The Controversial Pit Bull

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Postby aurora » March 22nd, 2006, 6:23 pm

I just saw this video by Sue Sternberg for the first time and I'm wondering what those of you who have seen it, thought about it. I thought it had good points and bad, but I knooow how controversial SS is herself!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » March 22nd, 2006, 7:48 pm

Is it an online video you could post the link to?
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Postby cheekymunkee » March 22nd, 2006, 7:50 pm

The only thing I have seen of hers is the HBO special, that was MORE than enough for me.
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Postby Maryellen » March 22nd, 2006, 9:43 pm

aurora, i have that video, and she knows nothing about dogs in general. she has a cult following, especially the shelters and humane society.. none of her dogs would pass her own test, and i have seen on her shelter site she had a fearful pit bull up for adoption.. anyone who believes in sue sternberg has no clue whatsoever
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Postby dogcrazyjen » March 23rd, 2006, 9:10 am

What video is it?

WHy does no one like her. I thought she was THE shelter behavior expert.
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Postby Maryellen » March 23rd, 2006, 9:19 am

HAHAHAAAAAA she is not the shelter expert. she has no college degree on animals, she was just lucky to develop the temperment test that all the shelters use and market it to the humane societies and shelters and it took off.. you can google her name and you will find pages of stuff about her. her followers praise her, her ex workers tell the truth about her.. she tells shelters to pull dogs from the south, because the dogs in the northeast to her "are useless and crap and should all be euthanized" .. she got alot of shelters to pull dogs from the south, when we have an overabundance of dogs in the shelters here.. she knows nothing about pit bulls, or any breed in general.. search hard enough and you will uncover what she is really about.. she feels that just because a dog doesnt fawn all over her that the dog is DOMINANT, and will bite... she euthanizes any dog that doesnt cower to her.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » March 23rd, 2006, 9:22 am

Oh. I have read her shelter stuff, and while the expectations were never adopt a non-bombproof, easy dog, I certainly understood the reasons. None of mine would pass those tests either. I look for high drive dogs, and she feels that any dog who plays tug too vigorously is to be put down. I will have to read up more on her.
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Postby realpitbull » March 23rd, 2006, 2:40 pm

Ewww you said "Sue Sternberg"

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Postby Romanwild » March 23rd, 2006, 3:31 pm

The test was developed so that a "no kill" shelter could find a way of getting rid of dogs without violating there status.

See, if a dog is unadoptable then you can pts. So she made a tough test in order to have more failures. :|
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Postby pibblegrl » March 23rd, 2006, 3:31 pm

The woman is a psycho-idiot. :chopper:
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Postby DemoDick » March 23rd, 2006, 3:41 pm

From everything I've read, she has no real knowledge of dog behavior. Mind you, I'm not talking about what others have said about her, I'm talking about stuff that SHE has written herself.

Good marketing is more important than good knowledge. Sad, but true.

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Postby Maryellen » March 23rd, 2006, 3:45 pm

in her movie shelter dogs, she eggs a cocker spaniel type dog named Beau on with the hand and food bowl.. she kept pressuring him more and more and more.. and kept it up.. finally the dog snapped, and she told her employees "see, i told you he was vicious, i had a feeling about him".

not for nothing, but if you continuously push and push and push like she did most dogs would fail that part.. and it wouldnt be because they were food aggressive.. if you kept sticking your fork in my food like that i will take a knife and stab you... doing it once or twice is one thing, but to keep pushing until you get a reaction is not called for with the way she did her evaluation..

see , when shelters euth for aggression, they dont have to list those dogs on their quarterly sheets.. so the shelters look great for the little bit of euths they do every month.. little does the public know exactly how many dogs are euthed every month..

and just because a dog jumps up on people doesnt mean they are dominant. and just because some dont like to be hugged doesnt mean they are bad dogs.. some dogs just dont like to be hugged like others.. just like some dogs dont listen that good cause they had no training or something.. she feels any dog like these are dominant and should be euthed as they are bite risks...
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Postby mnp13 » March 23rd, 2006, 3:47 pm

For me the beginning and the end of me ever possibly thinking that SS has a clue about anything concerning dogs was the abuse-a-pet fake hand.

Dogs are not idiots. They know the difference between a rubber hand and a human hand. She claims it is so 'lifelike' that the dog will react just like it would to a person. BS, pure and simple.

Do you know the difference between a human hand and a piece of rubber? How do you know? Smell it, move it. There is NO RESEMBLANCE. And consider the sense of smell a dog has, it's like comparing the scent of pizza with the scent of a rose.

I've stuck my hand into many a dog's food bowl to check for food aggression. I've taken toys to check for resource guarding. I've yet to be bitten because I pay attention to what I'm doing and I can read a dog. If a tester can't read a dog well enough to know when they are going to be bitten then the tester has no business testing. Period.

