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Thread: Bondi Vet - Anti-pitbull Episode Leaving Me Aghast

  1. #71
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Default

    I don't believe in BSL, but I will never deny that certain breeds have characteristics that are more suited to people who can acknowledge and work with these characteristics in a positive and constructive manner.

    chisa - I think you have misunderstood my comments to some degree (I am Moi but had trouble logging in under my normal log-in).

    A Pug, regardless of who breeds it and how it is handled, will have very little aggression. It is a breed trait. It is born that way. It also will have very little prey drive. It will be a glutton and it will have an affable and friendly disposition.

    A Border Collie, regardless of who breeds it and how it is handled, will have a high herding instinct, it will be highly intelligent and it will have high energy. It is born that way.

    These are breed traits. The breeds were developed with these characteristics for various and different reasons.

    If the dogs are handled incorrectly, these traits can develop into different things. The Pug may become obese and sluggish, the Border Collie may suffer from separation anxiety and become a compulsive 'chaser'. They are born with the traits that are the underlying reason for these issues though.

    In breeds such as the APBT, the traits that these dogs were developed with are there, regardless of who breeds them or how they are handled. Poor handling will undoubtedly ensure that those traits show in a more negative manner.

    We breed dogs not only for type, but for temperament.

    If we can proclaim that we breed well rounded Pugs for example, and this is considered their 'nature', then we can not deny that another breeds temperament is only nuture related.

    Some breeds are more prone to behavioural issues and that is in their nature. The nuturing may increase the severity and the liklihood of issues developing though.

    Do I make more sense now?

    I hate BSL. It is wrong. However, generalising about a breed is not neccessarily wrong. It is no more worng than generalsiing about anything else in life. We generalise about many things in every day life. We all hold generalised beliefs about different breeds of dogs, about cats, about women drivers. I concede that generalisations can be dangerous though but there is usually always a note of truth to generalisations.
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

  2. #72

    Default

    Hey there Anne,

    thanks for the clarification.

    I do get what you are saying about breed generalisations and I agree that each breed has common tendencies. I don't deny for a moment that temperament is something that is genetically linked. Looking at the breed temperament standards of dogs that can be considered one of the bully breeds, there is no mention of aggression, etc. as a desirable trait. So, according to breed generalisations and temperament theory, one would have to acknowledge that a dog of bully breed,( like a dog of any other breed), behaving aggressively, is not behaving to 'type' in the first place. One could also use the same theory to address cross-breeds that have some bully in them.

    Essentially, responsible breeders of any breed will be aware of temperament issues, while backyard breeders are going to be less on the ball, through ignorance or bad intentions.It would be interesting to see what might happen to Pugs if they became the tough dog of choice, lol - would we see the temperament be influenced via the same argument made against bully breeds?

    You mention pugs several times - do you have one? What is the breed background for Pugs?

    Breed generalisation is very common - happens all the time in conversations about dogs and during interactions at our local dog parks, for better or worse.

    Re - the herding breeds - I have three rescue dogs that have a mix of three different herding/working breeds and their herding 'nature' is absolutely obvious when they play with each other and at the dog park with other dogs.

    While I don't for a moment minimise how powerful a blueprint temperament is, the 'nature' aspect of specific breeds can cause good AND bad behaviours. I do think that the eventual outcome is influenced by the handler and many behaviours that start out as temperament based can be moulded. I would also theorise that a bad handler or misinformed owner can produce bad behaviours just as predictably as genetics can.

    You say that "some breeds are more prone to behavioural problems and that is in their nature". First, you need to define what you mean by "behavioural issues". I assume you mean by that statement, negative behaviours. Secondly, all dogs are prone to negative behaviours. The 'nature' element dictates the expression of that behaviour, for sure. But any first time puppy owner will likely be surprised at the range of 'normal' dog behaviours exhibited by their puppy, regardless of breed. I mean things like chewing, mouthing, toileting indoors, waking at night, crying, seperation anxiety, etc. All of these behaviours can become huge problems if not correctly addressed and shaped to what the humans want and what is acceptable dog behaviour in general.

