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Thread: The APBT, Breed Specific Legislation, and research (ricey's new thread)

  1. #11

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    How about the stats from temperament testing on these breeds, I know for a fact that a lot more apbt and am staffs pass the tests than many other popular breeds.

    ETA the problem is the media has a lot of influence on the public, many people have never met a well bred apbt or am staff so their views will be tainted by ignorance. Just like the things I hear about greyhounds and how they are terrible pets, eat cats and are hyper which that isnt true well ok some will eat cats but so will some terriers, and some hunting dogs.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greys4me View Post
    How about the stats from temperament testing on these breeds, I know for a fact that a lot more apbt and am staffs pass the tests than many other popular breeds.

    ETA the problem is the media has a lot of influence on the public, many people have never met a well bred apbt or am staff so their views will be tainted by ignorance. Just like the things I hear about greyhounds and how they are terrible pets, eat cats and are hyper which that isnt true well ok some will eat cats but so will some terriers, and some hunting dogs.
    Yes, the American Temperament Test Society's testing results for the APBT and the Amstaff are pretty damn good; the APBT hovers around the 85% pass mark, and has done for years. Of course, there are bloggers out there who claim that the ATTS testing process is flawed; here is a link one such site:

    The TRUTH About Pit Bulls: The Pit Bull Hoax: The ATTS

    He makes the point
    After reviewing this blog post and its many examples, now you know why pit bulls -- responsible for roughly 50% of all fatal attacks -- score better than Lassie.
    But his main point is flawed; he only has to read Karen Delise' Fatal Dog Attacks to understand that the 50% stat is bullshit. Pit bull is such a wide ranging term in the US, and around 30% or more of all dogs in the US are 'pit bull type dogs'. Pit bulls are medium sized dogs and it is reasonable to expect a medium sized dog to be responsible for more fatalities that a dog the size of a Skye terrier. Of course, there is also the media driven "I was bitten by a dog, and only pit bulls bite, so therefore the dog that bit me must have been a pit bull (and that is what the reporter told me to say)."

    I did say earlier in this thread that I'd post up both sides but I also said that I wanted well researched stuff. I don't think the blog I just posted meets the second criterion.

    On your other points about the media's influence, and the public's gullibility about greyhounds ("well, they have to wear muzzles, so they must be dangerous") you probably already know that I'm with you on this. Mel, who runs Greyhound Angels here in WA has been banging her head against this wall for years. Most of the greyhounds I've met have been couch potatoes who really couldn't be stuffed chasing anything.

    Cheers,

    ricey
    The APBT is the best of the best dogs (but it is just a dog, like any other breed of dog)

    My avatar? It's a pit bull in a poodle suit (a bit like me really)

  3. #13

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    Hi Ricey, you seemed to dismiss the entire article based on the first paragraph. From reading about the ATTS it definitely seems like they discriminate against more timid dogs and screen the pits which have the highest chance of passing, which could explain why the pitbull scores so high. His main point is not that pitbulls are responsible for 50% of fatalities, it is that the ATTS is a biased system that produces biased results. It seems that it is not a reliable indicator of aggression levels in specific breeds. Can you debunk the criticisms raised in the article?


    Test Criticisms
    Anyone with a superficial understanding of scientific method and what constitutes good science, should be able to immediately recognize the inherent problems with this test.

    First and foremost is the issue of what exactly does the test measure? The ATTS website claims to measure stability, shyness, aggressiveness, friendliness, protectiveness, self-preservation. In theory, the testers consider the following during the test:

    The breed of the dog (hereditary purpose)
    The training the dog has received
    The dog’s age
    The dog’s gender
    Whether it has been spayed or neutered
    The dog’s physical health (dog in season)
    Whether it is a house dog or kennel dog

    Yet the pit bull advocates present the stats in such a way as to imply that higher scores equal less aggression and lower scores equal more aggression. According to Herkstroeter, “Just because a certain percentage of dogs in a certain breed fail, this does not necessarily indicate aggression. Dogs fail for other reasons, such as strong avoidance. If you look at our statistics just from a perspective of aggression or non-aggression, they can be very misleading.” Herkstroeter states that 95% of the dogs that fail, do so because they lack confidence to approach the weirdly dressed stranger or walk on the strange surface. The remaining 5% fail because they take longer than 45 seconds to recover from the gunshot or the umbrella. Still pit bull advocates continue to distort the meaning of the test.

    Second, as per ATTS website: "Comparing scores with other dogs is not a good idea" and the test "takes into consideration each breed's inherent tendencies". Cocker spaniels are evaluated against a cocker spaniel standard, not against german shepherds (or at least in theory, they are not supposed to), yet pit bull advocates would have you believe that all dogs are evaluated against one another.

