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Pit Bulls and Dog parks

Discussion in 'General Dog Discussions' started by maryellen, Nov 27, 2007.

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  1. maryellen

    maryellen Good Dog

    More often than they should, pit bull owners wonder about the dog park issue, finding themselves explaining to others that their dog is not a "killing machine," it is not "one of those pit bulls" and there is no reason that their dog can’t enjoy off leash time with unknown dogs. Some will even insist that "you only add to the misconception toward this breed when you don't allow your friendly pit bull to go to the dog park.” After all, these people argue that it is all about "how we raise them" and providing socialization is the key to no problem dogs. Unfortunately, that’s not true.

    Dog aggression in our own dogs should not be a problem. Good management and knowledge prevent trouble. Responsible and caring pit bull owners have done their homework and know what to expect from the breed. This breed's genetic traits involve dog aggression, to varying degrees. Even the most well socialized pit bull can one day decide that other dogs are not play buddies. It happens most often when the dog reaches maturity between two and three years of age, and it can happen without apparent reason.

    Here are some good articles for basic breed information:


    Because of the breed's background, it is unfair to expect dogs to behave the way we want them to when it comes to dog aggression and dog to dog relationships. We set our dogs up for failure when we decide to let them off leash in a public place and allow them to romp with other dogs. Dog parks are a place where people like to chit chat with each other, paying very little attention to what happens around their dogs. Posturing, body language, subtle looks and even vocalization are often misunderstood or overlooked by dog owners. Even when dogs let us know what is about to happen we might not see what is happening until it is too late. Most dog owners have no idea of what body language means, and don’t know how to intervene if things go wrong. They panic, scream, yell, and hit the attacking dog; all of which often just makes things worse. A fight between two dogs can be hard enough to stop; now imagine a fight among 4 or 5 of them. In fights like these, pets and even people can be seriously injured.

    Dog parks are also a place where unknown dogs are present. We don't know if they’re fully vaccinated or in good health. They can be sick and our dogs can get ill as well.
    We don't know if they are truly friendly dogs or if they may be aggressive. Everybody's dog is friendly, according to their owners. When the "friendly" dog decides to snap at ours, a fight starts.
    Who is going to be blamed for that fight? Will it be the pit bull or the cute little fluffy dog? The answer is obvious.

    Here is the story of one accident at a dog park, involving a pit bull.:


    Below is an article about a pit bull named Nettie that attacked a police horse, in San Francisco, in 2003. Nettie was let off leash at a public park by her irresponsible owner. The dog did nothing wrong, but she was set up for failure by the person who should have protected her. Nettie belonged to an SPCA volunteer and she was often taken to senior centers to comfort the elderly. Nettie was a good dog. This pretty pit bull female paid the price for her owner’s ignorance and irresponsibility with her life. Many dogs have lost their lives the same way, due to the same kind of irresponsibility. It took her life for her owner to "get it.” Like most situations of this sort, the events that ultimately resulted in Nettie’s unfair death were totally preventable.


    Each time a pit bull is allowed to harm another pet all pit bull owners and their dogs suffer. One common defensive reaction of dog park lovers is "the dog is mine and it is nobody's business where I take it.” This is not true. It is every pit bull owner's business as well. We are surrounded by BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) all over the Country. The news media report dog to dog attacks or dog to cat/cow/horse/sheep attacks almost every day, and with the same attention as if Osama Bin Laden had been captured. Reporters often compare human aggression to animal aggression. How many times do we hear "it was a dog but it could have been a child"?
    It is ridiculous but it happens every day. “There goes another vicious pit bull attacking an innocent dog or cat!” What happens after a pit bull attacks another dog in the neighborhood or at the local dog park? It is like we suddenly own wild animals that have no right to exist. Our friendly neighbor suddenly stops talking to us and no longer lets her children come around our dog. The person we used to walk our dog with is no longer available because she fears for her pet. The two men down the street no longer come and pet our dog when we walk by their homes or rush into the house if they have their dogs with them. People ask for a ban. We did not change and our dog is the same as always but this is the result of one mistake, caused by someone who obviously did not care about the rest of us. It is a sad situation to be in.

