What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Comments

1
Yeah, that video doesn't do much to assuage fears and frustration when it's apparent that the pit bull is only calculating its next move. We all know the child got eaten directly after the camcorder was turned off.
2
*sigh* I love dogs. I have known some lovely, affectionate, charming pit bulls in my day. But I still WOULD NEVER LET MY CHILD PLAY LIKE THIS WITH A PIT BULL. Or any dog of this size.

I firmly believe that 90% of bite incidents come about from people not paying attention/knowing the dangers of having a dog with a kid. Just because Fido is a sweetheart doesn't mean he is incapable of turning your toddler into hamburger. Small children resemble prey....they sometimes act like prey, or in a way the dog views as aggressive. And when a predatory animal sees prey or feels threatened...well you know the rest.

Responsible dog ownership means having a fucking brain, and using it. ESPECIALLY if you also have kids.
3
That baby is drunk.
4
Before this was filmed the dog was watching Julia Child's show on cooking young human child.
5
I think it's ill-advised to let a child this young play with any pet like this. Either the pet could get hurt, or it could get mad and nip or scratch the baby. But that does seem like a very good-natured dog. I wonder sometimes if the high incidence of pit bull maulings is less related to some intrinsic aggressiveness of pits, than to the types of owners who are drawn to them. I only know two people who have a pit bull, and they are both stupid rednecks who play rough with the dogs intentionally to make them mean. So maybe the breed's badass reputation attracts exactly the wrong kind of owners. No?
6
Some people seem unable to grasp that different breeds behave - well, differently. They just think "dog=pet". Some breeds have had all the mean bred out (Labradors, Goldens, Collies), and others haven't (pit bulls, Dobermans). It ain't rocket science. Which is unfortunate, because anyone too dumb to realize this isn't doing a lot of reading, including Dan's blog.
7
What's being done wrong here has nothing to do with the breed the dog is, and everything to do with dogs, period.
A child should never be allowed to take anything out of a dog's mouth. Period. Any dog. They all have the ability to bite.
A child should never be allowed in a dog's bed. Period. That is the dog's own personal space and it is a known danger to climb into it like that.

It's great that they are teaching this dog to be gentle, and to allow things to be taken from its mouth, and to allow others into its bed. Those are all things a dog should be taught. Just NOT by a child, or worse, a baby.

People are ridiculous.
8
The funniest part of this is that the kid's name is Tiger and the dog's name is Sadie.
9
@5 I agree with you, to a certain degree.

I meant to add that what they are doing right is that this dog is obviously part of the family. It obviously lives in the house with them, and they obviously pay plenty to the dog.

It seems like most dogs that bite and maul spend most of their time chained in the garage, and their owners spend little time with them.

Still, a dog is a dog, and we don't know what they are thinking. I wouldn't let my baby be so intimate with any dog. Unless of course, I didn't want the baby anymore.
10
Quick! Up the ante and give the child a loaded handgun as well!
11
properly socialized house dogs understand what babies are, and what their place in the pack is. they tend to be protective and tolerant of babies. a pit can do this. an intact pit, less so.

this video proves shit about intact pits owned by layabout macho men.
12
If you are going to have dogs and kids living together, these sorts of managed interactions are a must. The dog has to get used to the kid and learn the kid's place in the family hierarchy, or the risk of a bite increases no matter what the breed.

Give that the mom is there managing the interaction, there's nothing risky about this, even if the dog is a pit. If that dog was thinking about biting the kid, there would be clear early warning signs (lowered tail, curled lip, growl, etc.) that would be obvious to an astute dog owner.

Most pit attacks on children aren't carried out by the family's own dog, and those that are tend to happen when the parents aren't paying this close attention.

That said, I'd never get a pit or pit mix, and I don't understand why anyone else would either. While you can do things to lower the risk of a bite, you can't eliminate that risk or the incredible damage they can do. Frankly, pits just aren't worth it.
13
A pug would be more apropos. Of course, by the time these people figure it out, they'll be preparing for the pregnancy of their replacement kidlet.
14
I'd bite that baby... very cute!
15
if I was a pitbull I'd of certainly eaten the face off that drunken baby, full stop. just on general purposes.

because cute only goes so far, & then', oh yeah, little person "it's on".

if you wanna keep your germ laden hands - you betta, keep them the hell away from my maw of doom.
16
@5: If you follow pit attacks, it's obvious that the violence bred into their DNA plays a roll by itself, beyond any encouragement by douchebag owners.

And as I mentioned above, if you have kids and dogs in the house together, supervised interactions like this are ESSENTIAL, or your kid will almost certainly get bit no matter what breed of dog you have.
17
nothing to see here.
18
I've said most of this before here, but I'll say it again.

