Family Rotty mauls 3 year old to death

I was kinda shocked to hear this today because I thought these breeds(pitts,akitas,dobeys,and rotty's) were considered safe around children and their family. I thought I read somewhere that pitt bulls were used as nanny's for children at one point. The only thing I thought was distirbing was the child was outside unsupervised with the dog. So I was wondering what you guys thought about this because I wouldn't leave a young child unsupervised with my corgi's even though they LOVE little kids, they fall all over themselves trying to get petted by them, because of their herding tendecy's

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Comment by Beth on March 2, 2010 at 7:09am
Joanna, having seen several police dog demonstrations, Schutzhund videos, and read a fair amount of stuff, I can assure you that those dogs attack and hold or they are no good at their job. There is a reason the police force does not use Irish Setters and the army does not use Old English Sheepdogs.

When you are developing a type of dog, you ditch the ones who don't work out. If your retriever takes a hard hold on the game and thrashes it, you have trouble getting your game and you don't breed that dog. If your Border Collie grabs the sheep and won't let go, the Border Collie will probably be shot (back in the days when breeds were being developed).

ANY dog can attack and I already said that. But some are hard-wired to bite suppress and when those dogs attack, you will hear things like "Cocker Spaniel bites owner 23 times in neck and arm" because they keep striking but the instinct to grab on with the mouth and not let go is to some degree bred out of them. ANY dog can revert to older instinctive behavior, but again breeding tells.

Dogs that were bred to hold things will bite differently, which is why it's so hard to break pitt bulls out of a fight, for example. Pitt Bulls were not bred to attack people, but they were selected to bite and hold and be "game" in a fight so a pitt bull who goes bad already has retained the instinct of how to hold on in a fight, for example. Pitt bull rescues talk a lot about how much harder a pitt bull can be to pull out of a fight. If a Rat Terrier were just as large, you'd probably have a similar problem.

Here's some statistics.

http://www.dogbitelaw.com/breeds-causing-DBRFs.pdf

Despite the fact that labs are large and powerful and have been the most popular breed for ages, they rank well down the list. But as I said, any dog can attack and they are also large and powerful and thus there are fatalities associated with them

I don't believe in breed-specific legislation but I do believe people should understand and respect the breed history of their dog and make decisions accordingly.
Comment by Joanna Kimball on March 2, 2010 at 12:48am
Rotties were not bred to bite people. Shepherds were not bred to bite people. Pits were very definitely bred to NEVER bite people. This has nothing to do with breed, except that this was a large dog. When we had Danes there was a similar (unsupervised) incident where three young Danes killed a five-year-old boy; Danes have never, ever been bred to bite people.

I'd challenge you to give me a long list of breeds that HAVE been developed to bite people. I can think of Black Russian Terriers and not too many others.
Comment by Elaine on March 2, 2010 at 12:34am
What a horrible story. What makes it worse is that family had a problem with another of its Rottweilers months earlier. Unfortunately, a small child paid the price for the family's refusal to see that it may have problems controlling its dogs.

I pretty much agree with Beth that we ignore the reasons for certain breeds at our peril. Author Jon Katz (of numerous dog books) had an excellent article about this, "Dog Bites Man," in which he mentions a scary statistic: "The chances that a victim of a fatal dog attack will be a burglar or human attacker are 1-in-177. The odds that the victim will be a child are 7-in-10."
Comment by Joanna Kimball on March 1, 2010 at 11:47pm
I have no idea what the circumstances of the incident were, but dogs hurting people has nothing to do with mistreatment, overbreeding (whatever that is), or training, and most of the time it has nothing to do with breed. It has to do with stupidity and a complete lack of understanding of what dogs are, coupled with a lack of bite inhibition that is also the human's fault because it means the dog was unsocialized.