    This breed doesn't need any more accidents, we can't afford them. We are in this situation thank to those who failed their own dogs. When a whole breed suffers because of someone's action it is our business as well. No doubt on that.
    Vet bills aren't cheap, emotions can be overwhelming, the guilt stays, so why to risk it? It isn't fair that only one breed is targeted when dogs of other breeds have killed or attacked other dogs. Today, a dog behaving like a dog has become a sin. Fair or not that is how the situation is and every pit bull owner needs to understand it.

    The point of socialization is for a dog to have positive experiences with other dogs. When people take their dogs, perhaps puppies, to a park and something happens, they are responsible for the consequences. A young dog that is attacked for no reason won't be so willing to be friendly the next time it meets an unknown dog. An experience like that is a bad start and can often lead to problems in the future. There are no guarantees on what can happen at a dog park because dog parks are often full of different dogs with different personalities and tolerance levels. Even an easy going adult dog can change its approach after an attack. It is hard enough for a dog of this breed to tolerate other dogs and it is a big mistake to contribute to bad experiences. Dogs should always rely on us to defend them--the trust factor is important. We are responsible for protecting our dogs from harm. A dog that has no choice but to defend itself loses its trust in the owner and knows that in the future it needs to take care of itself. It then becomes fearful of other dogs and not so willing to behave like a well-balanced dog that was socialized in the appropriate way.

    How can we socialize around other dogs then? Good question. Socialization is a must but it has to be done with common sense and in a controlled environment. Perhaps a friend has a mellow dog of the opposite sex and he/she is willing to let the dogs play together. Both owners should know that there is the possibility of a scrap and will intervene immediately and with the appropriate tools/techniques. Both owners will watch their dogs closely and never leave them unsupervised.
    Every pit bull owner should have a breaking stick available, even when on a walk, hidden somewhere. It is a quick and effective way to break a hold.

    What is a breaking stick and why it is an important tool to have:

    Some information on how to break up a fight:

    Obedience classes are an option too. In obedience classes, the dogs are leashed and can learn to control themselves in the presence of other dogs. It is not necessary for a pit bull to be dog friendly, but it is necessary for us to help them learn to control natural behaviors. Dogs that are exposed to this kind of environment can learn to behave with some time and work.

    The local feedstore/petstore is another way to socialize our dogs, because they are another place where dogs are leashed. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t mean we don't need to pay attention to the surroundings. Respect the comfort level of your dog and move away from other dogs if necessary. Face to face interactions can quickly end badly, even when both dogs are leashed.

    Those who are still convinced that a pit bull belongs to a dog park would benefit from reading these links. Their dogs and all of us will benefit as well.Please, don't set your dog up for failure.




  2. amy

    amy Puppy

    What If You Muzzle The Dog At The Dog Park?????
  3. maryellen

    maryellen Good Dog

    NO.. by muzzling a pit bull at a dog park you are A. showing the breed in a negative light and B. muzzles put dogs on the defensive.. that is the worst thing you can do..

    supervised play dates with dogs and owners you know is the way to go.. and some pitbulls cant be around other dogs at all.. a pit bull does NOT need dog friends...
  4. Lassic

    Lassic Big Dog

    I understand what you mean about the parks, Just the other day i was at the park with Bishop and there was about 10-12 dogs off leash being allowed to play this is the first time i have seen Pit bulls there off leash an it was a good day but you did see the dogs getting a Lil to in to it but nothing happened THIS TIME. I talked with one guy there that Had another pit bull puppy and we walked off to the side away from the crowed we both Had our dogs on leash and let them play together and we saw that they were just playing and let them play off leash for a Lil so i figured it was OK because we Had control of our dogs and were away from the others and we both kept an eye on both of them. One thing i wanted to ask what would happen in the case of me having my dog on a leash and another dog off leash decides to come pay a visit and my dog ant having it what would be the out come Because there are a lot of irresponsible dog owners in this park that allow there dogs off leash and think all is sweat in the park, there are signs that say keep all dogs on a leash, so im just wondering what would happen in this situation far as the law.
  5. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    If this was me, I wouldn't take my dog there because of the other owners that don't keep their dogs on a leash. So, rather than ask what would happen, prevent it from happening by not going there:) And carry a break stick. Even if you are just walking your dogs, it's good to have one with you..:)
  6. Rai_77

