Monday, December 14, 2009

High Drive Could Save Your Life

The American Pit Bull Terrier is often criticized for its high drive. They quote how an ill cared for animal attacked another dog or occasionally a human and that it was incredibly difficult to remove the dog and/or it was hard to redirect their attention. NOT to be misconstrued as glamorizing dog fighting (I nearly passed out trying to sit through "Off The Chain") but it is the same dedication that keeps a fighting dog latched onto its opponent, that keeps the search and rescue dog on the track of a missing person despite bleeding paw pads and many miles already logged. Do you want the search and rescue dog looking for your children when they are lost or injured to be one that gives up halfway through because they're getting tired? Or would you prefer one that will go for the goal until they are physically incapable, for no reason other than that it is important to their handler? I can't reiterate enough how unfair it is to blame an owner's neglect to properly train a dog, when often those same qualities that make a dog dangerous can make a dog an incredible asset to the community when trained for search and rescue or police work. One of the Lassie dogs was turned over to Bill Koehler because she was "uncontrollable" and the Great Dane in Swiss Family Robinson was fond of biting people when he came to Koehler. In cases where a dog has not been outright abused or neglected, misbehavior is often due to assets that are channeled into undesirable actions because they aren't being utilized. A lot of high energy breeds are found in shelters because their owners didn't understand that a dog bred to be herding sheep all day can't be left in apartment for 8 hours without a good, exhausting workout in the morning and evening if their owners plan on keeping their worldly possessions intact. That's just one of the many behavioral problems that can arise in dogs who aren't able to expend their energy or use their mental faculties.

Now I'm rambling and I should be packing to leave for Florida tomorrow anyhow. The point I was trying to make is: there is a good and a bad side to everything. The greater the potential for a quality to cause great harm, the greater potential good it can create so let's not forget it. Happy Holidays!

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