You never NEVER leave a child alone with a dog. I don't care how little the dog is; there was a horrific incident a few years ago where an 8-wk-old puppy killed a baby. If a ten-pound baby dog can kill a baby human, it's ridiculous to think that a 15-lb poodle is "safe." Herding dog, hunting dog, hound, toy - you do NOT leave kids alone with dogs.
Comment by Susan Temple on March 1, 2010 at 10:35pm
I believe any dog who is over bred, mistreated and or untrained is entirely capable of mauling. Media picks up on it especially if it's one of the 'bully' breeds. We had a wonderful Rotti Husky mix who was 130 lbs of love. He was gentle as could be. He allowed our grandson to crawl all over him and their favorite game was when Andrew would 'ride' him and hold onto his ears for reigns. I'm not sure I would be worried about leaving Buddy with any of our grandchildren, but strange (to him) children I might give pause. Mainly because above all they are animals and we must respect that. I feel so sorry for the parents. It is so, so sad.
Comment by Laura & Lola on March 1, 2010 at 10:32pm
*I wanted to add too that my friends have a rotty & a lab... I am NOT comfortable leaving my son alone with them. Lola is only 25lbs & those dogs are 100lbs+... I know both dogs well & know they're well trained, but I don't know how they would react to getting fur/ears pulled or their reaction around food is. If Lola bit him, it would do a lot less damage than if one of those dogs bit him.
Comment by Beth on March 1, 2010 at 10:26pm
By the way, the one I found about the three-year-old over the cookie; the family was right there when it happened.
Comment by Beth on March 1, 2010 at 10:21pm
I say this carefully, but I'm not sure where you heard protection breeds were safe around children? I think the push-back against breed prejudice has gone much too far. Some dogs were selectively bred to attack and hold, and other dogs were selected for years NOT to attack and hold. Any dog can attack, but
1) A ten-pound toy is not likely to do the damage of a 100-pound powerful dog, and
2) For the life of me I cannot understand why dog people fully grasp that people have selectively bred beagles to be wonderful rabbit dogs, labradors to be obsessive retrievers, pointers to instinctively point butterflies at 6 weeks of age, and border collies to obsessively run circles around groups of anything (including people); yet somehow convince themselves that the people who selectively bred dogs for personal protection or fighting failed abysmally and these dogs are no more aggressive than any other.

I was not familiar with the story you mentioned, so I googled "Rottweiler mauls child" and got the following samples: Rottweiler kills three-year-old girl who drops cookie; Family Rottweiler attacks 18-month child; Rottweiler mauls one-year-old; Rottweiler mauls, kills Florida toddler; Family Rottweiler mauls five-year-old. All within the past 3 years, all on the top half of one page of a google search.

Rotties (and Mastiffs, Dobes, Shepherds, the bully breeds) are powerful dogs who require respect and a confident handler. A well-bred well-raised one owned by a smart owner can be a joy and I've known several. But one must always respect what even those particular dogs can do, and many more are poorly bred and not necessarily well-trained.

Regardless, I watch mine like a hawk around toddlers and they are only 30 pounds. They both seem bomb-proof with kids, but one never knows and kids faces are usually at teeth-level.

But again, to say that dogs who have a history of being selected to attack and hold are no more likely to be instinctively good when they do decide to attack is, in my mind, as odd as saying a Border Collie with no training will behave the same around sheep as your random Bichon. It just does not make sense to think that selective breeding for other things has been so successful, but has failed for the guard dogs who were meant to engage.
Comment by Laura & Lola on March 1, 2010 at 10:21pm
I leave my little boy (8 months old) alone with Lola. She pretty much follows me around the house, but sometimes she'll hang out with him (following him around trying to lick up any food leftovers he might have!). I've seen her snip at him a few times, but she's never bit. This happens mainly at night when she's trying to sleep in her bed & he comes crawling after her or if he pulls her fur. We taught her not to bite when she was a pup, but you really don't ever know what a dog is capable of when it's put in a bad situation.

That is a horrible story about the child being mauled... I hadn't seen the story... I couldn't even imagine :(

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