Do we expect TOO MUCH from our dogs...

This is where to talk about Pit Bulls!

Postby amazincc » January 17th, 2010, 5:58 pm

because they ARE Pit Bulls??? :|

In light of the recent ill-fated evaluation of my own dogs, Lizs' struggles w/Inara, and the many posts from other members looking for help regarding their dogs behaviors... is "being owned by a Pittie" making us more anxious because of public perceptions, and are we sometimes forgetting that they are dogs first and Pit Bulls second?
For me, personally, I think this definitely seems to be the case.
I'm one of those people who usually "doesn't sweat the small stuff", even though I'd like to think of myself as a very responsible pet owner. I provide adequate vet care, good food, and a more than nice shelter for all my animals. I teach basic obedience and good manners, I have infinite patience when it comes to potty training, and I understand that "dogs are dogs" and not really little furry people. :rolleyes2: :wink:
BUT... I've definitely noticed that I approach our training/daily living by breed rather than by species lately, and it's making things more difficult than they should be.
Daisy gets to be a dog more than the boys do... she's a snarky, crotchety old lady w/a stubborn streak, yet I don't eye-ball her every move w/suspicion or analyze every little thing she does ad nauseum.
I don't get frustrated when she yips and yaps at every dog who walks past our yard, or when she starts chasing them (and their people) up and down our fence. When she growls at the boys over a toy or a treat I don't automatically think "DA"... I think "now there is a dog who doesn't like to share"...
She has growled at the groomer and the vet before, and not one person suggested a muzzle. As a matter of fact - it never occured to me that she should wear one either. We chalk it up to her not wanting to be touched in certain places by certain people, and it's no big deal.
Daisy doesn't like most small dogs, and the ones she does encounter she tries to "herd" and/or dominate... it doesn't bother me, and I've never tried to train that trait out of her. She also likes to herd people, which I find amusing rather than annoying or alarming.
Her obedience is so-so on a good day, and she likes to test me when we have visitors... kinda like a child will test a parent when company comes over. It usually takes several commands to get her to obey, but I'm past being embarrassed or apprehensive about it. I manage her quite well, considering, and I'm fine with that. She's a DOG first, after all... and a Border Collie Mix second.

Now, the boys are held to higher standards by me and other people, unfortunately... and it's taking some of the fun out of being owned by two Pit Bulls. Maybe it's because people approach them differently (most are either afraid or very cautious)... or maybe it's because I'm looking at them differently myself lately. I know these dogs better than anyone, but the "what ifs..." about any number of potential disasters/mishaps/misunderstandings is always lurking in the back of my head - and I hate it.
What if one of the boys jumps on someone when greeting them? What if someone thinks they're dangerous for barking at passer-bys/strange dogs on the street? What if one of them gets out of the yard? (Daisy has... and I was not in a panic about it, just simply called her back in. However... when Faust followed me to the mail box one time because I didn't latch the gate right - I think I had a full-blown anxiety attack, even though he came to me immediately when I called him.)
What if Sepp growls at the vet? What if he reacts badly to another dog? Yadda... yadda... yadda... the "what ifs" are endless, because the boys are Pit Bulls first, dogs second.
Neither of them has ever given me a good reason to worry about something bad happening, but since they are Pit Bulls - I worry anyway.
And in my quest to be a responsible owner who has two outstanding breed ambassadors I'm driving all of us crazy, and I expect sometimes almost-impossible results by trying to "out-train" things that are completely natural for a dog.
Dogs bark at other dogs. Not all dogs like all other dogs or people. Dogs jump, chase, growl, get in scuffles, don't always listen... because they're dogs, and that's what they do.
Living in a place where Pit Bulls are automatically euthanized for the smallest infraction, and are never adopted out once they enter the shelter system, puts a lot of additional pressure on a person.

