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Thread: 1 y/o Pit/Shepherd mix with kids

  1. #1

    1 y/o Pit/Shepherd mix with kids

    I am concerned/worried ...my daughter just got a Pit/German Shepherd mix from the local shelter, he is 1 y/o and looks like a straight Pit to me, and appears to have 'zero' training. They have a 15 m/o baby and I have heard horror stories about these dogs mauling kids. I don't know anything about the breed other than both breeds are biters. Also, I am afraid to let our dogs (Aussie, Golden Retriever, Yellow Lab) be around this dog. We don't know the history or the temperament of the parents since he came into the shelter as a stray. Please help me to feel better about this dog...I am having difficulties believing that the shelter would let a Pit with unknown issues go to a home with such a you child. Thanks for your input

  2. #2
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    Hi, and welcome to Pet Talk. Okay, now take a deep breath and relax. Yes, there have been stories in the news about "pit bulls" attacking kids, but if you look closer, in every single case, the fault was with the parents. They will not, by nature attack a child, and in fact in earlier years were considered good "nanny dogs." Your daughter should of course put some effort into training the dog, they can be very strong, so getting enrolled in an obedience class is a must for her.

    Niether Pit nulls or Shepherd are known to be "biters" except in the media. Actually Golden Retreivers have more recorded bites in many areas. I would absolutely allow him to be around your dogs, that will help socialize him, and he can learn from them what a good dog behaves like. And I am guessing if he gets out of line, one of the others will "correct" him!

    Don't worry about his breed, okay? As he is a year old, the time is now to get him some training, but most pitties I know are sweet dogs. They are energetic, and the Shepherd in him may mean he will try to "herd" things, but with good training, this can be a fabulous dog. I keep emphasizing training - for the sake of your daughter's shoulder muscles, as they are strong, so getting him leash training - as in to NOT pull - is vital!
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
    thanks Karen,
    That's the first thing we told them is to get the dog trained and socialized...I'm still worried about leaving my dogs alone with this dog, I've heard that if they get in a fight they will finish it...my daughter watches our dogs when we go out of town and they both work all day, so the dogs would all be left alone in the back yard for hours....ALONE...is this a good idea? I think that if she had gotten him as a new puppy then I wouldn't be so nervous. We don't know if the dog has been beaten or mistreated in some way. I also read that Pits are good until they mature at about 2-3 years of age and then they don't get along with other dogs. We used to have an Akita so I know the responsibility that comes along with having a 'dog aggressive' dog. Even though our Akita was the best with people, he didn't like other dogs and so we had to control him and not allow him to be around other dogs other than our own.

  4. #4
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    I would wait and see how he is for a few weeks before worrying about leaving him alone with the other dogs. Watch them interact, see how they do or do not get along, who "tests" who ... hopefully you have a bit of time before you go away and need her to watch the dogs ... it could be this is a perfectly good dog who just didn't get enough training and ended up too much for the person to handle - being they are such energetic dogs, that's a s likely a scenario as any as to why he became a stray! And if he is neutered - which I am guessing he is, you run less chance of him developing aggression issues later.
    I've Been Frosted

  5. #5
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    Welcome to PT!

    Sorry to read you are so nervous with your daughter's new dog.

    If she is working, and caring for a child that young, it will be tough, but she MUST go to obedience training classes with this dog. And her husband / spouse / partner needs to attend, as well. Group classes are a great way to learn to read your dog's body language, help the dog recognize the owners as pack leaders, and let the dog realize he WANTS to please them. Both of them will need to find time to do all the practice sessions and home work exercises.

    You have dogs, so you likely know this, but those practice routines and exercises are for life -- with any dog. Just like us, if you stop doing something, you lose it. So they need to find a way to work in some practice all the time -- just part of dog ownership. Not that it always has to be an intensive as it will be during classes, but it does need repeating on a regular basis.

    I am not a fan of leaving dogs outdoors alone, unattended. Any chance of doggie day care for any of them?

  6. #6
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    Might I suggest that she makes sure that the children grow up knowing what not to do around the dog. Like no encouraging of poking the face or fingers in the mouth. All the pits I've met have been wonderful with kids, when the owners are responsible and train the dog, like any other new dog in the family!

    Might I sooth your worries with a story? My best friend's mother has a 3 year old child that has grown up with 1 pit bull and 1 pit lab mix. The dogs are ecstatic and friendly around us, but I have never seen a dog be more gentle around kids than they are. I would worry about my boxer mix toppling the young girl over, but they are so gentle with her, and put up with things like a kid-friendly dog does. I would not trust one of my cats around her (he nibbles a bit), but I fully trust them with her. Biggest loves I've seen, they coat me in kisses when I come in.
    The pups

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    "Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer." - Dean Koontz, False Memory

  7. #7
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    Welcome to Pet Talk.

