Should we be banning certain dog breeds?

For many years I thought the breed of the dog predetermined the dogs adaptability to certain situations. I worked in the “human” medical field for many years but almost two years ago switched gears. I went to work at a veterinary hospital due to my love of animals. I still believe that some breeds are predisposed to aggression, chewing, or whatever the case may be. Although some breeds, such as Pit Bulls, have a bad reputation I have educated myself firsthand on the subject. The breed of a certain dog does NOT determine how vicious that dog is or will be. Therefore, I feel it is a matter of “NURTURE vs. NATURE. For example, a Pit Bull raised in a home with a loving, compassionate family with children present will grow up to be a friendly dog that is tolerant of children. If that same dog is raised in a home and kept outside with limited human contact will probably grow to be either very aggressive or completely withdrawn and unpredictable.

Now do I think some breeds are more easily trained than others or some breeds are better suited for certain living conditions such as the size of a home or the size of a yard? Absolutely, without a doubt. A Labrador Retriever without a yard or other outlet would not be as happy or satisfied as a Bichon Frise in the same living situation.

Having expressed my NURTURE vs. NATURE theory, back to the original question of whether certain dog breeds should be banned. If the ban of a certain breed is coming from a local municipality such as town ordinance…..NO! If we are talking about whether someone such as a landlord or property manager should ban certain breeds…..absolutely; but not for the reason most bans are based on. Being an animal lover, I would not allow a tenant to have a large breed dog in a small apartment or condominium without a yard. The decision to ban or not to ban certain dog breeds should be on a case by case basis and not a “blanket” ban. Such blanket bans are in effect at some dog parks and beaches. I do not agree with these bans. These bans would not be a reality if some dog owners were more conscious and responsible. If you own a dog that is aggressive toward other dogs, do not bring your dog to a “free roam” dog park. If you own a dog that is aggressive toward children, do not walk your dog through a crowd with children present.

If you own a dog that has shown signs of aggression it is extremely vital for you to seek professional assistance. There are several places to get the necessary help. Some veterinary clinics offer affordable, or in some cases, free obedience training. You can also search on-line for assistance. Such websites as www.dogobedienceadvice.com is a great outlet for you to attempt to train your dog for free. It will only cost you some time and patience. The reward you will get will far outweigh the cost of the training whether you hired a professional or performed the training in your own back yard.

After you have a well trained dog there are many events you can attend with your best friend. Many areas have clubs that meet on a regular basis. For example, in Brevard County Florida there is a growing number of people who meet along with their dog(s) every Wednesday evening. The meetings are called “Yappy Hour”. Every Wednesday the group meets at a different restaurant (usually with outdoor seating available) that allows the group to bring their dogs to dinner with them. Then, as you might imagine, many friendships and networking are created which leads to “play dates” and other activities you can enjoy with your dog on a regular basis. If you do not have a group such as this in your area, it may not be a bad idea to look into creating one. Happy Yapping!

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