I hate that I've become so worried about "public opinion" that I expect mine to be perfect. A little paranoia goes a long way... :bs: :nono:


I need an intervention. :sad2: :neutral:
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Postby Pit♥bull » January 17th, 2010, 6:16 pm

Intervention :|

I do agree we sometimes go 'overboard'.
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Postby amazincc » January 17th, 2010, 6:25 pm

Awwww... I love your new avatar, Bob! :heartbeat:
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Postby hugapitbull » January 17th, 2010, 6:36 pm

amazincc wrote:Awwww... I love your new avatar, Bob! :heartbeat:


Yes, I think Duke is finally a fully accepted family member. :dance:

Oh, and I agree with you. We do hold our pitties to a whole different standard than normal dogs. But with all the media hype, how can we not? We are the only ones to protect them from the crazies (the ones that are crazier than us).
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » January 17th, 2010, 6:45 pm

I agree, Shanna. We have to, to a certain extent, due to the rampant BSL and media discrimination. That being said, I always keep in mind that Inara is a dog first and foremost. But I think regardless of what breed I owned, I would expect to dog to have basic manners.
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Postby amazincc » January 17th, 2010, 6:46 pm

hugapitbull wrote:
amazincc wrote:Awwww... I love your new avatar, Bob! :heartbeat:


Yes, I think Duke is finally a fully accepted family member. :dance:

Oh, and I agree with you. We do hold our pitties to a whole different standard than normal dogs. But with all the media hype, how can we not? We are the only ones to protect them from the crazies (the ones that are crazier than us).


Oh, I know... I just find it sad that, by almost having to be over-protective, it takes away a part from our Pit Bulls just being able to be dogs.
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Postby amazincc » January 17th, 2010, 6:48 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote: But I think regardless of what breed I owned, I would expect to dog to have basic manners.


So do I... I'm just not so anal about it w/Daisy... because she's not a Pit. :oops:
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Postby hugapitbull » January 17th, 2010, 6:57 pm

amazincc wrote:Oh, I know... I just find it sad that, by almost having to be over-protective, it takes away a part from our Pit Bulls just being able to be dogs.


I know exactly where you are coming from, I feel the same way. As docile as Trouble is, (ok, she was a wild child when she was young, but never aggressive) I NEVER let her out without a leash until after her amputation. Now, somehow people accept her as a dog with a handicap and the fear is gone. :crazy2:
I never had this insane fear if one of my other dogs zipped out the door and I had to go after them. It was simply no big deal. If Duke zips out the door, I go into full panic mode.

It is unfair for the dogs and for us. I'm just glad there are folks like us who will take the responsibilty and give these dogs a happy life.
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Postby amazincc » January 17th, 2010, 7:12 pm

hugapitbull wrote:
I never had this insane fear if one of my other dogs zipped out the door and I had to go after them. It was simply no big deal. If Duke zips out the door, I go into full panic mode.



I know EXACTLY what you mean. Objectively speaking, Daisy would be more likely to get into a fight... but Faust putting two paws outside the gate almost sent me into heart failure. It's so totally irrational on my part, and I know that... but there it is.
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Postby airwalk » January 17th, 2010, 10:23 pm

One of the conversations Vi and I have had numerous times is exactly this. Sometime bull breed owners are so overly cautious - so anticipating problems that the owners own anxiety causes difficulty for both the owner and the dogs. Imagine if you were your dog...and your person was always in a high state of alert...would you not also be in the same high state of alert wondering what you should be worried about??

I know there are a lot of media concerns and public perceptions concerns...and I don't live with a APBT, but I do have a mix and I certainly have a reactive dog and I have been guilty of falling prey to the public perception thing. I've reached the conclusion my dogs are dogs in all their glory and frustration.

I am not a professional trainer and my dogs aren't perfect...they have their idiosyncracies...some rather embarrassing at times...but they love me and forgive my every mistake.
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Postby amazincc » January 17th, 2010, 11:07 pm

airwalk wrote: Sometime bull breed owners are so overly cautious - so anticipating problems that the owners own anxiety causes difficulty for both the owner and the dogs. Imagine if you were your dog...and your person was always in a high state of alert...would you not also be in the same high state of alert wondering what you should be worried about??


