Pit Bull Oblivious Day?

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Postby Leslie H » October 25th, 2008, 5:05 pm

This is a bitter, bitchy post, so feel free to ignore it. Maybe I'm just old and cranky.
I went to last years Pit Bull Awareness day in New Haven. I had a good time, did a little weight pull demo, hung out. There was a woman who pitched a mini-fit (poor skinny, tortured Soleil).
So, I went up today expecting more of the same. Let them know I was here to do the demo, I wasn't on the list, but they added me. After a good long while, I asked them when they wanted me to do the demo. I was told that I wouldn't be doing it, too many complaints last year. People thought it was cruel. I don't blame them for not letting me know ahead of time, we hadn't really communicated. But I am still bothered by the ignorance and lack of support. I looked around at the dogs there, at least half of them owned by people w/no knowledge of APBT temperament. Dogs unchecked running up into other dogs, jumping all over, challenge stares w/owners who have no idea what message their dogs are sending. No announcements or reining in of the crowds pre-emptively, to avoid fights. Sigh....This is just a vent, but I really feel let down, as if it wasn't APBT awareness at all.
I did have a nice time talking to a variety of people, compliments on her obedience (sometimes), explaining why she was so skinny (the vet techs thought she looked great), explaining that she really was a purebred APBT (not a chi x pit, as I was asked), and being glad I didn't have the infinitely less tolerant Xanny when the 20th dog crammed itself into Soleil's space. It was great to see Marinepits and her husband, and an assortment of internet people. But, it was hard to feel like my breed was being represented or helped by people who had so little idea what it actually was.
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Postby iluvk9 » October 25th, 2008, 5:45 pm

Leslie H wrote:This is a bitter, bitchy post, so feel free to ignore it. Maybe I'm just old and cranky.


We like you anyway, ya old cranky woman. :)

I was told that I wouldn't be doing it, too many complaints last year.


Any chance of somehow educating them for the next time? Maybe start off explaining the event and what it is your dog is doing? When I first saw weight pulls in photos, I didn't have any idea what it was all about. :dance:


It was great to see Marinepits and her husband...


Any good dirt on them?
:popcorn2:
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Postby Marinepits » October 25th, 2008, 6:31 pm

iluvk9 wrote:
Leslie H wrote:

It was great to see Marinepits and her husband...


Any good dirt on them?
:popcorn2:


Hahaha!!!

No. :squint:

In all seriousness, I completely agree with Leslie. While I enjoyed seeing the dogs and meeting up with some friends, I was largely disappointed with the lack of knowledge displayed by the owners. There was one lady with two dogs on a coupler and the dogs were absolutely WILD. She seemed to think it was completely acceptable to allow her dogs to jump all over other dogs and their owners and completely ignored (or was oblivious to) the other dogs in the area getting riled up and re-directing on other dogs. I saw MANY owners allow their dogs to approach other dogs face first, with the dogs posturing up. Leslie and I were in the middle of a conversation when a young man allowed his dog to drag him straight through the two of us and right into Soleil, then keep on charging right through another group of people.

I did enjoy seeing some of the rescue groups (DAWS and PAWS especially! :wave2: ) and the agility demonstration was great. The new pup is GORGEOUS!

It's a damn shame that Leslie was not allowed to demonstrate weight pulling with Soleil because I heard a few people in the crowd asking about it. I also saw Leslie help out a young family that was very interested in starting weight pull with their pup. They were very interested and had no clue how or where to start. Thankfully, they were able to talk to the very knowledgable Leslie and now they will be off to a great start.

The incident that stuck out most to me was when I was going to photograph Rescue Ink. The gentlemen were all relaxed and sitting on a rock wall with their dogs calmly at their feet. Some guy approached with his male dog straining at the end of the leash, the dog posturing up and "talking smack". The guy let his dog rudely invade the space of the Rescue Ink dogs, then seemed surprised when two of the dogs got up and snarked at his dog. Of course the Rescue Ink gentlemen got their dogs immediately under control while the other guy struggled to get his dog out of the area. One of the Rescue Ink men asked me (jokingly) if I got a pic of that. I laughed and said, "No, the dogs have enough of a bad rap." He kind of laughed, too, but I could tell he was a bit irritated with the situation.

