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Is HA actually common in the breed?

Discussion in 'Dog Debates' started by bbkazier, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. bbkazier

    bbkazier Puppy

    This is a sincere and honest question. I grew up around pit bulls and have always loved the breed. I've fought against BSL in my area even when I didn't own a pit myself. I earnestly believed the party line that while DA is just part of the breed and can be managed, HA is rare and caused by mishandling. Blame the owner, not the breed and all that.

    I've been in a position recently where I can finally own a dog again and started lurking on pitbull forums like this one to do some research. And it seems like HA is actually rather common. Most of the dogs are put down once they start growling/lunging (and I have no issue with that decision), but this makes me feel very uneasy that human aggression is as 'built in' as DA aggression and can occur despite an experienced owner and good handling. The 'in memorial' sections of these forums (this one too) always have a large number of dogs put down for HA...and in one of the threads here, an owner even mentioned that 'tons of people have made that hard decision here.' The training sections usually have threads about HA with owners being encouraged to put the dog down.

    So have I been mislead all this time with the idea that pit bulls are great with people, bad with dogs? I've looked at other breed specific forums (goldens, labs, rottis, etc.) and don't see near the same number of HA cases.

    Again, this is a sincere question. I honestly WANT to like and fight for this breed, it's just the more I read, the more I realize that these dogs do seem to 'turn' in greater numbers....and with their strength and game, they can do real damage.
  2. JoeBingo

    JoeBingo Banned

    Human Aggression (HA) and Dog Aggression (DA) are two entirely different types of aggression.

    The ONLY commonality between the two is that they are both genetic and not learned behavior. Neither aggressions can be trained out ... only managed.

    Some people in the general public as well as on public dog forums confuse Human Aggression with behavioral problems such reactivity, redirects, guarding etc. While those behaviors are often not acceptable, they aren't genetic. However, in lieu of an ability to correct bad behavior and often mislabeling as Human Aggression ... these dogs too are often put to sleep (PTS).

    And still others in the general public TRAIN dogs to be aggressive toward humans and/or dogs ... but that is a behavior and not genetic. The end result is quite possibly the same regardless.

    A truly HA dog is NOT common in bully breed types. Those that are HA are most often the result of mixed breeding and poor/faulty genetics resulting from backyard breeding (BYB). Had you also noticed that most of the dogs said to be HA in the memorial section you spoke of ... were not purebred, pedigreed and registered but rather came from shelters, rescues, fosters or otherwise unknown origin and pedigree ??

    Furthermore, when bully type dogs exhibit even the remotest semblance to Human Aggression OR bad behaviors that involve humans ... MOST err on the side of caution and PTS.

    Main stream media and the general public is often misinformed concerning dog breeds and lump a host of breeds and their mixed variants under one generic term of "pit bull" and it is the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) that suffers most for this when a tragic event occurs and they are not the problem at all or even most often the breed of dog involved.

    All dogs are individuals and should be assessed as such, regardless of breed.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2012
  3. Tanktastic

    Tanktastic Big Dog

    Most of the cases you are reading about are dealing with mixed breed dogs (unknown origin, or not pure bred American pit bull Terrier). So I would say that it is not as common as you are believing within the actual breed. There is also a trend that has been going on for quite a while where some "genius" tough guys are crossing guardian breeds with the American pit bull Terrier and actually breeding for human aggression. But then again it's crossed with something else so isn't a true American pit bull Terrier.
  4. Tanktastic

    Tanktastic Big Dog

    Joe said it better and beat me to it:grin:
  5. Fieldmarshal

    Fieldmarshal Big Dog

    -You are completely ignoring the fact that in the training section, you are generally only going to see negative behaviors/traits, which is the whole point of that section, you cant use that section to form any sort of opinion on the general temperaments of any breed in any forum. People generally do not go to the training section to talk about how Obedient and temperamentally sound their dogs are. So you have no way to logically compare good dogs vs bad dogs, and say certain things are "common" with the breed as a whole.

    -The memorial sections on pitbull forums have a higher percent of dogs put down for HA because HA is taken more seriously and dealt with more severely than other dog forums, where HA dogs have a higher level of acceptance. So here too, you cant use this section to come to any conclusion on how common HA is.

    -It seems you failed to look at the circumstances for the dogs behavior. Have you looked into the fact that many of the dogs with behavioral issues are rescues with unknown genetics and pasts that could include abuse? Have you compared dogs with known genetic history to rescues and mixes? A lot of the dogs in this forum and other pitbull forums are not even pitbulls, but mixes of unknown origins, in many cases "assumed" to have pitbull in them.