    Rai_77 Good Dog

    And how would your dog protect itself when attacked, beside the negative image that would present? Your dog could be easily killed because you left it defenseless.

    Oh, and here's a great article on breaking up a dogfight, I have it saved on my desktop.

  7. lockjaw

    lockjaw Little Dog

    i dont know if the dog would be killed unless there was another pitbull there...but i wouldnt want by dog being bit without being able to bite back..but back to the topic..pitbulls are not dog park dogs and not a breed for everyone..all it take is one of the five or ten dogs to growl and its a big mess..so an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
  8. MaryC

    MaryC Little Dog

    Fantastic information! I think it should be required reading before making the decision to bring a bully breed into our lives.
  9. Rai_77

    Rai_77 Good Dog

  10. maryellen

    maryellen Good Dog

    even if your dog didnt start the fight due to its breed it will be blamed.. dog parks are a NO for any bully breed..or for any breed for that matter, tooo much germs, stupid owners, etc..
  11. panda

    panda Little Dog

    I agree. Our rescue adamantly and seriously discusses not ever taking your pit bull to a dog park with potential adopters for all the reasons stated here. It is a bad idea all the way around. I scare the hell out of them with facts and real stories of dog park incidents.
  12. annji

    annji Little Dog

    I recently attended a city sponsored event for dogs. I've worked very hard to socialize my dog and continually work with her so we can go just about anywhere. At this event my entire family was shocked at the number of ill behaved dogs. Not bad dogs...bad owners. Owners that thought their precious lab, poodle or whatever could be excused for jumping, scatching, growling, even biting! Some lady's min pin ran over to my dog, it was on a retractable leash, and bit my dog several times before she was able to pull it away. Ofcourse had my Am Staff done any of these things I am sure she would have ended up on the evening news!
    I am continually amazed at the general publics perception of how dogs should behave. That's why my dog will never go to a dog park.
  13. airwalk

    airwalk Little Dog

    I wouldn't take any of my dogs to an off-leash park, simply because I get to deal with silly owners every day. At every off-leash park we've been to (professionally) I see the majority (not all but most) owners standing off to one side talking and yakking and having no interaction or supervision with their dog(s).

    It's not just the APBT, besides the germs and diseases...my Standard Poodle would not do well in an atmosphere where all the dogs are slightly amped and the dynamics of the pack change every few minutes..he'd end up in trouble, no doubt in my mind.
  14. DieselDawg

    DieselDawg Good Dog

    I tried a "park" here in San Antonio the other day. Diesel was 11 weeks old/17# or so. There were no provisions for puppies or smaller dogs so I was very careful. People either had no control of thier dogs or refused to control thier dogs. Diesel and I were fine but a man brought a couple of Italian Greyhounds in and they were basically hunted down...chased until they were running into the fence at full speed. Owners of the chasers were basically doing nothing. Bad experience all around.

    I had to pick Diesel up at one point and a ladies Pit Mix jumped up on me to get to Diesel. I forearmed him down two times and then he got interested in something else. The lady said, "I'm Sorry, he always does that!". He did it again later and she again apologized. I told her point blank, "You need to either teach your dog not to jump on people, or keep him on a leash!". She just walked off like nobody had ever talked to her that way. No doubt she was a nice lady but a lacking dog owner.

