Why Pit Bulls and Rottweilers Shouldn’t Be Reviled

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The unfortunate incident of a pit bull maiming its 82-year-old owner in Lucknow has recently made headlines. The attack apparently happened without warning. This again generated heated discussion about whether breeds like the Rottweiler and Pit Bull are “safe” enough to adopt. These races are demonized and abandoned. But is the dog really guilty?

I got to know a six-year-old female Rottweiler named Fury and a pit bull named Tyson (no longer with us) very well. Both exhibited the same personality traits as my Golden Retriever, Musafir. They were also approachable, friendly and laid back. This shows that the nature of race itself has no bearing on what happened. Cases of aggression and violence towards pets are largely the result of education and the perception of fear in a given circumstance.

Humans selectively breed dogs for traits that have benefited us since we domesticated them. For example, retrievers were bred to hunt and retrieve ducks. As a result, they can swim and enjoy the game of fetch. Beagles are generally very energetic and like to poke their noses around because they were bred to hunt hares and rabbits.

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Today, people increasingly want to own an unusual breed. But they are often unable to understand the purpose and energy level of this dog. At the moment, the Belgian Malinois is at the top of this list. Many dog ​​lovers bring home and confine this dog breed – which was developed for herding and is now being trained for the military – to an apartment. To give you more clarity on what this breed is capable of: Cairo, a Belgian Malinois, was the only dog ​​used during the military mission that tracked down al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

While it’s important to dismiss preconceptions about breeds, you need to consider their energy levels if a dog was bred to work. A high energy dog ​​will become resentful if he does not get enough exercise. A smart dog will act out of boredom. They “misbehave” because they don’t receive adequate mental and physical stimulation. Chow-chows, which are also becoming popular as pets due to their endearing bear-like appearance, were first bred to hunt and herd. These natural instincts must be harnessed for the dog to be happy. A dog’s needs and intelligence must be respected.

Once you bring your puppy home, make sure he is socialized and trained. It needs to be taught patiently about proper behavior, just like we teach a child. This is why it is important to wait until the puppy is two months old. A puppy picks up specific behavioral traits from its mother and other puppies in the litter. Puppies brought home too early lose this crucial stage of emotional growth.

A puppy’s socialization window is between 3 and 12 weeks. During this time, it is the responsibility of the pet owner to expose the pet to a variety of circumstances, people, and sounds, while ensuring that the exposure is a positive experience. Teaching methods should focus on positive reinforcement. Proper socialization will reduce fear and make your pup more confident.

Training should start from day one. Most dogs find training enjoyable when done correctly, as it engages them physically and mentally. So make sure you get a brief daily workout.

Consult a veterinarian if you notice your pet acting strangely or displaying behavior that is unlike it. Pain can make them irritable and defensive. I had a patient, usually well-behaved Golden Retriever, who once lashed out at his owner out of the blue. We found out he was in pain, suffering from a gastrointestinal disease.

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So there is no aggressive dog. Most animals respond with fear or trauma. Since dogs don’t have the emotional capacity to be vindictive or calculating, it’s unfair to categorize a breed as violent. The best way to raise good dogs is to spend quality time with them and learn about their needs, anxieties, quirks, and characteristics. Dogs of all breeds make amazing pets if their needs are met and their training is correct.

Dr Nameeta Nadkarni is a veterinary soft tissue surgeon and pet blogger from Mumbai, who enjoys playing the piano in her spare time and is governed by her whimsical cat, Catbury, at home.

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