    I've just got to let you know that golden retrievers are considered big biters about the same amount as german shepherds. Mostly I think their popularity has caused a lot of poor breeding practices and thus their temperment is getting unpredictable. They seem to have submissive issues a lot and that leads to submissive biting. Also they are bred for mouth work so they will use their mouth.

    Aussies are not necessarily considered good with children, as with other herding breeds, because they can nip and try to herd small children.

    Labradors most likely have more cases of biting than any other breed. Know why? Because there are more labradors than any other breed. Labs are also bred for working with their mouths. Another danger around labs is knocking children down, which they're known for.

    So you see, any dog can be a danger to anybody. They ALL have teeth and they all know how to use them at any random moment when the right variables come together for even just a second. All small children should be supervised around dogs. Most bite cases come from a family pet, a dog you as a parent/grandparent think you know and trust.
    "There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion."

    Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton

  8. #8
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    First of all welcome to pet talk.

    Do not be worried about the child, GSDs and pit bulls are usually good with children. With good, stable genetics the dog should not hurt the child. It was your daughter's choice to get the dog, so cut her some slack and open your mind to learning about this wonderful breed. I have actually met a lot of aggressive Labs. To be honest, I don't see Labs as great family dogs anymore as people are breeding dogs with less than stellar genetics and they just get out of control easily.

    Never have I met a human aggressive American Pit Bull Terrier or mix. I work with dogs day in and day out at the shelter I work at and the APBTs are the sweetest, most gentle dogs and I would recommend an APBT before I would recommend a lab as a family dog. We have adopted out a lot of APBTs to homes with young children and they are doing very well and actually are those kid's best friend.

    German Shepherds make great family dogs as well, but are harder to handle than an APBT and are not for the average pet home.

    They are wonderful with children and were called "nanny" dogs in the past because they are so good with children and still are. Please open your mind and heart to learning about the wonderful American Pit Bull Terrier before making such harsh judgements that you hear on the media. Here are some links for you to read.


    http://saveabull.com/2008/pitbull-heroes/
    www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/pospress.html

    http://www.badrap.org/rescue/breed.html
    http://www.badrap.org/rescue/myths.html
    http://www.pbrc.net/breedinfo.html
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  9. #9

    thanks for all the input...

    The reason I am so nervous about this dog is the fact that we don't know the history on it and it is already 1 1/2 yr old with absolutely NO training or manners. The other day when I was at their house he was so excited that he was knocking down my grandson (15 mos old), and turned around very quickly and kind of nipped him right in the face causing him to fall down.

    Sorry, but none of my dogs...Golden, Aussie or Lab have ever been rough like that with him so I'm not sold on the fact that they are all biters...they know and understand that he is a little guy and are very gentle and even crawled up to him slowly when he was smaller.

    I realize that they need to get the training for the dog and for themselves, they don't seem to understand that they need to be careful with the dog around other dogs/kids. You can say what you want, but everything we have read says not to leave a Pit alone with other dogs. It's not that I'm not open minded, I just don't want to see anything happen to my dogs or grandson. I don't think they took into consideration what type of dog they were getting, just thought it was 'cool' looking. BTW, all of our dogs are papered and come from good, working lines and our Aussie usually hides cause he is old.
    Lori

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigermom112 View Post
    The reason I am so nervous about this dog is the fact that we don't know the history on it and it is already 1 1/2 yr old with absolutely NO training or manners. The other day when I was at their house he was so excited that he was knocking down my grandson (15 mos old), and turned around very quickly and kind of nipped him right in the face causing him to fall down.

    Sorry, but none of my dogs...Golden, Aussie or Lab have ever been rough like that with him so I'm not sold on the fact that they are all biters...they know and understand that he is a little guy and are very gentle and even crawled up to him slowly when he was smaller.

    I realize that they need to get the training for the dog and for themselves, they don't seem to understand that they need to be careful with the dog around other dogs/kids. You can say what you want, but everything we have read says not to leave a Pit alone with other dogs. It's not that I'm not open minded, I just don't want to see anything happen to my dogs or grandson. I don't think they took into consideration what type of dog they were getting, just thought it was 'cool' looking. BTW, all of our dogs are papered and come from good, working lines and our Aussie usually hides cause he is old.
    Lori
    If any dog, regardless of breed, is strong enough to knock down a child accidentally, supervision should always be given when the child is with the dog. Just as a general rule. I do hope that they know that, and understand your concern! A small child is very easy to topple over.