    There were a couple of good owners there (with bigger dogs) but for the most part...lazy pet owners. During the chase I was telling certain individuals that they need to control thier dogs...then I realized they had no control over thier eating habits much less thier dogs. I will not go back for the good of my dog and others. Could have been a nice change of pace but it is safer to walk Diesel in PetSmart or at the Zoo Park. Luckily Diesel does have a couple of steady playmates, including a cat.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2007
  15. DieselDawg

    DieselDawg Good Dog

    Yeah, I almost left that comment out...but I figured it was how I felt at the time so I left it in.
  16. cod_e

    cod_e Puppy

    pitbull owners have to possess some of there dogs personality

    the only reason i believe this, is to all the other dog owners we are the ones who have viscious dogs and on more the one occasion i have found myself backed into a corner fighting for my dog because of B.S.L or people who dont really no what they are saying about pitbulls is false information and even after i show them how good and well behaved my dog is they still try to convince me that he could turn on me. People in the world today dont like to here about the other dogs that have harmed people they tend to forget about Chows rottweilers Dobermans And tend now to only focus on pitbulls. SO to own a pitbull means you must be able to fight for him to be a breed amassador a real example of dog and human peace and coexistence. So I SALUTE ALL OF US THAT OWN PITBULLS AND HELP TO MAKE IT BETTER FOR THEM.
    Lovinglife likes this.
  17. jennay2

    jennay2 Banned

    Threads like this amp me up. I used to do the dog park thing too...god...the stories I could tell...

    I just can't understand anymore why someone would want to bring any breed to a dog park? How is it socialization? 5 dogs ganging up, growling and misbehaving, this does nothing for your dog, except teach bad manners and intolerance.

    I had one woman get pissed because Kayrah (This was months and months ago, mind you) got interested in her screaming fearful chihuahua. Hell, I was interested in the "noises" coming out of that creature, so I couldn't blame Kayrah. The woman got pissed at me, but I asked her why she couldn't just take her small mutt to the SMALL DOG PARK??? Which was 25 feet away! She rather have her dog injured then just walk away!

    Just thinking about the idiots REALLY piss me off, so..I'm going to end it here :) BTW, this IS a great thread! Good information!
  18. lizardobeck

    lizardobeck Puppy

    I bring Fred to the dog park & the one i go to i see alot of other abpt's one day there was three there at the same time, it was great they we had fun, i get your point here & would tend to agree but i feel socialization is better then isolation, sometimes the only place i can socialize Fred is at the dog park. All of my family mostly owns older dogs now and the good ol'boys do not always want an 8 month old all up in their face...tuff stuff, good points though. helpfull links as well.
  19. PNWPBR

    PNWPBR Good Dog

    Thats a scary thought.

    You bring your dog to a dog park where there are OTHER off leash APBT's? Do you understand what could happen in the blink of an eye? Please reconsider! :eek:

    Not going to the dog park is not choosing to isolate your dog, but to protect it and the right of all of us to own our dogs. Instead, doggie playdates... safe, supervised and controlled. Hang out in a backyard, one adult per dog and break sticks and everyone knowing which dog they grab is something you and your dog will benefit from a lot more than running around a germ and disease infested breeding ground for dog fights park.
  20. Rai_77

    Rai_77 Good Dog

    Honestly, do some research on wild wolf packs. YOU are your dog's pack. It's not isolating to not have your dog play with other dogs. It's just not necessary, and can have such disasterous results.

    Dog packs don't go and visit other dog packs. Doesn't happen. They have very clearly marked territories for a reason.

    It's no different now. Have controlled playdates with 1 or 2 other dogs, max, if you must, but really, it's not even needed. Your dog is perfectly happy with the people in your household.

    Plenty of people even have more than one dog living in their homes right now, and the dogs don't even have contact with each other in their own home, and those dogs aren't missing out on a thing! APBTs are people dogs, they want to be with you, long walks, runs, and/or any of the fun sports you can play with them.

    I hope you reconsider your choice to go to the dog park, it really is in the best interest of your dog.
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