I've known too many friendly, well-trained, well-adjusted dogs of the several breeds and mixes together known as pit bulls to subscribe to all the pit bull hate.

After all, 'pit bull' refers to dogs of one general appearance: mid-sized to medium-large, boxer-faced, strong jawed, thick-necked, small-eared dog of several breeds and mixes, some of which have never been bred for fighting.

That being said, dogs are retarded wolves, and any retarded wolf can be dangerous.

Hear the one about the ski-masked rapist got his fool ass kilt deader than dingo bait by a three-pound Yorkie? True story--Yorkie was highly motivated and went for the ankle, stude panicked and fell. Yorkie went for the face. Stude panicked worse and fell down the stairs, hurting himself bad enough that he was helpless when the Yorkie went for the throat, bye-bye. Give that Yorkie some bacon.

Pit bulls are disproportionally dangerous because they're relatively small to be so strong. I wouldn't trust ANY dog (retarded wolf) around ANY child without close supervision. Which is exactly what that video showed.
19
Dan-
Pet peeve- 'from whence' is just SO wrong, as 'whence' means 'from where'. Correctly it is always 'whence it came', without the redundant 'from'.
20
Forget pit bulls, people who let their small children play with little dogs are the ones asking for their child's face to get bit. Esp. when they're letting them run up to someone else's little terrier while he's minding his own business and monitoring the ground-squirrel holes at the park. My dog is busy being cute and harassing the local wildlife, take your handsy offspring away. Grr.
21
i was constantly worried through this entire video. People don't seem to realize that these kind of things can happen i a flash -- if the kid for instance accidentally hurt the dog, the dog yelps and snaps as dogs tend to do when they're in pain, and the kid has a bite. It's scary.
22
Big dogs (or even little dogs) shouldn't be allowed to play with kids this little like that. Breed has very little to do with it.
24
For a moment I thought this was the "stupd fucking credulous hack of the day" post, and Dan was referring to himself.
25
Meh. Too many kids in the world anyway.
26
Cute video.
27
"I found a two-minute video in which nothing tragic happens! Therefore nothing tragic can ever happen."
28
I have to say I favor the side of animals more strongly than I do people, that's just how I am. Yes, it is irresponsible to leave a child alone with any animal unsupervised, for both the child and the animal's sake, but animals are not -inherently- bad the way people conceptualize the idea of 'bad'. Yes, you can have an aggressive pit bull without proper training. But you can have a JUST as aggressive small breed dog in the same circumstance, and they can be just as vicious and unsociable. And I believe that more often than not, there are a lot more attacks by dogs of that kind than pit bulls, pit bull attacks just automatically seem notorious because pit bulls have a given reputation of being -violent-. Piss poor training and animal husbandry on the part of an owner -is not- the same thing as an animal being inherently bad. And lets be honest. There are a lot of kids that are just taught piss poor manners when it comes to pets.
29
If there was one thing I could make the Stranger shut the fuck up about already, it would be pit bulls.
30
There are pit bulls and then there are pit bulls. The dog can be bred for a gentle disposition. But, the dog can also be bred to be a bloodthirsty maniac. (Speaking of which, the few crazy pitbulls I've met shifted into a whole other gear once they got a taste of blood, even if it was their own from biting the chain leash their owner was using to walk them.)

With their heavy skulls, powerful jaws, and the angle of their teeth, there's something in common between pitbulls and sharks. Once they sink their teeth into something, they don't want to let go. They'll shake their victim until they rip the flesh off.

It's not that other dogs can't be mean, or unstable. They can. It's just that pit bulls can do a lot of damage in a hurry if they're so inclined. And, even with an adult present to intervene, there's precious little they could do in time.

As far as breeding goes, the big problem with pit bulls is that there are people breeding them on purpose to fight other dogs, and they're not hard to breed. There are a lot of leftover pups from the fight breeders, and these end up being sold as watch dogs or pets. If you like pit bulls, and want a relatively stable one, be sure to buy it from an AKC member breeder, directly. Remember though, even if it has a sweet personality, it's still got awesome physical abilities to inflict damage.
31
Questionland is going to feature questions about pets on June 1. It would be funny to see Dan Savage try to answer any of the questions about dogs
32
grammar police: it's just "whence" ... "from whence" is redundant.
33
Agree with 19 and 32... it should be "whence it sprung."
34
oops i missed it at 19 - sorry for the double-up.
35
I love dogs, including Pits, and the dog seems to be a sweetheart, but these parents are total idiots. You never have a small child grab a chew toy from a dog's mouth. Ever. The dog doesn't have to be aggressive for that to turn out very, very badly for a small child. A dog of any size or breed that's simply trying to play or adjust the toy's position in its mouth could seriously harm a small child.
36
Yeah...All pitbulls are maniac, powderkeg, attack dogs waiting to happen.
Just like all catholic priests are rapists.
And all gay men are closet case pedophiles.
And all Muslims are terrorists.
37
While I agree that letting the dog and the kid get to know each other is vital, letting the kid harass the dog while it is in bed is ill advised. This kind of encounter is safer when it takes place on neutral ground.
38
Or this: http://www.pawnation.com/2010/05/17/pit-…