Yep... *sigh*... I'm turning into one of "those" people. :crazy2: :nono:
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 17th, 2010, 11:24 pm

I'd like to see a happy medium between the two...because I either see hyper-vigilant APBT owners...or the flip side, owners that just don't get it...and don't see what the problem could be with their dogs running wild or acting like idiots. :neutral: *sigh*

I'm pretty laid-back with my guys (of course I'm not a APBT owner...)...cause I'm just a dog-hugging hippie.
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Postby airwalk » January 17th, 2010, 11:58 pm

I'm trying to remember to be one of those happy medium owners....not over reacting to everything nor underreacting. Lordy who knew dogs were this much of a challenge. :mrgreen:
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Postby CinderDee » January 18th, 2010, 2:14 am

airwalk wrote:I'm trying to remember to be one of those happy medium owners....not over reacting to everything nor underreacting. Lordy who knew dogs were this much of a challenge. :mrgreen:


I'm not so sure that it's the dogs that are the challenge. lol
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Postby airwalk » January 18th, 2010, 3:20 pm

I'm pretty sure you're right Dee...the dogs may be challenging, but the owners are the ones challenged.
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Postby Patch O' Pits » January 18th, 2010, 3:52 pm

Maybe over the years I've learned to look at things differently. I think some are too hard on themselves while others give up too quickly. Part of it is that we are always under scrutiny while in public because of our breed of choice.

Sadly, I see a lot of trainers doing more damage it seems than helping owners because they do not know enough about the breed to be giving others advice which doesn't help any.

I don't know...
I only expect from mine what I know they are capable of and what I am capable of training them to do and be LOL. Every dog's personality is somewhat different, and thus are the way you train and deal with them in everyday life.

I expect goofiness, I expect to see different drives, & I expect to be challenged at times. I expect to be frustrated with certain things, and have to step back and start again another day... even start over at times from square one using a different method.

Just even watching the other dogs in therapy class, I could see how different all of mine are compared to those who just come in and just lay right down like a lump. I don't know for sure but I think that type of dog would frustrate me more.

Of course when I am exhausted I sometimes think I'd want that kind of dog :wink:

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Postby RedChrome » January 21st, 2010, 11:33 am

I know that I was overly cautious with Red and I think that it created some of her "issues" that she has now. I was so into the, "OMG, it's a pit bull, she has to be PERFECT cause of the bad reputation they have." By doing that I put a ton of pressure on her and myself and that didn't work for either of us, she was miserable and I was miserable.

I can say that since moving back to WA, I've relaxed and so has she. Living somewhere, where you have to worry so much about what your dog does, how it looks at another dog etc. is so stressfull for the owner and the dog. She is a dog and has bad days just like any other dog. Thankfully, I can read her fairly well and know a bad day vs. a good day.

I still worry about public image and things but she doesn't hardly ever go in public and when I do take her out, the more relaxed I am, the more relaxed she is.

I can say that I love the little Red dog with all my heart and she's been worth everything. Maybe if I wouldn't have been that overly cautious, paranoid owner, she'd be different now but I don't know.
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Postby call2arms » January 21st, 2010, 11:35 pm

I don't know. I'd rather be the owner that I am, and not like the girl at work who has little dogs running loose in the clinic... Barking at aggressive dogs and looking for trouble, and the girl is all upset that the aggro dog almost bit hers... I mean, come on, you have ZERO control on your dogs, I'm sorry but this is all your fault.

Sometimes people think I'm on a bit of a high horse, but my standards are what we live by, and while I try not to be overly anal (why is your little dog allowed to snark at everyone while my dog can't blink an eye the wrong way?), I just make sure nothing bad happens, and I keep my dog out of potentially bad situations as much as possible.
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