I was disgusted by the amount of people who allowed their dogs to pee all over everything (even a BABY STROLLER) and very few people seemed to be picking up their dogs' poo. I saw one guy dragging his dog while the dog was trying to poop and just left the trail of poop as it dropped.

All in all, I think the breed was poorly represented today and it was through the fault of the owners. Maybe next year less emphasis will be placed on the costume contest and "best tricks" contest, and more energy will be focused on EDUCATION.
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Postby Marinepits » October 25th, 2008, 6:33 pm

Leslie H wrote: Maybe I'm just old and cranky.


Yeah, maybe, but you had every right to be today. :wink: It was great seeing you again -- I always learn something new and interesting from you!
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Postby ellie@ny » October 25th, 2008, 7:08 pm

I'm sorry to hear what happened at this event.
Obviously,it wasn't a Pit Bull Awareness day then...
They could all just meet at a dog park then... :rolleyes2:
I hate stupid people.

ETA Today we decided to take our dogs out for a quick walk to a close park.
There was a doggie halloween party going on,imagine 30+ dogs running loose in their costumes,crossing the playground for kids,and just running out of control.All breed all age.
And yes there is a leash law in that park,and no it's not a dog park.
We just looked at each other with Bill and decided to go to another place.
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Postby lilabet » October 25th, 2008, 8:35 pm

Hi All, I haven't had time to get on here in a while, but am now relaxing after today's event. I did enjoy myself, although I was quite busy and missed a lot. Didn't get a chance to go into the carriage house to watch any of the videos or listen to the woman from the ASPCA. Leslie, I do wish you had been able to do your demonstration. There were some people there last year who complained because they thought Soleil was "too thin". I was hoping to get you back, but others didn't agree. I was glad to see you there anyway. I agree that there were pit bull owners there this year who were pretty clueless. One woman had her dog on a retractable lead, even though the flyer specifically stated "no retractable leads", and kept letting her go right to the end of it up to other dogs. She said "but my dog's friendly". so I told her that other dogs may not be ok with hers running up to them and it was her responsibility to keep her dog safe. I saw some young guys walking young pups on huge chains. They really looked like idiots. I do think some people were educated a little bit though. We had some dogs take the CGC test (in quite the distracting environment) and pass. In between and after my agility demos many people came up and asked questions about doing agility and obedience and taking classes with their dogs. I let some people and dogs try a few agility obstacles with assistance and explained how it takes positive training and patience to get the dogs to work. I loved having the dogs try the tunnel. Many people don't think their dog will go through, but with a little patience and positive reinforcement they do it and the dogs seem so happy and proud of themselves! Then I have them do it a second time and they zoom right through. I agree that a bit more emphasis could have been on education and that is a good goal for next year. Actually I had wanted to have games/contests that focused more on a dog's obedience skills and manners than just the cutesy stuff, but oh well, it was fun. I was kind of surprised that there were so many people because the weather was supposed to be bad. I think there might have been more people and dogs than last year. I'm open to any suggestions for improvements for the next event.
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Postby TheRedQueen » October 25th, 2008, 8:46 pm

Well that sucks all around...sorry that happened. :nono:

Score and I skipped the event in Baltimore, due to heavy rain forecasted...he HATES rain. And boy, did it POUR today, so we were glad we didn't drive all the way into the city. We were looking forward to it...
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Postby SisMorphine » October 25th, 2008, 9:23 pm

I had to skip the day in Cambridge because I had to work . . . which is a sore subject in and of itself. I want to hope that it had less in the way of ignorant owners, but I doubt that was the case.

Leslie, I'm sorry people are too ignorant to understand that Soleil is simply sexy, not thin.
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Postby Marinepits » October 25th, 2008, 9:25 pm

lilabet wrote:In between and after my agility demos many people came up and asked questions about doing agility and obedience and taking classes with their dogs. I let some people and dogs try a few agility obstacles with assistance and explained how it takes positive training and patience to get the dogs to work. I loved having the dogs try the tunnel. Many people don't think their dog will go through, but with a little patience and positive reinforcement they do it and the dogs seem so happy and proud of themselves! Then I have them do it a second time and they zoom right through.