    To carry on with the idea that specific breeds have negative temperament tendencies, we could list some 'nature' characteristics, like your example of herding. We could then come up with scenarios where this blueprint, or genetically common behaviour trait could turn into dog or human directed aggression in that dog, then go another step and say this is likely for the whole breed. I would suggest that more, not less, of the breeds, using this logic, would be 'prone' to negative behaviours. Even qualities such as loyalty could have a negative outcome - in a poorly socialised dog with a loyal temperament, that loyalty could become overprotectiveness of the dog's owner, leading to an act of aggression toward another dog or human. I do think that a thoughtful and well-researched approach to what breed and size of dog a person/family chooses is paramount to success, which is what Cairns Vet seems to be getting at, but I guess we will all have our biases when giving people advice too.

    So, while I agree that breeds have very strong temperament patterns, I don't agree that some breeds are necessarily going to have more negative behaviours on the whole.

    What do you think?

    At the end of the day, breeds of dog are a human invention and one that causes issues of huge complexity. It's a human creation and IMHO, it is just lazy to label some breeds as a problem and others as foolproof. Underneath the breed there is a still just a dog.

    Dallas(Cairns Vet) - you're right, this is, after all, a debate about pit bulls and/or bully breeds and I appreciate your intelligent debate and willingness to respond to everyone's posts here. I hope both sides have enriched each other's knowledge base.

    I am also fascinated to hear about your experiences in daily vet practice. What's your take on the nature vs. nurture debate? Is this covered much in your training?

    I know that some of you guys on here are qualified dog trainers and behaviourists - please give us your thoughts on temperament vs. training.

    Cheers,

    Cathy.

  3. #73
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    2,561

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    Quote Originally Posted by chisa View Post
    Hey there Anne,

    thanks for the clarification.

    I do get what you are saying about breed generalisations and I agree that each breed has common tendencies. I don't deny for a moment that temperament is something that is genetically linked. Looking at the breed temperament standards of dogs that can be considered one of the bully breeds, there is no mention of aggression, etc. as a desirable trait. So, according to breed generalisations and temperament theory, one would have to acknowledge that a dog of bully breed,( like a dog of any other breed), behaving aggressively, is not behaving to 'type' in the first place. One could also use the same theory to address cross-breeds that have some bully in them.
    It depends on the aggression being displayed. Human aggression, in my experience with bull breeds, is not a big factor. Dog aggression is far more common though than many other breeds.

    Essentially, responsible breeders of any breed will be aware of temperament issues, while backyard breeders are going to be less on the ball, through ignorance or bad intentions.It would be interesting to see what might happen to Pugs if they became the tough dog of choice, lol - would we see the temperament be influenced via the same argument made against bully breeds?
    Totally agree with your comments. I would also assume that we would certainly see more issues developing with Pugs (aside from the physical) then what we have currently as I am sure that the people who choose Pugs as the 'tough dog of choice' would breed to increase territorial and aggression traits in them. It would be a hard task, but it could theoretically be done and, possibly, it could be done within 'x' number of generations. The same effect in a breed that already has certain characteristics in its make up would be achieved in a much, much smaller number of generations.

    You mention pugs several times - do you have one? What is the breed background for Pugs?
    Yes, I currently have 3. They were bred originally as companion lap dogs.

    While I don't for a moment minimise how powerful a blueprint temperament is, the 'nature' aspect of specific breeds can cause good AND bad behaviours. I do think that the eventual outcome is influenced by the handler and many behaviours that start out as temperament based can be moulded. I would also theorise that a bad handler or misinformed owner can produce bad behaviours just as predictably as genetics can.
    Absolutely agree. The bad behaviours produced though, and the degree of those unwanted or negative behaviours would have to reflect the dogs nature though. This is the point I was originally making.

    You say that "some breeds are more prone to behavioural problems and that is in their nature". First, you need to define what you mean by "behavioural issues". I assume you mean by that statement, negative behaviours.
    Yes, sorry, I was using a generic and simplified (and possibly incorrect) word to illustrate my intent. When I say 'behavioural issues' in the context of this thread I am referring to DA and HA primarily, but broadly, any issue.