    -'turn' in greater numbers?...Well, have you considered that there are far more pitbulls/mixes in the general dog population and that hard numbers are meaningless unless we are talking percentages...Just because you see more of these cases does not mean its common, because you have to factor in the rest of the dogs from the population.

    The "potential" for HA exists in every breed, your fallacy here is focusing your research on areas where you will come up with more cases of HA and other behavioral issues, what else did you expect to see in the training/obedience sections on dog forums? You are ignoring some key variables when you try to challenge the fact that HA is rare in the breed, which it is.
  6. Ali132

    Ali132 Good Dog

    This, and with this these shitty breeders aren't taking temperament into consideration even if it was a lab/pit mix if the parents don't have good stable temperaments then the pups won't either. Pair that with fear or never being socialized and you get a mess of a dog.

    If you get a real apbt from a good breeder human aggression will be very very rare
  7. K9 Love

    K9 Love Good Dog

    What Joe said 100%! :)
  8. there have been dogs that i could walk right up to and pet on the chain/kennel and some i would stay away from. the nature of the breed is not the prettiest among all the breeds out there and if your not ready to cull a dog for it then dont go owning one. these dogs are bulldogs and dont get them confused. not all of them even pure bred are going to be human friendly. I was told when i was little that the more you let these dogs love you the more they will engage in protecting you. politically the story of all these dogs being human friendly is a nice one, but it leaves room for many accidents from people who are unexpectedly in control of this situation.
  9. remember that that friendliness was geared toward the box and not out. people have taken that idea and related it to everything APBT.
  10. Savage Destiny

    Savage Destiny Big Dog

    As someone who works with all breeds of dog and has for many years, let me also throw out there that other breed owners are MUCH more lenient or in denial about aggression issues than the people you generally find on bull breed forums. I have met plenty of nasty dogs, and some downright scary dogs, whose owners completely denied or were oblivious to the fact that their dog was dangerous. A few of those have been bullies, many more have been breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labs, Mastiffs, Cattle Dogs, and pretty much all small breeds, haha.
  11. canine12

    canine12 Puppy

  12. Poisoned

    Poisoned GRCH Dog

    No, I really do not think it is. I've handled more "Pit Bull" breeds, most of which had no papers and were probably mixed, than any other breed and so far only one had issues with humans, and she had something mentally wrong with her, and was also raised in a bad home, then dumped at a shelter before coming to me.

    I define human aggression the way I would dog-aggression, reacting to humans with aggression, be it barking/growling or lunging like a dog-aggressive dog would to other dogs even if a neutral area with nothing to protect. I don't think a dog who is a resource guarder, or who protects their property or humans is human-aggressive.

    Now, if you just mean the willingness to bite or aggress a stranger (I assume stranger, not family) for whatever.. still no. The other breed I have the most experience with is German Shepherds. Every one I have known, save for one bitch I owned of American Show lines, would bite you for coming in the yard, or acting sketchy around their owners. And that isn't even human aggression IMO. But most Pit Bulls still would not aggress a human unless you were seriously threatening their human, and in many cases... even then do nothing. They aren't bred for protection, or to have a protective/defensive temperament.

    As a whole, no, it's not common in the breed. But just like with my GSD who would love on a burglar for breaking in, there will be dogs of any breed who go against the standard. It's in individual thing.
  13. phillysmom

    phillysmom Good Dog

    Agree with Joe on this as well. I would go as far to see that many of the dogs you read about with HA problems are probably poorly bred, or even mixes. For example, I have 4 "pitbull" mixes and each are, IMO, poorly bred dogs. Now I am lucky that none of them are HA. I personally know of many, many people with "pitbull" type dogs and NOT ONE of those dogs are what I would consider well bred dogs. There are just so many dogs of this type being bred all over the place. I think that many of these dogs with aggression problems that you see posted on these boards are dogs that have "weak nerves", definitely NOT a characteristic that a well bred APBT would have.
  14. Jazzy

    Jazzy GRCH Dog

    I can see where you would form the conclusion that there is a preponderance of HA in the breed from reviewing the forums.

    My take on it; is more or less summed up by the above quote; and a personal obsevation. I could be wrong; but this is my perspective: people decide they want a pit bull because they have seen the positive media hype and decide they want to champion the underdog; however they are not actual "dog" people (as in comfortable with dogs in general, or are still somewhere in their head leery about the dreaded pit bull); so what happens is they get a pit bull that acts like a dog...you know barking and yes at times under certain circumstances growling...making the general vocalizations that tend to come out of a dog's mouth; and behaving at times like any untrained dog will...and the people freak out and the first question out of their mouths is "OMG is my dog HA? Should I be worried about this"??? Which frankly goes up my backside, because if someone is that worried about a dog acting like a...dog; they really shouldn't have one.

