Monday, November 28, 2016

Don't Judge a Dog By its Breed!

judging dogs behavior on their breed

For ages, many of us blame the dogs' breeds for their bad behaviors. This lack of knowledge on dogs had already caused serious damages and even deaths to our beloved canines.

Many countries and states have already banned pitbulls and other dog breeds like Akita, Rotts, Bull Terriers, etc... permanently labeling them as dangerous breeds.

As a dog enthusiast living in a country where no breed is banned, I have the full power to do a personal study on any kind of dog breeds, especially those labeled as such, for the sole purpose of knowing the truth.

So here's the truth - even our sweetest labrador retrievers and other commonly known friendly breeds can be deadly too! Why? Because there are other important and more credible factors affecting a dog's behavior, to the point that having the dog's breed in question wouldn't make any sense at all.

Here are just two of the recent "unusual dog behavior-related cases" that happened to our friends. To respect their privacy, I'll be changing both the owners and the dogs' names.


Case #1: Lucy the Labrador Retriever

choco brown labrador retriever
A picture of a choco brown labrador retriever from Pixabay. This is not an actual photo of Lucy.
Although I haven't seen Lucy in person yet, it's like I've already known her for years because she's quite the most favorite topic of the group when it comes to unusual dog behavior-related discussions.

Lucy is a female choco brown labrador retriever owned by Gilbert. Despite the fact that labrador retrievers are known to be nice and gentle to everyone, she has a history of violence towards other dogs.

Eventually, Lucy was re-homed by one of his friends, Joseph. Aside from Lucy, Joseph also owns a wide variety of dogs including a couple of shih tzus, pugs, a boston terrier, a japanese spitz, etc.

One day, she suddenly attacked the japanese spitz and immediately killed the poor dog. The reason was unclear. However, considering her violent history, Joseph learned his lesson and immediately isolated her from his other dogs.

The latest I heard about Lucy is she's back with Gilbert.

I haven't asked Gilbert yet about how he got Lucy. Therefore, we're looking at seven possible factors behind her aggressiveness:

  1. If Gilbert got her as a puppy, and considering he has already more dogs than his two hands can handle, then the issue behind her aggressive behavior could be related to the amount of attention she's getting from her owner.
  2. If he got her as a puppy, he probably got her too early - earlier than the required age of at least 2 months. Puppies who are immediately separated from their mothers (earlier than 60 days after being born) tend to develop behavioral issues eventually.
  3. Like humans, some dogs can be born with mental disabilities. Perhaps, the dam had ingested something toxic while she was pregnant, or something had occurred internally while she was giving birth, or maybe it's in the genes. Who knows?
  4. Honestly, I never had the chance to meet his other pets. If some of them have a similar behavioral problem as Lucy, they could had influenced her while she's growing up.
  5. If Gilbert got Lucy as a young adult, there might be some issues in the environment where she grew up.
  6. Whoever handled Lucy as a puppy, that person may had tolerated her attitude. A great part of responsible dog ownership is encouraging the dog to behave well and correcting every negative action/s. This is why owning dogs is compared to raising human kids. If you wouldn't correct their unpleasant behaviors, how would they know the difference between good and bad? And if they wouldn't know the difference between these two, how could we expect them to be as good as we want them to be?
  7. Lucy's social life could also be one of the culprits. I can't stress enough how important dog socialization is. A tip? Join a local dog group on Facebook who conducts regular dog walks.

Case #2: Max the Bullmastiff

A picture of a bull mastiff from Wikipedia. Again, this is not an actual photo of Max.
Max is a young adult bull mastiff owned by a celebrity friend, Dennis. Because of his busy schedules, he wasn't able to devote 100% of his time for Max, especially during his growing-up stage. His large size became a hindrance for the rest of Dennis' family and helpers; as no one else had given any effort to at least pet him because of their fear of being mauled by the dog. Unfortunately, these people's lack of knowledge on raising dogs had taken its toll on Max's behavior.

Although bull mastiffs are generally known to be great family dogs, Max grew up to be the opposite. He would always try to attack any living creature near his cage. Dennis is the only one who can hold him.

2 years ago, he managed to escape his cage. Unfortunately, a neighbor's dog was walking in front of their gate. The worst had happened. Before Dennis had the chance to stop Max, the innocent dog immediately died after Max bit his neck.

During one of our friends' birthday party, Dennis told us that he and his wife were thinking of putting him down or getting a female bull mastiff. According to him, a "potential wife" could probably change him. We immediately dismissed his ideas. We told him that putting him down is definitely not a solution, and giving him a wife now would be like giving a fresh and expensive meat to a hungry crocodile.

I suggested an advanced dog obedience training by a good and experienced dog trainer, as this will surely benefit both his dog and his family. My husband also mentioned that he should consider neutering Max to lessen his aggressiveness whenever one of his kennel mates is "in heat". We also gave him some ideas on how to be the "alpha dog" because obviously, Max already acts like one.

Unfortunately, none of our suggestions had been carried out. Until one day, he bought a pair of Alaskan Malamutes. After almost a year, Max escaped again and killed one of them.


Personal Note

I have friends who also own pitbulls, german shepherds, and even rottweilers. They are all family dogs and they don't have any issue when it comes to their temperaments. Many people would expect these breeds to be unfriendly, but these dogs are one of the sweetest pets we've met.

Conclusion

No dog owner is perfect. But if we'll sincerely do our best to raise our dogs to how we really want them to be, the results will be better than what we might have expected.

Baby-talking or cuddling your cute little pets 24/7 isn't the way to raise a well-behaved and obedient animal. We should not forget the true nature of these canines. They are born to be a part of a pack, lead by a deserving pack leader. In this "human + dog world", we are their pack leaders. If they see that we don't have the qualities of a good leader, they will definitely try to take over. What will happen if they took over? They will no longer see you as the "alpha dog", so there would be no reason for them to follow nor fear you.

No matter what breed your dog is, if you raised him right, he can be the best and most loyal companion you can ever have in your lifetime. This is why experienced dog professionals will always say that your dog's behavior is a reflection of you as a dog owner. Those articles you'll find online about dog breeds' temperaments are only guidelines based on reported cases or studies conducted by professionals some decades ago. Personally, the way we see it, they had missed or skipped an important factor before coming up with their conclusions - they probably didn't consider how those dogs were raised or taken care of.

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