    Secondly, all dogs are prone to negative behaviours. The 'nature' element dictates the expression of that behaviour, for sure. But any first time puppy owner will likely be surprised at the range of 'normal' dog behaviours exhibited by their puppy, regardless of breed. I mean things like chewing, mouthing, toileting indoors, waking at night, crying, seperation anxiety, etc. All of these behaviours can become huge problems if not correctly addressed and shaped to what the humans want and what is acceptable dog behaviour in general.
    Yes, agree again. I have highlighted the statement though that is in line what I was saying.

    So, while I agree that breeds have very strong temperament patterns, I don't agree that some breeds are necessarily going to have more negative behaviours on the whole.

    What do you think?
    I think that temperament means that some breeds will have more negative behaviours on the whole and that this is through a combination of both nature and nuture.

    At the end of the day, breeds of dog are a human invention and one that causes issues of huge complexity. It's a human creation and IMHO, it is just lazy to label some breeds as a problem and others as foolproof. Underneath the breed there is a still just a dog.

    Dallas(Cairns Vet) - you're right, this is, after all, a debate about pit bulls and/or bully breeds and I appreciate your intelligent debate and willingness to respond to everyone's posts here. I hope both sides have enriched each other's knowledge base.

    I am also fascinated to hear about your experiences in daily vet practice. What's your take on the nature vs. nurture debate? Is this covered much in your training?
    I think it also should be noted that you have responded with equally knowledgeable and intelligent discussion. It is this kind of discussion that allows people to learn, and I for one never ever want to stop learning. Thank you.
    Last edited by Anne; 03-22-2011 at 10:10 AM. Reason: Dyslexic fingers and poor spelling... just the usual *sigh*
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

  4. #74
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Cairns, Queensland, Australia
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    Default Dog vet issues

    Personally I think the nature/nurture debate is like arguing whether heat or oxygen is more important for fire. They are both essential in every case but there are many subtleties.
    We have to remember when discussing suitable pets that while owner training and appropriate dog socialisation and training would make the biggest impact, in the real world these things are often neglected, or occur by accident rather than design.
    In choosing pets we need to consider the owner, their skills, environment, resources, temperament etc. and lean toward one which relatively bombproof. I don't see the benefit in most people owning a super high energy pet, or one which has been bred to fight, etc. There may be owners for whom such pets are ideal, but its rarely the first dog owner or family.

    We also need to remember that most qualities like aggression, energy levels, trainability etc are double edged swords. That loyal pug or chihuahua bred as a companion lapdog is as likely as any dog to be aggressive toward strangers, especially after it has spent its whole life being cuddled and carried around like the heir apparent. The high energy of herding dogs can turn easily toward destructive behavior like digging, eating clothes, or tearing down doors out of seperation anxiety. Loyalty and guarding qualities in bigger dogs often translates into territorial aggression or owner protection aggression.
    True breed devotees are often blind to the downsides of their beloved dogs. That slavish devotion makes them feel special, and they may not appreciate that the rest of the world doesn't appreciate their dog when it displays the other side of the coin, whether it is excessive barking, fear of strangers, aggression toward strangers or other dogs etc.
    Its surprising how many owners of dogs with antisocial behavior are proud rather than embarassed by it, even encouraging it or making jokes about it. I think a lot of them get a buzz out of people having to step out of the way to avoid their out of control pet from knocking or jumping on them. Its not just pets who need to be well socialised :-)

    As an aside, I read elsewhere on this forum about the Silver fox domestication experiment. There is a great episode in time about this. I think this has great lessons for dog breeders. Would most of our breeds dog consistently approach humans in a friendly fashion, without fear or aggression. I doubt half the dogs being bred today would meet the selection criteria imposed by the silver fox experimenters in spite of 10,000 years head start.
    You can read more about the Silver Fox domestication experiment here and across the web
    http://www.dogforum.com.au/general-d...tml#post122044

  5. #75

    Default Elle Clark

    Hi Cathy,

    I saw the episode of Bondi Vet too and was mortified!

    Outrageous breed discrimination.

    Not once did they make the owner accountable and they seemed to be ignorant of the fact that pit bull is a general term for so many breeds!

