“What would have to happen before you understand the dog is dangerous? Let’s see; it has already bitten one person, and went after another who would have been bitten had it not been for their professional training and readiness.”
First, the aforementioned professional is probably not faster than a pit. If it could land a nip, it could have landed much worse; it’s significantly less than intelligent to imply from a bare statement that the nip was a narrow miss and was actually the prelude to a terrible mauling.
Second, the fact that the dog is not said to normally behave this way is not any logical indicator that it is “dangerous” in the sense you are talking about. However, I will take a moment to correct you in a broad sense before addressing your specific error. In a broad sense, all dogs are dangerous. Talk all you like about breeding and training and everything else, but a dog can always hurt you, someone else, or other animals. This is a risk that should be considered when getting a dog of absolutely any breed; I don’t care if you just adopted a 12-year-old collie, it can still do some incredible damage to you, if it so chooses. Having said that, in this specific instance it is irrational to base a dog’s exhibited nature off of two isolated incidents when you bear in mind that pits are highly active, highly physical dogs who are also extremely protective. In the first case, I am willing to admit that the nipping of the Jehovah’s witness is a lapse in training. Any dog of any breed that is trained even a little should be aware of its owner’s expectations when there is someone at the door. The second instance, however, can be put down to a lapse in responsibility on the part of the owner, as well as a child (for all intents and purposes to the dog, the kid is basically its kid, if it’s anything like my pit) running out (presumably with high energy, as most kids have when they leave the house) and there being a stranger when the kid is seperating his-/herself from its self-appointed protector. In that sort of situation, one should expect nothing less than a nip from a good family dog, and a person posessed of “professional training and readiness” should have enough neurons in their brain to rub together and arrive successfully at the conclusion that that specific circumstance would scream “danger!” to any well-integrated family dog.
“Sorry, if I am not one who believes you wait until the dog kills someone before deciding enough is enough. This dog is a menace and society needs to be protected from it.”
Again, you’re making some very large logical leaps. Human-aggressive behavior cannot be solidly linked to nipping, even if said nipping does draw blood. Human-aggressive behavior manifests itself far more obviously, and the dog actually does seem like it will kill or harm you. Why? Because it intends to. A nip, a bark, growling, etc., are not directly indicative of human-aggressive traits and should never be mistaken as such. They are simply signals as to what the dog is thinking. In the case of a nip that is not done in play, it should be very clearly read as one of two things:
1) “I don’t like what you’re doing, so stop it. Now.”
2) “I don’t know you, and I don’t want you near me and mine until I do.”
“Our breed is on the precipice of being banned in every town and even on a state and national level. We cannot afford to allow sentimentality and complacency to overrule sound judgment.”
There is nothing you’ve said which demonstrates sound judgment. I’m sorry if that seems rude, but it really is true. Sound judgment accounts for potential and the maximizing thereof, not the pure avoidance of risk at all costs. Regarding this particular dog, you are patently ignoring all theories on the behavioral traits of dogs, especially owner-centered breeds such as pits. By nature and breeding, these dogs like people. Almost all domesticated breeds do. Mutts and currs even moreso. It goes to reason, then, that by using sound judgment we can assume the following about the situation:
1) The dog was uncomfortable with the environmental stimuli.
2) The owner had not prepared the dog for that discomfort and had not set expectations allowing the dog to operate comfortably in them.
3) The dog was not immediately corrected on the first mishap.
4) The dog was not immediately started on training for a recurrence of the situation after the first mishap, thus allowing the second to occur under even stranger circumstances involving percieved possible danger on the part of one of its protectorates.
“Then to add insult to injury the dog attempted to bite, attack, show aggression or whatever one might call it the officer.”
The issue you have failed entirely to address in a logical fashion is this: why? Why was aggression showed to the officer? Why was their any nipping, attacking, etc?
“You may not believe this, but there is a hugh difference between a poodle that bites some one and a pitbull that does the same. This is a dog that is a danger, and if it gets another opportunity is likely to do the same again.”
Indeed, there is a huge difference, but you’re parading a qualitative difference as if it’s a quantitative difference. If you’re talking about smaller toy poodles, I’ve never met one that wouldn’t bite. And I’ve been around a lot of toy poodles. If you’re talking about standard poodles, I’ve been around exactly five, and only one of which could I ever get to warm up to me. And that was after he outright attacked me. (Hurray for tie-downs!) The pure fact is that it is not much difference. You seem to think that a pitbull bite is devestating, but testing has showed that German Shepherds, one of the most popular family and work dog breeds in the country, have a far stronger bite, and consistently perform better as guard and attack dogs. Pits, in turn, perform significantly better companion, work, tracking and rescue dogs.
In short: There is a difference, but it’s simply the difference of a poodle biting instead of a pit. The quality changes without the impact of it changing. A dog bite is a dog bite, for the purpose of this discussion, and there can be no differentiation between breeds.
Lois, I have a few questions for you, and it’s imperative that you be honest with yourself in answering them:
1) You mentioned this was a rescue dog. Are you familiar with its history prior to adopting it?
2) Can you outline, briefly, how you have trained this dog, and what kind of results you’ve seen? Did it catch on quickly and retain its training? Was it stubborn? Have you simply trained your dog for tricks, or did you train for behaviors and circumstances to insure consistent behaviors?
3) What has the behavioralist said about the dog?
4) Have there ever been any signs of aggression from this dog, regarding anything at all? If so, how did you respond to those signs?
5) Have you been presenting your case in the light of “this is a sweet dog and would never hurt anyone,” or have you examined it realistically, bringing to bear behavioral canine information, presenting training options and “rehabilitation,” etc.?
Quite frankly, I think it’s ridiculous for your dog to be isolated and put down for nipping- and that really is what it sounds like. A dog of some other breed would just be understood to be upset or concerned with the situation and nobody would care other than to say, “They have a mean dog!” In this instance, however, ignorance has dominated the situation and some court official who thinks he’s intelligent enough to be involved in this case has decided that rehabilitation is impossible (when in any other instance, rehabilitation is at least always an option, regardless of the crime), and that the dog should simply be put down. If the dog is dangerous, it will be confirmed during the course of its rehabilitation. If it is not dangerous, that will also be confirmed during the course of rehabilitation. Have you proposed this idea to the court?