My Ginger Snap

I am obviously a red head. I have a red headed dog named Ginger (I call her Ginger Snap when she is good, as Ginger cookies were my favorite growing up, and Ginger Stain when she’s bad). People tell me she looks like me.

People tell me she’s beautiful. People tell me she’s the sweetest, cutest dog they’ve ever met. Ginger Snap does NOT snap at people, let alone bite them! Even the trainer for our puppy class was hesitant at first and tried suggesting we NOT participate in Puppy Play Time at the end of each class. I, instead, gave all of the other owners the opportunity to introduce their dogs to Ginger individually, and gave THEM the option not to participate. Socializing your dog is VITAL to ensure they not develop aggressiveness towards other animals. Are you surprised that none of the owners opted out? Are you surprised she was the most popular puppy in the class? I came across a blog that made me so sad; it is literally a blog solely dedicated to convincing people that all Pit Bulls are monsters, killers, and should be put down. Is this the face of a monster? Or how about a killer?

Unless she is going to be convicted of Murder by Licking, it is safe to say we’ll be staying out of the courts.

Those of you who know Ginger, know she is a wonderfully loving animal, and as submissive as they come. I felt the need to respond to the unfortunately ignorant blog poster and hope that those of you who have had bad experiences with APBT or who do not know an APBT and have only read media coverage will TRY and understand that the breed itself is NOT dangerous but that ANY dog CAN be aggressive. This was the comment I posted in response to the blog:

While clearly there is a large group of people who are against American Pit Bull Terriers (obvious statement, proven solely by insurance companies and BSL), but with all the outrage against the dog, why is there no outrage towards their owners and breeders? There are too many dogs of all breeds who become violent and aggressive towards humans because they are poorly and irresponsibly bred and poorly and irresponsibly treated. I grew up with a dog that was half poodle, half terrier- cute, charming, lovable, seemingly harmless, but who bit anybody who seemed to threaten his family. Now, a bite from a 20 pound dog is far less harmful than that of a 50 pound dog, so do you think the UPS man ever called animal control or the police or even reported it to his superior? Of course not. It wasn’t until Falcor was 15 years old and bit my three year old nephew’s face that my parents finally put the dog down. If Falcor had been a Pit Bull, my nephew would probably have become another name on the lists above.

With that being said, I am a serious dog lover, of all breeds and I worry that with BSL we are not getting to the heart of the issue and solving the real problem- irresponsible breeding and irresponsible ownership. Regardless of the breed, a dog that isn’t bred well and is treated poorly and left untrained or is trained improperly, is going to behave very badly with potentially deadly aggressiveness. There is no way to deny that bully breeds (i.e. American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bull Dogs, etc.) are athletic and very strong which, when they fall into the category of mistreated dogs, is obviously a deadly combination.
Instead of banning a breed, start getting to the root of the problem, and ban irresponsible owners as THEY are the ones that should be punished.

There are too many people out there who do NOT properly train and socialize their dogs. Even if they do train their dog, they don’t teach them how to treat other people and other dogs. Even though I know Ginger is playful, submissive, and friendly towards other animals, I won’t go to dog parks because I don’t trust the OTHER dogs, no matter what the breed. I beg of you all- if you choose to own a dog, PLEASE be a responsible owner. Train your dog. Socialize your dog. Manage your dog. Spay or neuter your dog. Dog ownership is VERY time consuming and VERY hard work, and if you’re not going to do it RIGHT, then DON’T DO IT AT ALL!!!!

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11 comments

  1. Although I believe in your right to your own opinion and to express it please do the same level of research on the topics you discuss in your postings that you do for your business endeavors.
    According to the CDC dog attacks resulting in maimings and deaths in the US are “increasing at an alarming rate” and “67% of the attacks are by Pit Bulls and Rotweilers.” Most of the victims are small children (e.g. the three year old killed by a Pit Bull in an area where I lived in Baltimore). They are a dangerous breed and in my opinion should never be kept as pets – especially in homes with small childrenb. If you would like to do the research this would be a good place to start:
    http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/statistics.html#Thedogsmostlikelytobite
    I love you but it makes me sad to see you tauting these dogs as pets.

    • It makes me sad to believe that you think so little of me; of course I did my research. I am well aware of the statistics, warnings, and potential of this breed- both good and bad. It surprises me that you believe, because I don’t agree with you, that I must not have done proper research prior to bringing Ginger into our home. I am well aware that APBTs are a high risk breed. I am well aware of how athletic and strong they are, and how much damage their bites can do. I, however, did more than read web sites, media representations and statistics that show the negative side of this breed. I bought and read books cover to cover. I met multiple different dogs of different breeds, and multiple different APBTs- pure and mixed. I spoke to many different breeders and many different trainers. I spoke with rescues and humane societies to be sure I educated myself to the fullest extent prior to adopting Ginger. I made sure that I adopted a dog who had not been subjected to severe physical abuse. I made sure that I adopted a dog that had gone through temperament testing and proper socialization. I made sure that Josh and I were going to be responsible dog owners and have been going to puppy classes and working daily with Ginger to teach her proper doggy etiquette, as well as maintaining alpha status over Ginger within our household. I warn and teach every single person who comes into my home to be sure the balance is continued, and we never stray from Ginger’s training, and she never thinks she has the upper hand. I also respect those who are scared of APBTs and, until they are ready, I keep Ginger in her crate, and then I introduce them pleasantly and responsibly.

