.
I also find the idiots (for the most part) who abuse, neglect, and take pride in an uncontrolled or aggressive dog tend to keep them around the neighborhoods and atmosphere that accepts or supports that behavior.

Its our job to educate them all.

You cant say they DONT bite. They do.

You have to educate from all angles. Showing them with babies and bunnies isn't enough. Sometimes showing people what they fear the most... and showing them absolute control and temperament, CAN make a difference to some people (as Chris has done), that all of the foo-foo stuff in the world wont convince.

I have seen police dogs who don't have nearly the control of some sport dogs... but those dogs often are going to your children's schools. They might not be doing protection demos, but people assume they are trustworthy and under control. Parents seldom complain.
I don't think people whose dogs aren't HIGHLY reliable, have no business doing demos for anyone. But showing control where people don't believe dogs can be under such control, can help.
Especially when you want to educate people to understand a dogs body language and intent... nothing is as good as examples. The best seminars on body language and understanding dogs I have seen have included demo dogs (rescue dogs mostly) that exhibit different types of aggression (which could be "safely" triggered for example). No videos, pictures, or illustrations can demonstrate these things effectively.
That seminar was by Lillie Goodrich and I have yet to go to a BETTER seminar on canine communication, and body language.

I don't think protection sports should be done irresponsibly or taken lightly. I don't think it should be done in a public event that is not attended by people who are there for their education. Some people who aren't ready for it, are probably not going to see the image you are trying to present. But people who are willing to be educated, whether they ever plan on training protection or not, HAVE increased their knowledge and understanding of it. From Chris. On this forum. In a positive way.

Also understand, protection work should not be assumed to be because of ego. Speaking for MYSELF. I did a limited amount of bitework years ago. It was not for protection. It was not for ego. Very few people even knew (not the best way to stroke your ego). I did it to educate myself in as many aspects of how dogs work, as possible. Its my responsibility as a dog trainer, and people trainer, and learning as much as I can about instinct and behavior, is my passion (not just a hobby). And even tho I had a very well trained/bred GSD at the time, I did it with my most stable dog. Willie. Protection training didn't make him aggressive or unpredictable. It did not change peoples perception who knew him. If they liked/trusted him it didnt matter... if they didn't like him, they didn't know about it, but it wouldn't matter.

I didn't buy a BC to learn herding (and my dogs didn't learn to chase livestock), or a bloodhound to learn tracking (and searching blood trails for wounded deer, didn't make them bloodthirsty or deer chasers). I did it with my bullies. Because they are the dogs I love... because they liked it... and because I could.

I do understand all of your positions and opinions on this topic. Just trying to put a few more considerations out there... from my perspective.
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Postby Red » April 6th, 2006, 1:38 am

Red, I don't do PP. Can I fly you up to see me?


ROFL! Careful there....I am more hardeahed in person than on line. :)

Even though I understand bite work and respect it I don't see where it will help the image of the breed to the uneducated


Exactly my feelings.

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 . . . ?


That's how it should be, imo. Each one of us (well, it seems that it isn't really all of us) have put aside our own beliefs and sometimes even "rights" in order to protect our breed.Sometime we just can't do things that other dog owners do.Is it fair? Not a bit but we don't have that many options. Although we are not directly responsible for what everyone think about our dogs we still have to suffer the consequences every day and we still have to make up for it.

It's great to discuss and have different opinions but certain things would be better off not supported, and even less encouraged.That if we have a clear idea of what this breed is facing.Now, after all these discussions about PP I expect folks start looking into it.What are the chances of the wrong folks getting the wrong ideas? High chances.
Are you sure these folks fully understand what PP is, what kind of dogs can go trough the traning and what the responsability that goes with it is? Or maybe someone got to the conclusion that PP and bulldogs are a good combo, no matter what? I am convinced this is a very delicate issue and shouldn't be discussed so lighly.
There is plenty of room for misunderstandings here and mistakes in these situations can lead to a mess and can harm our breed.
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Postby Pitcrew » April 6th, 2006, 9:28 am

Are you sure these folks fully understand what PP is, what kind of dogs can go trough the traning and what the responsability that goes with it is? Or maybe someone got to the conclusion that PP and bulldogs are a good combo, no matter what? I am convinced this is a very delicate issue and shouldn't be discussed so lighly.[/quote]

No, I'm not sure they do understand. Maybe that would be Chris od Demo's cue to elaborate. :wink:
If we are going to educate, especially something as controvercial as protection, it would be great if someone with ALOT of responsible experience, would help educate in more detail about those topics.
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Postby Chris Fraize » April 8th, 2006, 12:11 am

Lisa,

I have been doing bite work for over 15 years and I STILL need to understand more. I can't imagine understanding it without having any practical experience. But, after all, I am a slow thinker and not to smart! So what do I know? :|

Safe training,
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Postby a-bull » May 18th, 2006, 7:18 pm

Boo . . . o.k., so here I am.

