“Dangerous dog breeds” – myth and prejudice

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Not every regulation is so stupid after all, sometimes just the details are

The regulations back in Germany in my area made it mandatory to keep “dangerous dogs” on leash at all times, made them wear a muzzle in public and have owner and dog undergo an assessment by a professional licensed trainer. During this test the owner has to proof that he is able to handle the dog properly, that the dog is trained and reliably responds to the owner’s commands. Also the dog needs to be friendly towards other people and animals.
While I don’t see the point in making a dog that has never showed aggression wear a muzzle, I actually never had a problem with that obedience test requirement.

In fact, I think it’s a pretty great idea to enhance owner’s knowledge of their dogs and the awareness that there’s more to the matter than just “holding the leash” or not even do that.


Why limit thoughtful regulations just to certain breeds?

The only point I never understood was why this requirement had been limited just to certain breeds, while other breeds with the same physical potential of causing injuries and statistically proven more incidents were just not subjected to that regulation.

Pride and prejudice

I have even encountered prejudice in my own family. A journalist. He had started to get scared from their own media raving so much that it almost prevented him from visiting me. Yes, you guessed it, because I own an English Bull Terrier. I did not make any attempt to convince him, because I respect and care about people’s feelings. But eventually he decided himself to “face the challenge”.
Long story short: In the end asked me to take photos of him cuddling Mila and did not get tired of letting her do some of her tricks.
No reservations left.

Conclusion

As sad as many aspects of this matter are, in general I am really grateful to feel a LOT of acceptance here in my area. It does not deceive me about the fact that the same problems exist here. It just does not seem to be so wide spread in my area. And it seems to focus more on another breed (Pit Bulls). But I am pretty sure that difference is mainly owed to the fact that many people do not even know the Bull Terrier breed very well other than from the Target grocery store or the old Budweiser advertising, and also don’t know they’re on any list.
So here people are either just not interested or they LOVE Mila – not only dog owners. If people are interested they usually know the breed or they just like the looks.

This is what I feed from.
The nasty words of that biker, sure, they managed to last in my head. But I know that my dog is not a bad dog. And her antecessor wasn’t either.
My responsibility towards society, but also towards my dog is to be an aware owner. To train and manage my dog and work with her every day, giving her a chance of being a good citizen.
I will not be able to change the mind of entire societies about certain breeds. But I can make one small difference – just as thousands of other responsible dog lovers owning those one lovely girl or boy of those dangerous dog breeds can and DO.
That’s what matters to me!

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