this: http://www.sj-r.com/bakke/x1070009188/Da…

this: http://sootoday.com/content/news/full_st…

this: http://www.zootoo.com/petnews/straydogsa…

Really, Savage, none of the articles that you linked to had any credence on the video. Neighbor's dogs + loose dogs + a dog bought from Craigslist yesterday have no equality to a family-raised dog.
39
@36 for the derail.
40
@ 6. Goldens haven't "got all the mean bred out of them". Goldens actually have a slightly more aggressive temperament towards humans than pit bulls do, according to testing. The differences are
A. Goldens are perceived as more of an "all-American" gentle breed, and are more likely to be adopted by people who want them to be such. With pits, it's often the opposite.
B. Goldens are less likely to make it to the press for mauling someone.
C. Dogs that are in the press for mauling someone aren't likely to be mistakenly referred to as a golden, if they are not a golden.

You are correct about labs though, according to temperament testing they are one of the least aggressive breeds, surpassing goldens, and then pit bulls. Collies too, are slightly more aggressive than pits. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on goldens or collies. I'm just agreeing with you that there are differences among the breeds, but you can't go based on hearsay, or personal experience, you have to look at the stats - and take things in context.

http://www.atts.org/stats1.html

For anyone interested in the facts...the ATTS are not a group of "rabid" or "angry" pit lovers either.

41
@ 6. Goldens haven't "got all the mean bred out of them". Goldens actually have a slightly more aggressive temperament towards humans than pit bulls do, according to testing. The differences are
A. Goldens are perceived as more of an "all-American" gentle breed, and are more likely to be adopted by people who want them to be such. With pits, it's often the opposite.
B. Goldens are less likely to make it to the press for mauling someone.
C. Dogs that are in the press for mauling someone aren't likely to be mistakenly referred to as a golden, if they are not a golden.

You are correct about labs though, according to temperament testing they are one of the least aggressive breeds, surpassing goldens, and then pit bulls. Collies too, are slightly more aggressive than pits. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on goldens or collies. I'm just agreeing with you that there are differences among the breeds, but you can't go based on hearsay, or personal experience, you have to look at the stats - and take things in context.

http://www.atts.org/stats1.html

For anyone interested in the facts...the ATTS are not a group of "rabid" or "angry" pit lovers either.
42
Also here is a sampling of the variety among some of my favorite dog breeds (well, mutts are actually my favorite, but among the pure-breds):

FRENCH BULLDOG 91.3%
GOLDEN RETRIEVER 84.6%
CARDIGAN WELSH CORGI 76.2%
LABRADOR RETRIEVER 92.0%
STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER 88.0%
BASSET HOUND 85.3%
AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER 85.3%
BORDER COLLIE 80.6%
COLLIE 79.4%
IRISH SETTER 90.0%
AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG 78.0%
AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD 81.0%

Percentage indicates the pass rate for the temperament test of aggression towards humans. The higher the percentage, the less aggressive.

A few of the stats aren't something you can base much off of, because some of them have tested very few dogs. However, with many of them, including american pit bulls, they have tested hundreds of dogs. If you click the link they are also quite transparent, showing you how many were tested, how many passed, and how many failed. I just don't know how to make a table in a comment.
43
Having spent all of my 34 years in close exposure to dogs, I am rarely shocked by the moronic behavior displayed by the humans who own them (often those humans are my own family members, and sometimes even myself). The point of this video? Not sure. Some idiot wanted some cute footage of her kid and pet, I guess. Or maybe wanted to prove a point. Beyond the constant senseless reprimands to the dog to lick less (it's a dog; dogs lick; it won't make your kid sick as long as you keep your dog healthy) and to the baby to be gentle, I'm kind of just irritated. The dog was lying in its bed and playing with its toy - have a little respect for the animal's personal space!

