Whilst wandering aimlessly around town this week waiting for the pubs to open I was struck by the large number of (what look like to me) Pit Bull dogs out for a stroll with their owners. Im certain that the owners would tell me (if I dared to ask them), that all of these dogs are absolutely not one of those banned American Pit Bulls but are from somewhere else or are another type of Bull Terrier entirely and how Loveable Little Fluffy doesnt need a muzzle in public and hes great with the kids and how we need a guard dog anyway and Im sure you get the picture!
Well, a good mate of mine was out walking his little Wee Scottish Terrier early one morning this week in a suburban Hartlepool street when a loveable little fluffy killing machine, which, so I am told was actually an American Bulldog, and was neither on a lead nor muzzled, ran across the road and simply ripped his little terriers throat out. But apparently that was OK because it had never done anything like that before. Some consolation that was to my pal as his dog lay in a pool of blood on the pavement!
Astonishingly, my friends little terrier has survived the attack but has upwards of 40 stitches all around his neck and still has two drains in his wounds. The vet said that he was the most resilient dog that he had ever seen as he has surprisingly pulled through after being expected to die (a St Bernard actually gave him the last woofs).
I have seriously started to ask the question to myself why are there a disproportionate number of these immensely strong, Bull Terrier-like dogs around the town There seem to be more than any other type of dog you wont find as many Labradors or Dalmatians Im sure! Not all of these Bull Terriers are owned by tattooed thugs either (though lots do seem to be). Why do people want to own them I think that some people buy them as a badge of hardness, a fashion accessory or both! Perhaps they buy them as loveable family pets as well I just cant work it out.
In all fairness, a well trained Bull Terrier owned by a responsible adult is a good dog – they can be loveable creatures and slaver you to death! Its the untrained ones, or trained ones owned by idiots, that cause the problems. Before the Bull Terrier became the badge of hardness dog it was the Dobermann and Rottweiler that attracted the same bad press, so its not just Bull Terriers that need to be considered when thinking of dangerous dogs… in fact, all untrained dogs can be dangerous no matter what size or type. If you own a dog of any breed and you follow the breed-specific instructions given by the breeder then everything should be fine, but not following these instructions or not training a dog correctly can be very dangerous. Dogs are still, beneath all the domestication, pack living animals. If a dog thinks that it is better than any person in your family pack then watch out!
Barbara Woodhouse had it about right, heres some of the things that she said about doggies:
Train your dog correctly and follow all instructions from the breeder
Only feed a dog after everyone in the house has been fed
Be able to remove a dogs food without fear. If they snap at you then they dont acknowledge you as top dog yet more training will be needed
And my favourite quote of hers:
“There is no such thing as a difficult dog, only an inexperienced owner.”
So what can be done about any potentially dangerous dog Perhaps it should become law that all dogs over the size of a hamster should be muzzled in public Or even better their owners get muzzled as its their lack of training and close supervision thats to blame for such incidents as the one that happened to my friends dog.
p.s After reading this tale of doggy woe, Landlord Hugh carefully selected this gem of a story for its relevance:
A timid little man ventured into a rough bar in Sunderland and, clearing his throat, asked, “Um, err, which of you gentlemen owns the Pit Bull tied up outside to the lamp post”
A giant of a man wearing biker leathers with his body hair growing out of the seams turned slowly on his stool. He looked down at the quivering little man and said, “It’s my dog. Why”
“Well,” squeaked the little man, very nervously, “I believe my dog just killed it, sir.”
“What” roared the big man in disbelief. “What in the hell kind of dog do you have”
“Sir,” answered the little man, “It’s a four-week-old chihuahua puppy.”
“Bull!” roared the biker, “How could your little chihuahua puppy kill my Pit Bull”
“It appears that he choked on it, sir.”