Marty & Dogcrazyjen, you with me here??

In the name of being open minded, (although it hurts :) ), I'm going to go back and read the Personal Protection Peeps point of view on this.

Can't say I'm feeling terribly open-minded at the moment, however, after knowing the dog was indeed being hit with the stick in that video---just being honest.

:|
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Postby Marty » May 18th, 2006, 7:52 pm

Sorry if this has been asked, I don't have time to read all the post and I was told to post here, I will copy paste my ? here ;)

Why would anyone pick a breed that has been bred for hundreds of years not to be human aggressive to do this type of work?

I will never understand this, please help me to understand, why not a breed that was bred for this kind of work?

Please don't think I'm trying to start trouble as I'm not, I'm just trying to understand why the APBT?
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Postby a-bull » May 18th, 2006, 7:54 pm

I read through just about everything here. I still need clarification on how and why that stick is being used, and;

I'm not sure how I feel about pitbulls being used for protection work in this day and age. Chris mentioned how GSD's were targeted at one point in time, and I'm old enough to remember Dobies . . . however, I am fairly certain that the absolute craze for GSD's & Dobies back then does not equate to the current pitbull craze. Pitbulls are an enormously popular breed right now, thus all the problems. Also, I dare say that we were not having the number of attacks and deaths with GSD's back when---bites were the primary problem.

So in light of the enormous pitbull problem, which I only see as getting worse rather than better, why pitbulls---a breed previously known for it's gentle nature with people?
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Postby cheekymunkee » May 18th, 2006, 7:56 pm

i want to let you know that Michelle is out of the country but does check in when she can. Please don't feel like you are being ignored if she does not answer you right away. :)
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Postby a-bull » May 18th, 2006, 8:01 pm

No prob.

Just trying to understand . . . or not, lol . . .
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Postby Leslie H » May 20th, 2006, 7:26 am

I think there are a lot of misperceptions at play here.
First of all, very little bitework training is in the public eye, this is true for most competitions as well. How many of you (besides babyreba), who are anti-bitework have personally witnessed it?
IMO, most negative public perception of our breed comes from the media, and the misunderstanding that there is a difference between man-aggression and aggression towards dogs and other animals.
On this board, while people do understand the above, they are making a connection between bitework and man-aggression that doesn't exist as well.
I regard bitework as an opportunity for our dogs to joyfully fight, dog versus decoy, in a conflict where neither gets injured. It is a chance for owners to bond more closely with their dogs, and for both to find a level of satisfaction they might not achieve otherwise. Not every dog or owner is cut out for this, most aren't. But for those who are well suited, there, IMO, is no reason bitework training and competition shouldn't be responsibly pursued.
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Postby mnp13 » May 20th, 2006, 5:15 pm

I'm still trying to play catchup, sorry.

the stick is used for pressure. To say "they are hitting the dog with a stick" is not the same as actually being there and watching and understanding how it is used (it's hard to explain, much like explaining prong collars to people who have never used one or seen one used). The dog is not being beaten. Does it hurt? yes. Does it cause injury? no.

Why would anyone pick a breed that has been bred for hundreds of years not to be human aggressive to do this type of work?

It can not be stressed enough, human aggression has nothing to do with bitework. If a dog is dog/ human/ cat/ whatever aggressive, it is violent towards the other no matter what. Dog aggression is dog aggression, the dog doesn't care if it is a Great Dane or a Pomeranian.

In bite work, the dog is taught what a threat is and what it is not. The dog is taught how to deal with threats and what to do when that threat is no longer a threat. there is thought and problem solving involved on the part of the dog.

Human aggressive dogs are often (usually) poor candidates for protection work.

Leslie, good post.
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