Stories of dangerous and mean pitbulls take up space in newspapers across the country, but are Pitbulls inherently mean and aggressive?
Are they more dangerous than the large dog population in general? And what, exactly, does it take for a dog to be called Mean?
Obviously the term “Mean Pit bull” is not an official classification. It is more something you’d hear when one is speaking about the “Mean Pitbull” that lives next door. But what has the dog done to deserve being called mean?
Many people would throw around the term even if the dog did nothing more than bark. But would they use the word “mean” to describe a Labrador or Poodle that barked? All dogs bark.
They don’t only bark to show aggression, so the fact that a Pitbull is barking doesn’t make him mean. It just makes him a dog.
Even if a dog has attacked an animal that doesn’t make them mean. It is important to remember that Pitbulls are one of the most loyal dog breeds. They will do anything to please their masters – including being aggressive.
When a Pitbull – or any other dog – is aggressive, that is not a fault of the breed. It is a fault of how the dog was trained or raised.
Animal lovers were disgusted by the story of the Michael Vick fighting dogs and the exceptionally cruel treatment they endured. Now, however, those dogs have proven to be a testament to what is possible, even when a Pitbull is treated in the most horrific ways imaginable.
These “Mean Pits” were used for dog fighting and were horribly abused by their owners. When they were rescued, many wanted to have them all put down immediately saying there was no chance they could ever be rehabilitated.
Happily, a group of knowledgeable animal rights people fought for these dogs, and they won. Today, the former Vick fighting dos, often called Vicktory Dogs, are much-loved family pets, top athletes and therapy dogs.
The Vick dogs were a breakthrough that helped many people understand that Mean Pits aren’t the problem. If a dog that was locked in a cage her entire life or beaten nearly to death or starved or endured any other number of abuses can become the dog that the kids flop on in front of the TV or that wins first place at a Dock Dogs competition or that comforts a sick child in a hospital then just about anything is possible.
Are there Mean Pit bulls? There are dogs of all breeds that were not properly trained or that were trained specifically to be aggressive. But that isn’t the dog’s fault. Even when a Pitbull has been taught to be aggressive, he can be retrained and become a wonderful family pet.
Human aggression is not a natural characteristic of a Pitbull. It is something they must be taught. It is important to spread the message of the Vicktory Dogs and other truths that can help eliminate the false stereotypes that all Pitbulls are Mean.