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« Dumb Editorial Week | Main | Ok, let's say it works, is it a good idea? »

January 28, 2007


Marjorie Darby

(sigh) Yes...I am all too aware of these kinds of people. So much so, in fact, I wrote an entire article directed at precisely these kinds of inexpert individuals who, because they've spent a couple of years processing rescue dogs, think they know something about dog bite statistics or canine genetics.

They don't.

For the most part, they're just perpetuating myths along the same lines as those who say all 'pit bulls' are vicious baby killers. They read this kind of claptrap on the Internet, or spewed from the mouths of a couple of perceieved 'pit bull' experts (who themselves merely believe these notions, but have no scientific proofs), and they simply repeat it. No attempt is made to verify or even understand what they're saying.

The article is called "So-called 'Pit Bull' Experts" and it can be found at

I've stopped counting how many aggressive 'pit bulls' I've re-trained, over the years. To the best of my knowlege, not one has reoffended during, or since, my training.

I've met probably thousands of 'pit bulls' at dog parks all over North America and in Europe. In fact, I know many people (myself included) who find the 'pit bulls' whose owners regularly take them to dog parks are the best playmates for just about everyone. (My own dog plays best with 'pit bulls', as a general rule.)

Of course, there's also:

In terms of just blindly doing what someone else has told us to do, I'm reminded of one of my favourite stories.

A woman was baking a cake. When her husband noticed her placing a pan of water on the rack with the cake batter, he asked her why she does that.

"You know, I'm not really sure," she replied. "I think it has something to do with making the cake cook faster."

But that got her thinking.

She called up her sister and said, "Sis, you know how we always put a pan of water in the oven when we bake a cake?" Her sister answered, "Yes." "Well, why do we do that?" The sister thought for a moment and replied, "I think it has something to do with making the cake more moist. But you should ask mom."

With that, the woman called her mother and said, "Sally and I were wondering why we put a pan of water in the oven when we're baking a cake?" The mother responded, "I think it helps the cake cook more evenly. But you should ask your grandmother. She's the one who taught me to do that."

So, the woman called up her grandmother and asked, "Nanny, mom and Sally and I were wondering exactly why we put a pan of water in the oven when we're baking a cake?"

The grandmother, a bit curious, replied, "I don't know why you girls do it, but I did it because my oven rack was uneven and I used the pan of water to balance it, so the cake would come out level."

...Everyone, myself included, has some area of their lives where they do things out of habit, and not because they truly understand the reasoning or the facts behind their actions.

Anyway, I post all those links above with the full and complete knowledge that a huge percentage (probably most) people read things in order to reinforce their preconceived beliefs. Then, if what they're reading doesn't challenges or (dare say) even refutes some of those beliefs, they either stop reading entirely (and conclude it's all hogwash), or they continue reading with the exclusive intent of discrediting every statement from that point forward. When they can't discredit the information, they often move on to attempts at discrediting the author (ad hominem).

It is a rare bird who reads with a truly open mind.

brent toellner

As usual, the comments are written by smarter people than the original blogger.

The one thing that is really sad about her perpetuating the stereotypes is that in a lot of ways she is CREATING the types of dogs she warns people that they are. We adopted two of our dogs from her rescue and she actually encouraged us NOT to socialize our dogs because it wasn't safe to do so. Not socializing these dogs will in essence create the dog aggression that she claims they it becomes a self-fullfilling myth.

Very frustrating.


Breed generalizations, positive or negative, are never helpful. This rescue you mention is definitely not doing the dogs a favour.

As for the fighting theme, it's of interest that in Colby's book, he states that often only one or two pups, or sometimes no pups in a litter could be trained to fight. So even in the case of a breeder strongly selecting for high reactivity, there were still lots of 'duds'. All his dogs required extensive training and conditioning as well.

Most 'pit bulls' in rescue are mongrel dogs, so it's unlikely they would display the same behaviour.

AmStaffs joined the AKC in the 1930s, I'm not sure when Staffords joined, but like most terriers, these breeds have been bred as pets for 100 years or more - 200 generations of dogdom. The APBT owners I know are involved in conformation, weight pulling, obedience, agility, flyball and therapy work, like most owners of a utility breed.

If dog-fighting is as prevalent as the media and others would have us believe, why are steps not being taken to shut it down? It's a felony in most states, isn't it?

I don't see what that has to do with ordinary pet owners and I'm less clear on why they should be punished for it in the absence of any wrongdoing on their part.

As you say, some dogs are great at dog parks, some aren't but avoiding socialization is not the way to have a well-adjusted dog.


I have a lab that won't fetch or swim in water yet his littermate does both! BSL is just plain doesn't work, costs too much anf gives a false sense of safety. If you dog is aggressive don't bring him to the park, regardless of the breed.

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