      I do NOT encourage just anybody to own an APBT. I do not believe all APBTs will make good pets. I do not believe banning a breed is the way to solve the problems we have with violent dogs and excessive dog biting. The link you provided including the following list as the most likely to bite: pit bulls, Rottweilers, German shepherds, huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Doberman pinschers, chows, Great Danes, St. Bernards and Akitas. There is not an actual dog named a “pit bull”- there are American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers, and an extremely long list of other dogs that have been called a “pit bull.” Rottweilers- I don’t know as much about them, but you’ve met Boss… not a dangerous bone in his body. German Shepherds- are you going to ban the most common police dog? I cannot give an opinion about Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Dobermans and Chows as I don’t know much about them, but I have met very sweet, very wimpy members of each breed. Great Danes- I thought they were the Gentle Giant? Have you ever met one? St. Bernards- they were the “nanny dog” in the ’30s and ’40s and were used for rescues (so were/are APBTs). I know very little about Akitas. Every breed listed is a LARGE dog (average full grown weight is above 50 lbs). It is important to remember that all dogs are just that- DOGS. They are ANIMALS. They evolved from wolves, not bunny rabbits. If a person is going to own a dog, specifically a large breed, they need to be prepared to handle the dog and be a responsible owner.

      If dogs that bite frequently should be banned, think about all the little dogs that bite that just aren’t reported as they do far less damage being smaller dogs. NO dog bite is acceptable. Banning breeds is NOT going to solve the problem of biting and dog attack related fatalities. It is only going to keep responsible owners from the banned breed and encourage irresponsible people to find a thrill in owning an illegal dog. There are other ways to manage the problem that could be much more successful such as mandatory training classes and home visits. Require all breeders acquire a license and dog approval before they begin breeding, and really crack down on those who breed without licenses. Mandatory spaying/neutering of animals that are not going to be used for breeding. Required training classes of all owners and their dogs, and home visits by animal control. Harsher punishments for dog abusers.

      I would suggest, if you feel as strongly as you do about APBTs, start researching dogs in general, owners in general, and get to know multiple breeds yourself. Learn their strengths and weaknesses. Learn the many ways dogs can become violent. Get more involved in the cause, and try and find an effective way to solve the problem.

  2. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Ginger at Christmas and she trulywas a gentle dog around the adults as well as all the small children and other small dogs that were there. It sadens me to know there are so many narrow minded people out there.

  3. I have to come to the defense of a truly loving dog that has stayed in my home with my ten pound pomapoo. Ginger was nothing but loving and playful with my alpha-male dog(10 pounds) the entire time she was here. Obviously, had Ginger wanted, she could have eaten by dog in two bites. She was also well behaved when she was left for me to dog sit with her. I must add this was even before she had been to her puppy classes.

    I knew she would be the star of her class!!

  4. Stephanie-after knowing you and getting to know Ginger, you’ve completely changed my mind about pit bull terriers! I must admit, I was one of those stereotyp-ers but no longer. I’ve snuggled with a bear of a Rotweiler and don’t really know why I still had doubts about Miss Ginger. Any dog who let my (at the time) 15 lb puppy try to nurse from her is patience and calm personified! You got a good one and we’re definitely looking forward to getting our own Ginger time this weekend:)

  5. Alex- was Hank even 15 lbs that day?? He was only six weeks old! I’m so glad you have taken Ginger on as your own doggy niece and she is VERY excited to spend time with her auntie and uncle and her best friend Hankie Pankie!!

  6. So is Hank! OMG y’all left a couple hours ago and they still just can’t get enough playtime together! It’s gonna be a fun few days:)

  7. LOL I’m not surprised. Good thing it is almost her bedtime so you guys can get some sleep!! Even if she doesn’t want to stop playing and sleep, the benedryl will knock her out. I cannot thank you guys enough!!!

  8. I originally found your blog through Linked In.

    Your post about ginger and your reply to Ed King are most enjoyable.

    As a Baby Boomer, I can remember years back when German Shepherds were the culprits in the majority of dog attacks. (Because many of the currently popular breeds were yet to become widely owned). There were frequent calls for them to be muzzled, banned or restricted.

    When I was a young child my parents had English Bull terriers, I have subsequently owned Rotweillers, Staffordshire bull terriers, German Shepherds, Mastiff crosses and other large and small dogs. The only time I have been bitten by one of my own dogs was when separating a Golden Retriever from a Rotweiller during a fight when the Retriever bit my hand.

    During the farm invasions in Zimbabwe where I was living, there is no question that my beloved Rotweiller bitch Bonnie, my mastiff cross Brutus and 4 other dogs helped prevent our farmhouse being overrun by thugs.

    Now living in Ontario, Canada, I am appalled that our provincial government has interfered with our rights to own the dogs of our choice by banning “Pit Bulls” or any type of dog resembling them i.e. all Bull Terriers.

    Ban irresponsible people from owning dogs but don’t punish the dogs.

    Congratulations on the success of your business and your site is great.

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