That is FANTASTIC! I am very glad that people were so interested. :clap:

I agree that a bit more emphasis could have been on education and that is a good goal for next year. Actually I had wanted to have games/contests that focused more on a dog's obedience skills and manners than just the cutesy stuff, but oh well, it was fun. I was kind of surprised that there were so many people because the weather was supposed to be bad. I think there might have been more people and dogs than last year. I'm open to any suggestions for improvements for the next event.


I have a few suggestions that may or may not be feasible, depending on the rules of the park and the number of volunteers:

    1. Possibly fence the park in and have designated entrances and exits. At each entrance, people are checked to see what kind of leash they have -- anything deemed unsafe for the environment is not allowed to be used. Maybe have traffic leads or other safe leashes donated in order to replace the unsafe leads.

    2. Make sure the entrances and exits are kept separate. That way, the dogs entering and dogs exiting are not allowed to pass each other and possibly cause spats.

    3. Have roaming "monitors" in the crowd to watch out for people and dogs who are misbehaving. If they won't change their/their dogs' behaviour, ask them to leave. Have the monitors hand out doggy bags for the poop problem and have waste buckets placed around the park.

    4. If one sport is going to be represented, ALL should be. I LOVE the fact that agility was spotlighted! Have obedience demonstrations. Do a frisbee toss. Maybe someone can set up dock diving. Have weight pull demonstrations. Find a K9 handler that is willing to do demonstrations with pit bulls. (Is there a working pit bull K9 in the CT area? I don't know, but could possibly find out.)

    5. EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION. Especially for people who come in with their puppies and dogs wearing chains and acting like bad-asses. I didn't see a spay/neuter tent -- was there one? More discussion on BSL. Today's event proved why the majority of pit bulls should NEVER be in dog parks -- discuss this. Give demonstrations on proper dog behaviour and signs to watch out for -- if your dog is posturing up, get it away from the other dog. Have someone discuss proper nutrition, and various diets.

Our dogs are special. They are amazing athletes. While the costume contest was cute, as was the best kisser contest, and best trick contest, ANY breed can do that. Not every breed can do what ours can. We need to show WHY our chosen breed is so special and why our breed deserves a fair shake.
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Postby hey21jude » October 25th, 2008, 9:53 pm

:goodStuff:
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Postby Leslie H » October 25th, 2008, 10:53 pm

The agility demo looked good. It got a lot of people's attention, and the dogs looked happy and upbeat. It was probably the most informative thing that I observed. Your new girl is very nice.
I would have appreciated knowing that we weren't wanted this year. I did reply to your thread on here, as communication was minimal last year, I just took things for granted, which was my error.
It's no big deal in the long run.
I just would have liked to see more education about responsible ownership. Dog aggression is often present in our breed. I think a booth on dog aggression, maybe some posters about canine body language and communication. I was appalled at how few of the owners there seemed aware of the body language of their dogs, and other dogs.
Overall, it seemed like a positive event. However, I spent much of the event waiting for a dog fight to erupt. I saw a little puppy get nailed, but he was ok except for some minor scratches. Perhaps some more emphasis on training, proper leashes and collars, and why APBT owners must hold themselves to a higher standard.
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Postby Moe » October 25th, 2008, 11:01 pm

It poured here...Titan, Orsa and I where suppose to go to PBA day in Philly and man the pitty kissing booth..Needless to say they moved it indoors and no dogs allowed!!! WTF! What is PBA day with no PB's??? Needless to say we did not go, because it was moved to a bar, and the only reason it was moved to the bar (I feel) because the people who arranged the move garunteed $100 in bar sales..oh goody drunk people...
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Postby ellie@ny » October 25th, 2008, 11:42 pm

It still amazes me though that the "breed experts" of this event wouldn't let Leslie to do her demo with her so called "skinny" dog Soleil.In working events we call that "conditioned"weight and has nothing to do with starving the dogs.You achieve that actually with hard work.
There is an obvious difference between working dogs and pets in every breed in look,so why isn't that acceptable in our breed at these kind of events?