    The third troubling aspect of this test is not only the lack of a random sample but what appears to be pit bull advocates openly conspiring to groom test candidates and cherry pick only those individual dogs that are likely to pass. This is a conscious decision done for the sole purpose of inflating the scores to improve the pit bull's image.

    The fourth major problem is in the inherent bias of the testers. Pit bull owners, breeders and advocates are in the position to pass or fail dogs that are under heavy criticism for what their critics perceive as their innate viciousness. As you will see, the testers have much discretion and a vested interest in the outcomes of the tests and they do not apply the rules fairly or consistently. There is no quality control to ensure that the testers are consistent in how they grade dogs' behavior.

    Fifth, the test acknowledges that breed of dog (hereditary of purpose) is factored into the dog's performance and score, yet dogs are not tested in the presence of other dogs. This is especially critical with dogs that were bred to fight.

    Sixth, the ATTS apparently does not require papers for purebred dogs. It seems that you can report any breed you like and do not need to provide any registry papers to prove it. One thing I find especially interesting is the flexibility around the issue of purity in pit bulls. When pit bulls attack, they are mixes but when they pass the ATTS, they are purebred, no questions asked. Just last week, Drayton Michaels made a point to say that most pit bulls were in fact not purebred pit bulls. This is another favored defense tactic when pit bull attacks hit the news media. In my experience reading all of the pit bull forums for ATTS information, discussion about the test is non-existent among the game-dog.com demographic. This group of pit bull owners is obsessed with bloodlines and pedigrees, and these dogmen do not even broach the subject of temperament testing.

    Seventh, the handlers are familiar with the test, they not only know what to expect, they practice it with their dogs. In the real world, things don't work out that way and much of a dog's reaction can be based on the handler's reaction to the real world "stressful" events.

    Eighth, The American Temperament Testing Society is not an impartial, scientific organization discovering "truth". They openly state their position on their website:
    "Because of breed-specific dog legislation and negative publicity associated with many breeds of dogs, temperament testing has assumed an important role for today's dog fancier. The ATTS Temperament Test provides breeders a means for evaluating temperament and gives pet owners insight into their dog's behavior. It can have an impact on breeding programs and in educating owners about their dog's behavioral strengths and weaknesses as well as providing a positive influence on dog legislation."

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mosh View Post
    Hi Ricey, you seemed to dismiss the entire article based on the first paragraph. From reading about the ATTS it definitely seems like they discriminate against more timid dogs and screen the pits which have the highest chance of passing, which could explain why the pitbull scores so high. His main point is not that pitbulls are responsible for 50% of fatalities, it is that the ATTS is a biased system that produces biased results. It seems that it is not a reliable indicator of aggression levels in specific breeds. Can you debunk the criticisms raised in the article?
    OK, I will start with his eighth point and work backwards.

    Eighth, The American Temperament Testing Society is not an impartial, scientific organization discovering "truth". They openly state their position on their website:
    "Because of breed-specific dog legislation and negative publicity associated with many breeds of dogs, temperament testing has assumed an important role for today's dog fancier. The ATTS Temperament Test provides breeders a means for evaluating temperament and gives pet owners insight into their dog's behavior. It can have an impact on breeding programs and in educating owners about their dog's behavioral strengths and weaknesses as well as providing a positive influence on dog legislation."
    I am at a loss to decipher what the blogger's problem is here; the ATTS state that temperament testing has assumed an important role for today's dog owners. That is a given, and not in dispute. That the ATTS Temperament Test gives breeders a means for evaluating temperament and could have an impact on how they chose to go forward with their individual breeding programmes should also not be in doubt. Breeders choose to breed their dogs as they do, for many reasons. If a pit bull breeder (or any other breeder of an individual dog breed) found that their dogs were failing the ATTS Temperament Test for whatever reason, they may choose to alter their breeding programme. I think that the blogger is being intentionally misleading by stating "The American Temperament Testing Society is not an impartial, scientific organization discovering "truth"." They then go on to state "facts" that have nothing to do with supporting their initial statement.

    Seventh, the handlers are familiar with the test, they not only know what to expect, they practice it with their dogs. In the real world, things don't work out that way and much of a dog's reaction can be based on the handler's reaction to the real world "stressful" events.
    Again, the blogger's problem here is a furphy; of course the dog's handlers are familiar with the testing procedure. to be otherwise would be stupid and ill-prepared. The handlers are not allowed to interact with their dogs or give them directions during the ATTS test, and so the blogger is being again deliberately misleading by stating "much of a dog's reaction can be based on the handler's reaction to the real world "stressful" events."