    Are they planning to socialize him or train him? Has he met your dogs yet? When he is younger, it is more beneficial to start socialization. I've learned the hard way with one of my passed boys!

    Greyhounds. They are generally very kind, loving dogs. Most would say Not a mean bone in their bodies. But they aren't Perfect. Sure, they are all carefully bred, so that they socialize well and get along with people. Still, I've had one aggressive grey before, who bit my mom. He was dog aggressive and half blind in his old age (not a good mix!). Wasn't properly socialized as a pup, and we got him when he was 6. Breed standard- my current grey Taffy (who is left alone with our pit mix who she loves very much- they share a tight bond that I rarely see in our dogs, sleep together, and the pit mix Cassie will clean Taffy as a show of affection). She literally does not have a mean bone in her body, and will put up with ANYTHING. She is what our rescue group tells people greyhounds are like! And yet every so often we will get a problem dog that needs some TLC, that's all. There are no bad dogs, just bad people.

    Greys aren't used to homes. Sometimes, neither are shelter dogs. As long as rules and boundaries and enforced and the dog's physical and mental needs are taken care of, it becomes a lot easier to adjust them to your lifestyle (or adjust to theirs!).

    Taking the dog for extra walks can help expell any energy that may make him a little too excited, so lots of walks may help! Tired= happy in the house, more obedient.
    Last edited by ToBeEvergreen; 11-07-2011 at 08:46 AM.
    The pups

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    "Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer." - Dean Koontz, False Memory

  11. #11
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    I have an idea

    First, welcome to Pet Talk.

    If I were you, I would very nicely and sweetly, offer to pay for and transport the dog and one owner to a training class in their neighborhood. It might speed up the process and give the dog a better start. Usually the trainers train the people more than the dogs, thus an owner must be there too! It might just ease your mind a bit, knowing the dog has been tested, if you will, with a trainer. I would try to find one with lots of experience with mature dogs, not just puppies, as many are....i.e. pet stores etc.

    Keep us posted.

    I would keep an eye on ANY dog around children. When I take Prue to my friend's child daycare center, I keep her leashed and DOWN. The kids love to pet her and it is a good time to teach the children where they can pet and NOT. Prue tolerates it nicely, but she knows she is leashed and I am the one calling the shots. If she was off leash, I think she would be knocking the kids over by licking their faces and hands! She loves children but can sometimes get overly excited. So I leash her. It works for Prue.

    Again, keep us posted.

    I bet all will be fine.

    Again, training and education about dogs will improve your opinion of the pupster, I am sure.

  12. #12
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    I am really sorry to disagree with the majority view on this one but I think that any shelter that has placed a pit bull/cross with no history in a family situation with small kids and inexperienced owners is doing a dis-service to the dog, the breed, the kids and re-homing in general.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by carrie View Post
    I am really sorry to disagree with the majority view on this one but I think that any shelter that has placed a pit bull/cross with no history in a family situation with small kids and inexperienced owners is doing a dis-service to the dog, the breed, the kids and re-homing in general.
    You're not disagreeing with anyone, we just didn't mention the shelter's lax attitude. Sadly, not every one is as responsible as some are. But we are hoping everything will, with training and careful attention work out for this family.
    I've Been Frosted

  14. #14
    I think Karen hit the nail on the head for me....it is the 'lax attitude' of the SPCA in placing this type of dog (1 1/2 yrs old with no history), as a family pet with small children. My daughter is very good with dogs as we always had 2 or 3 at a time during her childhood...she also saw us training the dogs and being responsible, and when we had an Akita which is also dog aggressive, we made sure that he knew his boundaries and listened...we had to train with him constantly, great dog with people, not so much with dogs. After he passed we decided that we didn't want any more high maintenance dogs so we switched to more family oriented dogs.

    The shelter did offer 1 hr of free training (whoopie), but we are going to pay for our friend who is a highly skilled trainer to take the whole family and the dog thru as many sessions as they need to get this dog under control and socialized. It bothers me that they don't control the dog around the baby and as you know, babies can pull and poke in ways that will evoke a reaction from the dog.

    We will probably at some point introduce our dogs to theirs but we just don't trust it....with any other dog a bite is a bite and it is over, with Pitts the bite can be deadly and that scares the crap out of me. If they had gotten him when he was a brand new puppy and raised him and seen the parent's temperament I would be a lot more comfortable. They are a busy family and I just don't see them giving the dog as much attention as it needs and deserves which can be a disaster.

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