    I have even seen a plethora of threads about puppies exhibiting normal puppy behavior with the title of "Possible HA, should I be worried". It is quite honestly mind boggling.

    Then the other factor that comes into play is most folks in the pitbull community have a zero tolerance mentality for anything that even looks like it could possibly be HA, because they don't want to see any more bad media coverage. So they go overboard (imo) and lump almost any behavior that could possibly, even remotely be construed as eventually, maybe leading up to a potential episode of HA into that category. Then another portion of folks who understand when the behavior is a concern but still in the realm of typical dog that needs training behavior; but they don't think the person asking the question is actually capable of rising to the occassion and training/managing their dog, so again the answer will be PTS to avoid a situation which could be bad for the breed as a whole.

    I'm happy to see that most folks are now more thoughtful about issues raised concerning possible "HA" and the answer people generally receive is something to the effect of "If you are concerned then you need to check things out with a qualified professional, preferably a behaviorist; who can evaluate your dog in person". A few years ago the knee jerk reaction on forums was almost unanimously a chorus of villagers waving pitch forks demanding the dog's death.

    You don't see this on other breed forums because, and again this is strictly my opinion; paranoia about possible HA seems to be a trait specific to some pit bull owners...who really probably should have a different breed of dog.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2012
  15. HatterKat

    HatterKat Puppy

    Naturally I would say No.

    Daphne and Tyke both are weary of other human who come into the house. When the door bell rings they go berzerk and when people come in uninvited they try to attack. But when Jesse or I accompany the strangers in then they are both fine with unknown humans being in the house. But I think both Daphne and Tyke might be mixes, plus the fact that Ahriman and Artemis (rottX and whippetX are guard dogs) might help be training them. frankly I just dont know.

    All other Pits that I know are super friendly. And even Daphne when meeting my 2 godsons for the first time when I wasn't around was leering of the parents but just loved on my godsons (2 and 7) and put up with their antics of tail pulling and ear pulling but just wouldn't let the parent's too close to her.

    Do perhaps part of it is in how you raise it.

  16. Swolf

    Swolf Little Dog

    I think you've got some great answers especially with the facts of Pit Bull owners being less tolerant of HA, more likely to worry about it, and the massive amount of mixed or just poorly bred dogs out there.
    The only thing I didn't see that I would like to add is that:
    1- You do have idiots out there not with just poor breeding practices in general but breeding specifically for HA dogs, and the people that buy these dogs aren't usually shining examples of dog owners. Sadly they are quite commonly used as an image breed and a lot of individuals that want that want a dog that is HA. I don't know if it was my city specifically or if this is a more wide spread issue but when just driving through the less savory side of town I could always count at least 5 Pit Bull type dogs, more often than not being walked on large chains.
    2- Pit Bulls, as someone else has said, have become the "under dog" to many people. That means a lot more people are getting them and while they aren't necessarily bad owners they aren't necessarily cut out to own a Bully breed. An inexperienced owner is more likely to call out HA IMO.
    3- There are a lot of dogs out there that are not just Pit Bulls (a name that included multiple breeds already) but mislabeled as Pit Bulls. That automatically raises the stakes IMO, if you've got so many different dogs that are labeled as this type of dog that's going to automatically raise the chances that a HA dog could be labeled as a Pit Bull even if it's not one (this is one argument as to why bite statistics can be considered unreliable). Who is to say these mixed breeds or unknown heritage dogs that are really showing HA even are Pit Bulls? A dog can look exactly like a purebred dog even if it's not one and the general public doesn't really seem to know what a Pit actually looks like as it is.

    From my reading back when these dogs were being bred originally they were used for dog fighting (note: I DO NOT approve of dog fighting, this is historical information used to explain the breed today) and humans were in the rings up close with the dogs (handlers and reffs). Dogs that didn't go after the other dog weren't bred or put down, and likewise dogs that bit a human weren't bred or were put down (admittedly with a few exceptions from what I have read). Genetically that should make dogs that are DA but not HA in the same way that say a Border Collie that didn't herd was put down or not bred and the likelihood of running into a BC that doesn't herd is slim.

    From years of shelter work the most necrotic viscous things I've ever seen were these Poodle x Golden or Lab mixes that have become so popular (I've never met a friendly one) but I've never seen a word said by anyone that maybe they were dangerous.
  17. MJJean

    MJJean GRCH Dog

    Common in the breed? No. Common in the owners? Maaaybe. I swear, my Pit Bulls love people much more than I do!

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