Jeez Leslie, just give that poor dog a burger or something... :rolleyes2:
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Postby BullyLady » October 26th, 2008, 12:59 am

ellie@ny wrote:There is an obvious difference between working dogs and pets in every breed in look,so why isn't that acceptable in our breed at these kind of events?


I think part of it is that because these dogs have such a short dense coat it is more obvious when they are thinner. Not that other dogs in other breeds aren't equally as thin, just that it's more obvious because of their coat type. Not that that excuses the comments that people make, but I think it's probably the explanation as to why.

I have never owned a pit bull, but I did own an AB (similar coat type) who had severe hip dysplasia so we kept her just on the healthy side of very thin, on the advice of our vet, so as not to cause her joints more distress, and people were constantly making comments like, "Oh my gosh your poor dog, why don't you feed her!?!?" :rolleyes2:

I am sorry that the experience wasn't more positive for you guys, but it sounds like some great suggestions came out of it. Maybe next year will be better!
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Postby DemoDick » October 26th, 2008, 9:33 am

Sorry to hear things didn't go well. I've seen similar problems at events that have been "committeed" to death. I really think the key to avoiding this is having one or two knowledgable, authoritative people overseeing everything. But that's the key right there, they have to be BOTH knowledgable and authoritative to get things done.

I've never seen a bad event with good leadership.

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Postby dlynne1123 » October 26th, 2008, 6:42 pm

I went to one in Maine today and it wasn't a complete downer. There weren't many dogs there but I think that may have been due to my comment last month to the people running it. They seemed inexperienced so I mentioned that any flyers should say dogs should arrive with crates in case the dogs do not fend so well in a public environment like that. We stressed that we only wanted trained dogs and event dogs on site for demonstrations. Luckily the only dogs that were brought in were puppies but there were still a few minor squabbles. This one was at a huge pet quarters so we had random pet dogs coming through too. Most of the people we had there today weren't knowledgable but the therapy dogs and CGC dogs got a good word out. We have a few facilities here that try to cater to bullies and offer classes specifically for these dogs for free. I think that went well with people who had no idea where to start with their training. We also stressed adding a weight pull demo next year. We're trying to have a 'fun pull' for non sanctioned dogs in the Portland area. Just as an exposure to the sport. We were lucky to have a lot of feedback from this event so we may have a better turn out now. All in all, ours wasn't huge, and pretty laid back but it educated some fly by shoppers as well as getting some people together to meet each other and get it better next year.
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Postby mnp13 » November 3rd, 2008, 12:02 pm

I've been pondering this thread since it was initially put up. I've been comtemplating posting, but I have to admit I am very soured to this type of event overall.

In my experience organizers of events like this often have rose colored glasses on and are totally blinded to the reality of what can, will and does happen at most dog events (regardless of breed.)

There has to be a balance of responsible owners, behaved dogs, and most importantly, vigilant organizers. If no flexies were allowed at the event, there needed to be an official somone walking around telling people that they could either buy an appropriate leash from a vendor or leave the premises. Oblivious people with snarky dogs needed to be asked to leave or to crate their dogs.

Frankly, dogs don't need to be at these events. I don't care what the breed is. If there is not actual compitition or testing going on then why do the dogs need to be there? Even if there are demos or other things going on, the only dogs out should be the ones who are getting ready to enter the ring, in the ring or leaving the ring. In my opinion, that The last trial I was at was very tightly run, but I saw one nasty encounter that didn't have blood by nothing but sheer luck.

I greatly enjoy dog events, no matter what activity is going on at them. However, I can't stand careless owners, and no matter what event you are talking about or what level of dogs are there, there are always careless owners. On the other hand, there are very very careful owners who still make mistakes.

Even the most carefully monitored events can have accidents, and I'm not discounting that. But the free-for-all events makes me crazy.
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