If you’re a dog owner or are considering adopting a dog, you’ve probably heard your share of advice concerning “bad” breeds. The truth is, no breed of dog is inherently evil, but some are inclined towards behaviors that require strong and early training if the dog is to function comfortably in polite society. Here’s the lowdown on some of the breeds you may have been told to avoid and tips on how to encourage positive behavior.
Dog Breeds with a Bad Rap
Chief among the dogs whose poor reputations precede them are doberman pinschers, pit bulls and German shepherds. It’s true that German shepherds have powerful jaws, but they can learn bite inhibition as easily as any other breed. The same is true of the doberman, a sweet and affectionate breed capable of forming strong bonds with their human companions.
With their protective and fearless nature, pit bulls get an even worse deal. Publicized dog bite cases involving pit bulls and other ‘dangerous’ breeds like Tyner v. Matta-Troncoso in 2019 only add fuel to the fire.
Are They Actually More Dangerous Than Other Breeds?
The short answer? No. If you have the time and energy to deal with the specific needs of these animals, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider adopting one, even if you have small children in your family. In fact, their strength and loyalty make them wonderful companions, as long as they’re taught to respect basic boundaries. In most cases, a dog’s aggressive or dangerous behavior is the fault of the humans who failed to train it properly and not the result of any inherent flaws in the animal’s genetic makeup.
Training Tips for Your “Dangerous” Dog
The key to training a well-adjusted pit bull or other “problematic” breeds is consistency. Engage in short training sessions (no longer than 10 minutes) to ensure that the dog doesn’t lose interest. If the animal nips at any time—even during play—step back and ignore them for a few minutes. With highly sensitive breeds, it’s even more important to focus on positive reinforcement. Don’t reward bad behavior or “poison the cue” by punishing the dog when he or she comes to you, as this will only result in confusion.
In order to train a well-adjusted dog, you’ll need to be armed with knowledge and a solid understanding of the breed. Be patient and consistent with your methods, and you’ll be rewarded with a dedicated, loving companion, regardless of others’ misconceptions.
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