    Sixth, the ATTS apparently does not require papers for purebred dogs. It seems that you can report any breed you like and do not need to provide any registry papers to prove it. One thing I find especially interesting is the flexibility around the issue of purity in pit bulls. When pit bulls attack, they are mixes but when they pass the ATTS, they are purebred, no questions asked. Just last week, Drayton Michaels made a point to say that most pit bulls were in fact not purebred pit bulls. This is another favored defense tactic when pit bull attacks hit the news media. In my experience reading all of the pit bull forums for ATTS information, discussion about the test is non-existent among the game-dog.com demographic. This group of pit bull owners is obsessed with bloodlines and pedigrees, and these dogmen do not even broach the subject of temperament testing.
    The blogger says here "the ATTS apparently does not require papers for purebred dogs"; he uses the word "apparently" which indicates that he has no proof of this, and then goes off on a wild tangent about how ADBA pit bull breeders are obsessed with blood lines but not temperament testing. This blogger likes to state things that are not justified by his "evidence" and draw conclusions that are not supported by the facts.

    Fifth, the test acknowledges that breed of dog (hereditary of purpose) is factored into the dog's performance and score, yet dogs are not tested in the presence of other dogs. This is especially critical with dogs that were bred to fight.
    Again, the blogger makes a bold statement that does not bear up to scrutiny. The ATTS Temperament Test does not claim to be a test of an individual dog's propensity to fight with other dogs; it is a temperament test of the dog in relation to humans.

    The fourth major problem is in the inherent bias of the testers. Pit bull owners, breeders and advocates are in the position to pass or fail dogs that are under heavy criticism for what their critics perceive as their innate viciousness. As you will see, the testers have much discretion and a vested interest in the outcomes of the tests and they do not apply the rules fairly or consistently. There is no quality control to ensure that the testers are consistent in how they grade dogs' behavior.
    The blogger makes this statement, but provides no real evidence to support it. There are a selection of statements made by disgruntled dog owners on his blog that he uses to "prove" his point. This is hardly scientific.

    The third troubling aspect of this test is not only the lack of a random sample but what appears to be pit bull advocates openly conspiring to groom test candidates and cherry pick only those individual dogs that are likely to pass. This is a conscious decision done for the sole purpose of inflating the scores to improve the pit bull's image.
    If this were true only of pit bulls, then it would be somewhat troubling. However, I am sure that breeders of cocker spaniels are far more likely to be guilty of this. Remember 'cocker rage' syndrome? If the ATTS Temperament Test is seen by dog owners and dog breeders as a valid assessment tool for their breed and their individual dog breed, then I am sure that there are West Highland White breeders out there doing the utmost they can to ensure that their breed does well in this test. The thing is though, the percentage of dogs of individual breeds that passed this test is not in dispute. What this blogger would have you believe is that there is some huge orchestrated conspiracy by all pit bull owners to subvert this test for their own purposes. If there is one generalisation that I'd like to make about pit bull owners (going on my personal experience and knowledge of pit bull owners) it is that they are very unlikely to all agree on a process and a way forward.

    Second, as per ATTS website: "Comparing scores with other dogs is not a good idea" and the test "takes into consideration each breed's inherent tendencies". Cocker spaniels are evaluated against a cocker spaniel standard, not against german shepherds (or at least in theory, they are not supposed to), yet pit bull advocates would have you believe that all dogs are evaluated against one another.
    This is simply not true; pit bull owners state that their breed has a pass rate of around 85%. It is up to others to decide whether that makes them better or worse as a pet than other dog breeds with differing ATTS scores.

    First and foremost is the issue of what exactly does the test measure? The ATTS website claims to measure stability, shyness, aggressiveness, friendliness, protectiveness, self-preservation. In theory, the testers consider the following during the test:

    The breed of the dog (hereditary purpose)
    The training the dog has received
    The dog’s age
    The dog’s gender
    Whether it has been spayed or neutered
    The dog’s physical health (dog in season)
    Whether it is a house dog or kennel dog

    Yet the pit bull advocates present the stats in such a way as to imply that higher scores equal less aggression and lower scores equal more aggression. According to Herkstroeter, “Just because a certain percentage of dogs in a certain breed fail, this does not necessarily indicate aggression. Dogs fail for other reasons, such as strong avoidance. If you look at our statistics just from a perspective of aggression or non-aggression, they can be very misleading.” Herkstroeter states that 95% of the dogs that fail, do so because they lack confidence to approach the weirdly dressed stranger or walk on the strange surface. The remaining 5% fail because they take longer than 45 seconds to recover from the gunshot or the umbrella. Still pit bull advocates continue to distort the meaning of the test.
    The blogger seems at a loss to choose whether the ATTS test is flawed or whether it is just pit bull owners understanding of the test that is flawed. He tries to make the point that that pit bull owners distort the meaning of the test; this implies that he thinks the test is valid. In others of his statements he tries to debunk the test.

