Are pitbull dogs aggressive? See what experts say
From dressage to muzzle, see what are the tips to ensure good behavior of animals
At around 9 am last Tuesday, dog walker Vera Lúcia Souza de Oliveira, 50, was working at Jardim de Alah, in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro’s South Zone (RJ), when she witnessed a pit bull attack a boxer. . In the fight, a woman tried to separate the animals, ended up falling and hurting her knee.
The day before, a dog of the same lineage, loose and without a muzzle, killed a Yorkie who was walking with his owner, in Vila Isabel. According to the Brazilian Confederation of Cinophilia, “this breed needs owners who socialize them carefully and who teach obedience to them”.
— The dogs were playing together when, suddenly, the pit bull, without a collar or muzzle, got weird and started biting. The owner could not separate, and everyone in the square had to help to avoid a tragedy — remembers Vera.
‘Fear of the unknown’
According to veterinarian and animal behavior specialist Alexandre Rossi, known as Dr. Pet and founder of Cão Cidadão, socialization well done, with the help of a trainer, can help, especially with puppies up to 90 days old, to prevent so-called predatory attitudes, such as chasing children, and avoid future violence.
— When we don’t socialize dogs properly and don’t present all the stimuli, such as children running and playing, elderly people with crutches, dogs of different breeds, we can facilitate this attack. He’ll attack out of fear of the unknown,” Rossi said.
For veterinarian and trainer Henrique Perdigão, violence is not an inherent behavior of the breed. According to him, pitbulls can live perfectly with children and other dogs, as long as they are trained and educated by their owners. Perdigão points out, however, that the culture built around the animal, which has a strong bite and a powerful shake of the head, leads to the aggressive behavior that has been seen on the streets:
— There is a history related to the appearance of pitbulls. They have become a symbol of virility and masculinity due to their origins as a fighting dog. Many people acquire pitbulls with the intention of having a violent dog and end up encouraging aggressive behavior, without worrying about the rights of the next. Now, every animal can become aggressive, and it doesn’t depend on just one factor.
Last week, plastic artist Cristine Moutinho, 58, was playing with Lino, her 4-year-old Pomeranian, at Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz, in Ipanema, also in the South Zone, when a pit bull puppy grabbed her neck. from a poodle:
“At the time, everyone was very scared. They ran, lifted their paws, punched their belly, opened their jaws and he ended up letting go, but he still made the dog bleed. They may be tame, but it feels like flipping a switch and something happens.
A survey carried out by O Globo based on Civil Police records shows that the state of Rio recorded, in the last 12 months, 41 crimes involving pitbull dogs without a collar or muzzle – which represents one crime every eight days. Among the occurrences are threats, bodily harm, mistreatment and even omission of caution in guarding or driving animals and danger to life or health.
There are records of crimes of this nature in all regions of the state, between June 30, 2021 and the same date this year. On August 21, a 46-year-old housewife sought out the 15th DP (Gávea) after her neighbor’s pit bull killed her cat in the play area of a building in Morro do Vidigal, in the South Zone of the capital. At the police station, he said he felt threatened and coerced.
Two days later, it was the turn of a 32-year-old businessman to attend the 36th DP (Santa Cruz) after his poodle dog was also killed by his neighbor’s pitbull, in the West Zone neighborhood. According to the boy, the animal was loose during the dawn and, that day, he entered his backyard, pulled the puppy through the railing and attacked him.
— My dog was raised at home, has no history of aggression and has always been very docile, even with strangers. Unfortunately, she couldn’t bear the injuries and died the next day from the bites,” she said.
Most cases involving pitbulls happen due to failure to comply with state law 4,597, which prohibits the movement of ferocious dogs without a lead and an appropriate hanger. The standard, despite being in force since 2005, is not supervised by Organs competent bodies. According to state deputy Carlos Minc (PSB), author of the law, the lack of application of the prescribed punishments, such as a fine and seizure of the animal, as well as the inexistence of a complaint channel, impairs its effectiveness and increases the risk of dog attacks.
The text also applies to the Fila, Doberman and Rottweiler breeds. These animals, with the appropriate safety accessories, must be driven by people over 18 years of age when in the streets, squares, gardens and other public places. Owners or drivers are “responsible for damages that may be caused by the animal under their care, being subject to existing criminal and legal sanctions”.
In order for feral dogs to circulate in public areas, it is necessary to observe the rules established by law and expert guidance.
State law 4,597, of September 16, 2005, establishes that dogs of the pitbull, Fila, Doberman and Rottweiler breeds can only circulate in public places, such as streets, squares, gardens and parks, if driven by people over 18 years of age and through guides with an appropriate choke chain and muzzle.
- Halter collar and collar
Both help to control the animal on the street. The chest holds in the front and helps the tutor to have a little more strength compared to the pitbull. As pitbulls are very strong, specialist Alexandre Rossi also recommends the halter collar to help the tutor to have greater control of the animal.
Guide size: up to 1.5m; ideally, it should not be too long, so that the dog is not too far away, and you have more control.
It is also important that, when removing the muzzle, this is done by the tutor and not by the dog. This prevents him from hurting himself and creates the habit of using this technique to ask for the muzzle removal.
The closer to the animal, the greater the chance that it will reach you. It is important to be careful when cycling, running or walking towards a dog with a ferocious behavior. The ideal is to keep more than 1.5 meters of distance (in addition to the distance of the guide)
If you notice a dog on the street showing aggression, the ideal is to move away diagonally.
Keep the muzzle open: it can be harmful to the animal’s health to keep the mouth completely closed. Dogs need ventilation in their mouths, because they lose a lot of heat there. Attention is needed!
Source: O Globo Agency