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My sister and I have been volunteering at a shelter recently. She's scared of pitbulls, thinks they're dangerous dogs, etc. There's one pitbull at the shelter, and this time one of the workers was playing with it in the big fenced-in area. He was down on the ground with it, giving it kisses, it was licking his face, good times. So I asked my sister if she wanted to go interact with it, with the worker present. She agreed.

We walked over. I was all set to change my sister's mind about pits. I explained to the worker: "My sister's scared of pitbulls, can we play with this one for a little bit? So she can see they're not vicious killers?"

He said, "Oh, sure. Yeah, he's friendly."

We walk into the "dog park." My sister stands eyeing the pit warily. I picked up the tug toy the pit had been playing with.

Worker: "Just don't put your hand in front of his face with that. He might try to get the toy and get your hand instead. When they bite, they bite so hard you basically can't get them off unless you kill them."

My sister shoots me an "I told you so" look.

I play with the tug toy anyway, but I do keep my fingers well away from the dog end.

I try to repair the situation: "So, this guy seems pretty nice."

At that moment, another dog appeared outside the pen. The pit snarls and sprints right to the end of the chain-link fence.

Worker: "Yeah, he's nice to adults. Hates other dogs. He'll rip into any dog he sees. Not good with little kids, either."

At this point I should just keep my mouth shut, but I have to ask.

"Not good with little kids? Is he just too rough with them?" He seemed rambunctious, almost puppy-like as I was played with him.

Worker: "He took a bite out of a toddler's face. Not hard, he wasn't latched on or anything. I think it was because kids are at eye level with dogs, and the toddler probably looked him in the eyes, which is offensive to dogs."

My sister couldn't leave fast enough. My plan to show "the truth" about pits couldn't have backfired more.

But, I was wondering: How accurate are pit bulls with their mouths? Would they really accidently seriously injure your hand when you're playing tug or fetch with them? Shepherds also have strong bite strength, but the second our Shepherd feels a human hand in her mouth, she stops biting. And she's accurate enough with her mouth that you don't need to worry about her snapping your fingers while she's trying to bite her toy. Maybe pitbulls don't have that same control, with their shorter muzzles?

The toddler story, I'm not sure I believe. I think if a dog really caused injuries to a toddler, it'd be put down.
 

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I think there's a bit of natural sensitivity and a bit of training that makes up how good (or not) a dog is with their mouth. Storee for example is a golden, and wild and crazy at that, but can use her mouth very gently to carry things. She's carried live birds around, eggs, sandwiches in bags.... my old golden would take a note and deliver it on command (had to explain to the other half to look closer the first few times, she'd be standing there wagging her tail with a post it note in her teeth...). The goldens don't tend to chew dumbells for obedience either.

The border collies.... little less likely to not snap down hard on something but with training are all pretty good about the teeth and human skin factor. Dumbells and balls, not so much.

But all of my guys have learned to be great around kids, regardless of if the kid is dog wise or not, grabbing ears and so on they just use the slobber repellant to get the kids to back off then leave the situation.

It depends on the shelter you're at as to how they deal with dogs like that. The whole 'no kill' thing is great and I support that but there are some dogs that are going to take a lot of work and still be at risk to society or sit for years in a shelter, so for some shelters it's a balance. I know one near here has a pretty firm policy, they do an assessment and based on the dog's behaviors will decide if the dog goes into the program to get adopted. Or not. But they also don't turn away anything, anytime...
 

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I volunteer at a shelter and they do have us be careful giving toys to the dog, no tug, and trade when you want a dog to drop something, but that's for all the dogs. Its because we don't know the dogs and don't know how well they've been taught to take a toy, or how good their bite inhibition is. As for the grabbing on and having to kill it to get it off-that's BS, more untrue propaganda about pit bulls, they can grab on and hold but they do not have locking jaws, and in the case of grabbing a toy it's not going to hold on to your hand, it may get some skin, but certainly isn't going to clamp on. They can be dog aggressive, but that doesn't mean human aggressive. It could have snapped at a child in it's face and ended up there, it just wouldn't be put in a home with children. If it severely hurt the child it probably would have been put down.
 

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Worker: "Just don't put your hand in front of his face with that. He might try to get the toy and get your hand instead. When they bite, they bite so hard you basically can't get them off unless you kill them."
/bangs head on desk :doh:
Um, no not even close. I play tug with my two all the time, yeah they get over excited, and they can nip my hand, but they are so careful when they are grabbing their tug from me, that at most I feel a bit of tooth or a scratch from their tooth and nothing more. Just like with any other dog out there, when dogs get excited they can get rough, but just no no no no NO to what that volunteer said. 99% of Pit Bulls if they even feel your hand in their mouth, they freeze. My oldest Pit Bull will actually remove my hand from his mouth with his tongue and paw.

I can even rough house with my two just like anyone can do with a Lab, and I have no fears at all about my hand in their mouths. Heck most people spend their lives avoiding Pit Bull mouths, and I can't tell you how many times my hand his been half way down one's throat because they swallowed something they shouldn't have.

The most danger I have with playing tug with my two is a dislocated shoulder. Here's a video of Nubs and myself playing tug. Every time I'm pulling his close to me, I'm kissing his nose :p
http://youtu.be/EWzzIiUxESo

Worker: "Yeah, he's nice to adults. Hates other dogs. He'll rip into any dog he sees. Not good with little kids, either."
Not uncommon for Pits to not like other dogs. The breed was bred for Dog Aggression for many many years. That doesn't shock me at all that he behaved that way toward another dog. Nubs my oldest isn't that great with toddlers either. He likes to knock them down and kiss the heck out of them. I could see how a nip can happen.