    Finally Mosh, you say:

    From reading about the ATTS it definitely seems like they discriminate against more timid dogs and screen the pits which have the highest chance of passing, which could explain why the pitbull scores so high. His main point is not that pitbulls are responsible for 50% of fatalities, it is that the ATTS is a biased system that produces biased results. It seems that it is not a reliable indicator of aggression levels in specific breeds. Can you debunk the criticisms raised in the article?
    Would you care to share with us what proof you have to support
    definitely seems like they discriminate against more timid dogs and screen the pits which have the highest chance of passing, which could explain why the pitbull scores so high
    Or are you basing it on what you read in this somewhat biased blog?

    Cheers,

    ricey
    The APBT is the best of the best dogs (but it is just a dog, like any other breed of dog)

    My avatar? It's a pit bull in a poodle suit (a bit like me really)

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricey View Post
    Well, it would appear that not too many DogForum people actually are interested in research articles about the APBT or BSL. Only goindeep and mymatejack have bothered to post (and I thank you both).

    I suspect that a lot of you all would just prefer to continue sticking it up eachother. Me, I've had enough of the argy bargy and I think that we should come together. But I think that a lot of you could not give a rat's arse.

    ricey

    EDIT: Apologies for the dummy spit; I'd had a bad day; I am back on message now
    Thank you - particularly for the bit in bold !

    I am busily reading what has been put up here and am enjoying this thread very much !

    Thank you !

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RileyJ View Post
    Thank you - particularly for the bit in bold !

    I am busily reading what has been put up here and am enjoying this thread very much !

    Thank you !
    Hi RileyJ,

    Thanks for your post; I am inspired by it to keep plugging away at this. I going to keep researching this issue (the subject of BSL and APBTs) and keep posting articles that support both sides of the arguement. It would be pretty easy for me just to post articles that show the APBT in a good light but that would be intellectually lazy. I will continue putting up articles and information that support both sides, as I figure that all arguements have two sides and you can never understand the full story by just listening to one side.

    Cheers,

    ricey
    The APBT is the best of the best dogs (but it is just a dog, like any other breed of dog)

    My avatar? It's a pit bull in a poodle suit (a bit like me really)

  7. #17

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    Little Lochlan lucky to escape savage Rottweiler attack | Sunshine Coast Daily

    Well it's not scientific journal but i post it as it's a good example of why pitbulls get a bad rap, what might have possibly been a rottweiler cross has a photo of a rottweiler baring its teeth(heck it may have just been playing when that photo was taken) and then even worse the story is finished off with a poll about whether dogs should be allowed off leash in ANY public areas.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mymatejack View Post
    Little Lochlan lucky to escape savage Rottweiler attack | Sunshine Coast Daily

    Well it's not scientific journal but i post it as it's a good example of why pitbulls get a bad rap, what might have possibly been a rottweiler cross has a photo of a rottweiler baring its teeth(heck it may have just been playing when that photo was taken) and then even worse the story is finished off with a poll about whether dogs should be allowed off leash in ANY public areas.
    I think that the saddest thing is that 48% of people in the poll say "No, they're too unpredictable" to ever be allowed off leash. And this is their view on all dogs, so I guess that it does not matter whether your dog is well trained and you are a responsible owner. All dogs are bad by their measure. The rottie that they show is drawing down its bottom lip and exposing its bottom teeth; actually not that scary. It looks like it is just waiting for you to throw it the ball.

    ricey
    The APBT is the best of the best dogs (but it is just a dog, like any other breed of dog)

    My avatar? It's a pit bull in a poodle suit (a bit like me really)

  9. #19

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    Oh I'm here Pete , I'm here


    Keep in my mind us old farts take time to read such reports and you are doing an excellent job with it so I thought I shouldnt step on your toes
    GageDesign Pet Photography
    Site still in construction so will post link when it's finished.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricey View Post

    On your other points about the media's influence, and the public's gullibility about greyhounds ("well, they have to wear muzzles, so they must be dangerous") you probably already know that I'm with you on this. Mel, who runs Greyhound Angels here in WA has been banging her head against this wall for years. Most of the greyhounds I've met have been couch potatoes who really couldn't be stuffed chasing anything.

    Cheers,

    ricey

    I will go and read that blog and return but on this point I wanted to share I got a nice message from a current foster home that reads " I took lu for a drive today and walked around the river she loved it. It was interesting watching people's reactions to the muzzle. Definitely some education needed. It was interesting to reflect on what my reaction may have been a few weeks ago. How different I see greyhounds now." She has been fostering for us for a few weeks and has totally fallen for the breed, she had never given them a thought and now knows she wants one to add to her family.

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