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Doug Landau
Doug Landau
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Pit Bull Aggression – Training, Temperament or Demographics ?

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Attacks by pit bulls and dog bite injuries are often reported in the popular press. However, researchers are looking into demographics to gain more insight into the why these dogs may seem to be involved in so many reported animal attacks and permanent dog bite injury cases. In yesterday’s post we looked at the questions concerning training versus a breed’s genetics. Evidence tends to suggest that discipline of the dog is an important trigger. An international reader, Ms. Van Veen, from "Awesome Dogs," sent the following research links:

  1. Injury Prevention: Dog bites to children. Discipline is the number 2 trigger.
  2. University of Pennsylvania: Confrontational training (including some verbal corrections) can increase aggressive responses. In some cases more than 25%. Please remember many owners do multiple types of corrections.
  3. Applied Animal Behaviour Science: "Aggressive conflicts amongst dogs and factors affecting them," (Hitting and shaking tied to aggression)

Ms. Van Veen writes, "As a mother, I abhor the thought of dogs attacking children. But as a professional in the industry, I am sickened at the number of times I have to fix problems that could have been prevented. And the truth is, that many people just don’t see how they contribute to a dog’s level of aggression.

Please do [the topic] justice. It’s time all this aggression stops. I’m just not sure it’s the Pit Bulls that deserve the blame." Everyone at ABRAMS LANDAU agrees with this international dog trainer. At the Landau Law Shop, we have seen other factors such as: training, environment, exercise, health and history that factor into a pit bull or other dog attack. It is hoped that advances in science, animal behavior and veterinary medicine will help reduce the number and severity of dog attacks on innocent victims and children. If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of a dog or other animal attack or bite, please e-mail or call us (703-796-9555) so that we can try to help.

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    I’m glad you’re shedding light on the fact that people–not dogs–are generally behind dog attacks, whether they know it or not. As a dog lover (with two well-trained dogs), I’ve seen many dog owners who do not even realize their dog is aggressive, instead thinking it is just “play.” Like kids on a playground, there’s “play” and then there’s aggression and intimidation. And if a dog is asserting itself aggressively towards other dogs, they are a danger to children.

    The bottom line is that all domesticated dogs are “trained,” it’s just a matter of whether they’ve been trained to interact well with other dogs and with people, or whether they’ve been trained that bad and/or aggressive behavior is acceptable. The former takes some modicum of effort. The latter, sadly, does not.