She councels making life or death decisions for dogs based on a rubber hand and annoying the dog over and over and over. She does not take into account breed or history. There are breeds that are supposed to be aloof, they don't care if you're in the room or not they don't want to cuddle. They have better things to do, and why would they let you pet them? they don't know where your hands have been!
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Postby dogcrazyjen » March 23rd, 2006, 3:58 pm

When you find yourself feeling sorry for the poor, unsocialized dog huddling in the back of her kennel, or tempted by the challenge of the dog who avoids your advances, stop and think about it. You and your family are making a commitment to this dog for the next 10 to 15 years of your lives. You can look forward to 10 to 15 years of joy, sharing a bond with your dog that is based on mutual trust and respect, or you can face the prospect of a decade or more of headache and heartache while you manage difficult behaviors. You decide which is the right thing to do.


Or maybe learn and grow with your dog as you manage difficult behaviors! This made me sad. I just lost a dog who I adopted -"the poor, unsocialized dog huddling in the back of her kennel". She was an awesome dog who taught me a LOT.

I also have a dog who tends towards aloofness with touch at times, but he too is an awesome dog. I agree that the average family cannot deal with a lot of issues, but that is no reason to put down dogs immediately. My local SPCA follows her religiously, they have little dog expirience, and several of the workers are afraid of dogs. I stay away because I do not have the strength to be there day after day and watch them label aggression things like displacement behaviors based on the stress of being in a badly planned kennel, or fear of people cornering the dog after it was caught by 5 workers, and put them down. Then they keep dogs which are very difficult to place, 100 pound out of control chow mixes, because they 'like' him.

Blah. I always wondered about the fake hand too-dogs are too keen of smellers to be faked out like that. I would have guessed putting your hand on the other side of a barrier, like chain link, would protect the hand yet flush out the real biters.
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Postby DemoDick » March 23rd, 2006, 4:10 pm

Regarding the "Assess-A-Hand"...

Does anyone honestly think that if I went to the toy store and bought a baby doll to use as a tug toy that my dog would then want to bite real babies?

Dogs are just not that stupid.

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Postby aurora » March 23rd, 2006, 4:11 pm

How did I guess this would be the response?! Haha. I really don't agree with a lot of what she says as far as training and assessments go, but I think some of her observations (particularly that of the downward spiral for pits in shelters) are dead on.

In my opinion, it's like choosing the best of the worst. I don't know how shelters (like mine) who can only hold 25 dogs maximum and get in 5 dogs a day are supposed to weed out the good from the bad, when it's not always 100% obvious. Someone needs to come up with something better (Mary, I'm looking in your direction!!).
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Postby Maryellen » March 23rd, 2006, 4:19 pm

i have a great idea. for the people surrending their dogs have them hold their dog down on the table while the vet injects the lethal dose. this way the owners can witness firsthand how a shelter works.. sorry.. just pissed at the ignorance of pet owners who dump their dogs and dont care..
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Postby realpitbull » March 23rd, 2006, 4:25 pm

DemoDick wrote:Regarding the "Assess-A-Hand"...

Does anyone honestly think that if I went to the toy store and bought a baby doll to use as a tug toy that my dog would then want to bite real babies?

Dogs are just not that stupid.

Demo Dick


I know, that doll test thing she does is ABSURD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW.
Haha I'd forgotten about that.
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Postby mnp13 » March 23rd, 2006, 4:26 pm

aurora wrote:How did I guess this would be the response?! Haha. I really don't agree with a lot of what she says as far as training and assessments go, but I think some of her observations (particularly that of the downward spiral for pits in shelters) are dead on.


Dogs of every breed have a hard time with shelters, she seems to choose to target Pit Bulls.

Some of my observations about dog behavior are dead on, but that doesn't make me an 'expert' or at all qualified to call myself an authority about dogs.
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Postby Sarah » March 23rd, 2006, 4:53 pm

From what I've seen of the Sternberg videos, the fact that she characterizes a dog which isn't paying direct attention to her as "aloof" is one of my biggest beefs with her. In her videos, I saw her doing that with dogs in situation where she wasn't paying direct attention to the dog. She's talking to people, the dog is doing whatever, and the fact that the dog isn't trying to interact with her, she sees as negative.

In dog language, if you look away and avoid interaction you are asking to be left alone. Dogs that don't try to interact with someone who is ignoring them are polite. They are behaving appropriately. Dogs that try to force attention on you when you are trying to ignore them, endearing as that can be, are unsocialized idiots. My dogs could hardly be deemed aloof, but only the puppy would try to get attention from someone who was obviously ignoring them.
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