    These people are suppose to be professional but the vet nurse said they have a locking jaw!!! They do not!

    They even featured a women who was going to get wrid of her dog if it had pit bull blood! They referred to this as something sinister in the blood!!!! My blood was boiling at this point! The whole segment was an atrocious attempt to boost ratings.

    They are suppose to care for animals..now god know how many wonderful dogs will be left in shelters and put down because this price of trash aired!

    I urge everyone who feels this way to complain to channel ten so an apology can be made. Thank you for the email contact I will be calling and writing Channel ten.

  6. #76

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CairnsVet View Post
    Personally I think the nature/nurture debate is like arguing whether heat or oxygen is more important for fire. They are both essential in every case but there are many subtleties.
    We have to remember when discussing suitable pets that while owner training and appropriate dog socialisation and training would make the biggest impact, in the real world these things are often neglected, or occur by accident rather than design.
    In choosing pets we need to consider the owner, their skills, environment, resources, temperament etc. and lean toward one which relatively bombproof. I don't see the benefit in most people owning a super high energy pet, or one which has been bred to fight, etc. There may be owners for whom such pets are ideal, but its rarely the first dog owner or family.

    We also need to remember that most qualities like aggression, energy levels, trainability etc are double edged swords. That loyal pug or chihuahua bred as a companion lapdog is as likely as any dog to be aggressive toward strangers, especially after it has spent its whole life being cuddled and carried around like the heir apparent. The high energy of herding dogs can turn easily toward destructive behavior like digging, eating clothes, or tearing down doors out of seperation anxiety. Loyalty and guarding qualities in bigger dogs often translates into territorial aggression or owner protection aggression.
    True breed devotees are often blind to the downsides of their beloved dogs. That slavish devotion makes them feel special, and they may not appreciate that the rest of the world doesn't appreciate their dog when it displays the other side of the coin, whether it is excessive barking, fear of strangers, aggression toward strangers or other dogs etc.
    Its surprising how many owners of dogs with antisocial behavior are proud rather than embarassed by it, even encouraging it or making jokes about it. I think a lot of them get a buzz out of people having to step out of the way to avoid their out of control pet from knocking or jumping on them. Its not just pets who need to be well socialised :-)

    As an aside, I read elsewhere on this forum about the Silver fox domestication experiment. There is a great episode in time about this. I think this has great lessons for dog breeders. Would most of our breeds dog consistently approach humans in a friendly fashion, without fear or aggression. I doubt half the dogs being bred today would meet the selection criteria imposed by the silver fox experimenters in spite of 10,000 years head start.
    You can read more about the Silver Fox domestication experiment here and across the web
    http://www.dogforum.com.au/general-d...tml#post122044
    Well since this thread has been revived by a much less impressive contribution, might as well comment. I agree with your post, but it's true some breeds wouldn't pass the fox test and I for one support this. I do not want all dogs to be the same. I just think we should recognise the differences between the breeds and have some sort of control over who can own the more powerful ones. The number of times I have seen my chosen breed, the doberman in the wrongs hands, well I have seen it more times than I've seen the reverse. But do I think the answer is to make dobermans have the same temperaments as labradors? No, in my mind that would be the extinction of the best breed of dog ever and a terrible tragedy (but very few breeders breed to the correct standard in regards to temperament for dobermanns anyway - I know many that don't even bark when strangers enter their property and get scared by the exercises in schutzhund )

    Anyway, we do need some sort of control over who can own what breeds - they can be dangerous in the wrong hands and this is undisputed and yet amazing in the right hands so the solution is licensing for powerful breeds of dog - same as you need different licenses to drive different sorts of cars/vehicles.

  7. #77

    Default

    I suspect that you would protect the breed from the worst type of owner, by renaming it. Mummy's Little Pom Pom Dog? Who's A Big Doofy Boy, Then? and if the hardline lovers of the breed want to discourage the worst of male owners, who take on the dogs as a way of building up their macho image, Iown Thisdog Becauseihave Asmallpenis. Would that be working dog or sporting dog? The real dog lovers would understand and give you lots of hugs...

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