Pitbull history

Has anyone had a chance to listen to this Fresh Air episode with the author of a book on pitbull history?

Kind of interesting.  I'm one of those people who tends to feel intimidated by them, though I think they are beautiful dogs.  We've had many discussions on this topic, but I thought I'd share this podcast because I learned some new things.


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  • This is really interesting.  My trainer has a Pitbull, and getting to know his dog went a long way to helping me with my "pitbull prejudice". 

  • My husband and I listened to this in the car on a trip this past weekend. I was a little disappointed as I felt it was more about the author than pit bulls. I was really hoping to hear something that would disprove the popular notion of pits, but I didn't. I still feel the same as I did before- there are most likely lots of great dogs that are pits out there, but on the whole the breed is responsible for more than its fair share of bites, maulings, and even deaths. Which makes me have a healthy respect and even fear of them. As counterpoint to the author's claims I offer:
    • I felt the same way, Kamela. It really seemed like mostly conjecture, not hard facts; the author seems to be mostly just giving opinions, every other question was answered with "I think". Nothing new here; the pitbull advocates all love to point to the dog in the Our Gang as some kind of proof that pitbulls are "family dogs". To me that proves nothing. I also noticed a similarity between the excuses she made for pitbulls and the excuses she made for her parents' abuse and neglect of their family dogs growing up. That kind of weakened her argument for me. My feelings about pits wasn't changed one iota. And her reluctance to answer the question about her own dog's DNA was weird and suspicious to me.

  • She says there isn't any credible scientific evidence that they are hardwired to be killers. While maybe that is true, there are statistics that prove there is something to it. You don't hear about Golden Retrievers or Poodles killing people or biting their limbs off or killing little maltese dogs as they go for a walk with their owners. They may not all be wired to be killers and are as sweet as can be, but there is really no way to tell. I am sure to the people that have them as family pets, they appear to be docile, and are shocked when their dog kills the neighbor kid.

  • My daughter and I once got into a terrific fight about Pitbulls. She feels it is all in the training and how they are brought up and I feel there could be something in their genetic makeup. When we used to go the the dog park, Fudge always wanted to play with Gus, the Pitbull, and to be honest, Fudge was rougher in her play. It isn't that I dislike Pitbulls, but rather I choose to err on the side of caution and not get one.  I just don't think it is worth the risks. 

    • That's how I feel too. Plenty of pits might be great dogs, but I have no way of knowing when I have an encounter with one, if it's one of the "bad apples". When things go wrong with a pit bull, people and/or animals get seriously injured. If my 12 lb. schnauzer gets you, she might break the skin, but no one is in danger of serious injury from her. Not the same with pits. It's too scary and too much of a risk when you can't know and the potential is there.
    • Yes, I am pretty liberal minded, especially when it comes to dogs, but I fostered a little 6-mo-old pitbull when her family was in a shelter.  She had been at the SPCA for two weeks, and they could not keep her any longer.  I took her and at first it seemed to be working out, but as soon as she got accustomed to her new home, she started fighting with my dogs and bit Zeppo twice.  I called her family and said she had to go and they had a family member come and pick her up.  I pretty much draw the line at chihuahuas and pitbulls, and that is what there are most of in our local SPCA.

  • Plus I think some of these dog owners are clearly delusional, just like this author. I have had 2 recent experiences with pits in Annabelle's training classes and none of them positive. In one, the foster mom had absolutely no control over the dog and never should have been brought to a classroom setting to begin with. He was mean and tried to bite the trainer, the foster mom, the guy standing next to her. Luckily, the trainer suggested private training as he wasn't welcome back to class. The second one was assaulting Annabelle and she was obviously in distress. I am trying to get her away from the dog, but he is too big and I am having no luck. I finally said something his owner who had no clue what his dog was doing. He said he is just playing, what is the big deal. Yeah, just playing you idiot...he keeps rolling Annabelle onto her back and pinning her and she is yelping and crying. How is that play? Both of these were rescues.

    • Ugh. This is a general pet peeve of mine. I wish all dog owners had to take a class on or somehow be educated on basic canine body language and behavior. My husband and I took a class offered by a trainer in our town (to rescue group fosters) and we learned SO much. Such good info to have, every dog owner really needs it!
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