But, I was wondering: How accurate are pit bulls with their mouths? Would they really accidently seriously injure your hand when you're playing tug or fetch with them? Shepherds also have strong bite strength, but the second our Shepherd feels a human hand in her mouth, she stops biting. And she's accurate enough with her mouth that you don't need to worry about her snapping your fingers while she's trying to bite her toy. Maybe pitbulls don't have that same control, with their shorter muzzles?
Pits are just like every other breed out there honestly. They aren't special, they have just as much control over their mouths as every other breed. What that guy was saying was just playing off the myths that surround the breed.
This is what I deal with with my two. http://youtu.be/jPZzjVAMXok The most danger I have around these two are drowning from their slobber.

Another video if you really want to see a Pit and their behavior. Another one of my Nubs playing around. http://youtu.be/aKn9_plbqVM I'm teasing the heck out of him with one of his toys.
 

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Worker: "Just don't put your hand in front of his face with that. He might try to get the toy and get your hand instead. When they bite, they bite so hard you basically can't get them off unless you kill them."
Durr. Pits are terriers and they can be tenacious when they get ahold of a tug toy, treat etc. They can bite as hard as any other similarly sized dog. But while a pup might accidently catch your hand if its holding a toy, most will immediately let go if they touch skin. Like "Oh my, I'm so sorry!"

Worker: "Yeah, he's nice to adults. Hates other dogs. He'll rip into any dog he sees. Not good with little kids, either."
Dog aggression isn't uncommon and dogs of any breed can dislike children. Little kids can be scary to them- noisy, unpredictable etc. A kid could have startled him and he swung his head around and whacked the kid with an open mouth or the kid could have been waving something and the dog snapped at the item and caught the kid by accident. Dog aggression does NOT equal human aggression.

How accurate are pit bulls with their mouths? Would they really accidently seriously injure your hand when you're playing tug or fetch with them?
As accurate as any other dog- or an inaccurate. The (recently adopted!) foster Luna came to me as a nipper. She tried to nip for attention, snap treats and catch fingers, and she wasn't really careful at watching what she was grabbing at when it came to tennis balls and ropes. Some basic bite inhibition training like you would do with a puppy and lots of good play with Chester (who has a very soft mouth and is also very tolerant) and after a few months, she was great with her bite inhibition and could take a treat nicely.

Unfortunately, it sounds like that shelter worker was confusing that specific dog's habits and needs with being "pit bull" things and throwing in some of the common stereotypes also.

this is why I love doing stuff like what Chester and I did today-- the rescue has a monthly "Pit Bull (and friends) Pack Walk" where somewhere between 10 and 30 dogs and owners, mostly pits and bully mixes, get together and take a walk around a major shopping/dining neighborhood. We get a ton of stares and a wide variety of reactions but its both fun and a positive breed thing to do to show people a couple dozen Pitties happily walking together, sniffing butts, and greeting people nicely (if the people want to be greeted).
 

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I would really wonder about that worker. but then again pits are one of my fav breed hoping maybe for my next dog to get one just need to own a house first and convince my loveable bf that we need one lol.
Sloth if you want to change your sisters out look on pits why not find someone in your area that has a well behaved pit, so she can see that they are great dogs. I have one not to far from my house n i always stop and see her if she is out and she always gives kisses. The pits i know are all well behaved and friendly and just love attention.
 

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I'd say no different than any other breed. Any breed can be grabby and get your hand or fingers. Especially a dog without much handling who is stimulated or never been taught proper.

I play tug with mine and don't have that problem.
I did get bit once when my dog was going for the springpole and I had my hand on the rope. Yeah that hurt.

I had 2 playing with a tug toy. One ended up biting the other in the face/lip. Still holding on and tugging Luke she only had hold of the toy.

Of course you don't have to kill them. Omg people will say anything. That is what breaking sticks are for. And has he never heard of a little thing called training? You can teach dogs to let go or drop items on command.
The dog was clearly not holding onto the tug toy "forever".
 

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I agree with what everyone else has said. For the most part, any dog with no Bite Inhibition and too much excitement can take a pretty bad chomp out of your hand unintentionally and with no aggression. Even a Chihuahua... even a retriever, although they typically have softer mouths.
 

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I've been nabbed by both my dogs in the past while playing with toys. They just get overly excited and give you an apologetic look once they realize they got my hand and not the toy.
 

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I've never had an adult pit offer to grab me. But I took care of a pup for a couple of weeks. The first time we played, she managed to actually puncture my lip. I laughed through the blood while others watched horrified screaming KILLER, PIT BULL, SEE, THEY ATTACK PEOPLE. Yeah, okay, a puppy with brand new teeth plays too rough. Obviously a vicious monster.
I have, however, had plenty of other breeds grab my hand by accident and refuse to let go, just thinking its a toy.

I think you just struck bad luck with this dog. or this worker -.-
 

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My ACD Izze was a hard hard biter when she played tug, I wouldn't have wanted to get my hand in her way when she was playing tug, I'll have to post a pic of our jolly ball she tore up lol.
 

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Um, wow. Kabota is missing half his teeth and he came to me with no bite inhibition- because nobody taught it to him. It's not hard to do, even with an adult. You just have to he willing to take the nips until he gets it.

As for dog aggression, any dog can be DA. Muggsy was wildly DA, and equally loving towards humans. Pits have more of a tendency towards DA, but big deal. Don't go to the dog park.

As for the kid, maybe that's a dog that shouldn't be adopted out. Maybe the kid was between him and a tug toy being waved around. People are that stupid.
 
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