I actually think - as I have repeated here many times before - that properly bred pit bulls have better temperaments than most breeds and are less likely to bite. However, ANY DOG can bite. And pit bulls, when they bite in earnest, do far more damage.

We also cannot see inside the mind of a dog - we often don't know when they are hurting because they instinctually mask pain until it is too much for them to bear. We often misinterpret their behavior because we look at their actions from a human perspective, and sometimes we try too hard to see through a dog's eyes (meaning, your dog generally recognizes you are not a dog and does not expect you to act like one, though they often interpret things as if you ARE a dog when they have no context for your behavior or a situation). Our communication with them is generally imperfect.

Thus a human may fail to see when a dog's mood changes (which it can do on a dime), a dog may perceive a threat when pain is inflicted unintentionally, etc. But say that baby had really dug its finger into that dog's eye - would you blame it if it bit the kid? And could the mother have moved fast enough to prevent it? And what kind of damage would a bite from a pit bull that big inflict on a toddler that small?
44
Personally, I don't think anyone should have a large dog together with a small child. The vast majority of human fatalities by dogs involve children ages 2.5 to 4. It's easier for a dog to guard or leave alone a baby. However, when children start walking, many dogs that were well-mannered around the infant, will bite the walking child as a form of discipline.

Instead of focusing on breed, people need to reflect on the other more obvious statistics--that large dogs--even golden retrievers--kill 3 to 4 year old children, and that neutering status is one of the single greatest indicators of dog aggression.

Over 80% of dog to dog attacks I've seen on my jobs have involved intact males, of breeds all across the board. There was never any breed that stood out.

Of the extremely severe maulings, those at least were caused in equal measures by two breeds--pit bull and Jack Russells, in part because both breeds have that tendency to not let go of prey. As for neutering status? 100% were unneutered males. 100-Fucking-Percent.

And Faer's right too, small breeds, especially terriers are just as likely to bite a small dogs as anything else. In some cases more so, because some idiots think training a small dog is unnecessary or that their nippy Pekingese is cute. Well, fox terriers, pomeranians, and Yorkies have all killed babies.
45
I love my 10 year old pit. She's only bit one person in the 8 years I've had her, and guess who it was? It was an adult wrestling with a child. She gave him a "warning nip" that he was being too rough. She's always been extremely patient and sensitive to children... not so much to raccoons.
I think Pit haters should really tread cautiously- I never see stories where happy, healthy pits of kind owners bite people.
46
"I never see stories where happy, healthy pits of kind owners bite people."

That may be true. Still, it seems infinitely more plausible to make an attempt at reducing the number of pits, rather than mandating health and happiness among dog owners.
47
Boxers are one of the breeds considered most likely to be aggressive toward humans. Yet one of my sisters, for the last 40 years, has owned pet boxers without incident. She reared her children with the dogs. Her children are rearing their own children with their own pet boxers now. There has never been a bite incident. Why? Because their dogs are all neutered or spayed, they are properly trained and socialized, and they are closely supervised in any interaction with other animals or small children. The children were taught to let the dogs alone while eating, not grab at their faces, and not pester them in their crates. The dogs were taught that growling or snapping at the children was unacceptable behavior. The dogs are gentle as lambs with small children, but NEVER left alone with them (they still have teeth).

Gentle as those dogs are with their family, I sure as hell wouldn't want to be a kidnapper trying to snatch one of those kids while they're walking the boxers. I'm not even a recognized member of the boxers' pack, but when I was walking one of the dogs, he did NOT want strange men coming too near me. He made that perfectly clear. They would die for those children. But still, they are NEVER left alone with small children.
48
My dog is a Fox Terrier. They are known as lovable, stupid clowns. He weighs about 20lbs and has never once acted aggressive.
That said, I would not let my nieces or nephews handle my dog like this. It's not pleasant for the poor animal, and the kid isn't learning any boundaries. I always tell the toddlers that waddle up to my dog, "gentle pets on the back but you have to ASK first".
It's somewhat shocking to me how many parents let their children walk right up to my dog and grab it's snout. It's happened a few times and always amazes me.
49
As I read the pit bull comments, I have the same question every time. Does the press just report Pit Bull bites & attacks more often or are Pit Bulls really a more dangerous breed? The following "study" (I can't verify its validity) says that Pit Bulls are responsible for 1/2 of media reported dog bites. (approx. 1100 attacks by pit bulls/2200 for all breeds). http://www.dogbitelaw.com/Dog%20Attacks%… More dogbite info available at :http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/statisti… Most likely breeds to attack: Rotweilers & Pitbulls hmmm.This doesn't really answer my queston but I think it poses a new question: Who do you love more -- your dog or your kid?