Sunday, October 14, 2012

My pit bull experience

In observation of pit bull awareness month, we would like to offer this story as an example of a "teachable moment" - a pit bull experience that someone took the time to record, in order to help others understand the problems faced by pit bull rescuers. Like so many similar accounts, hers has largely been kept quiet by pressure from pit bull activists (who typically swarm angrily against any entity that dares to publish an opinion that these creatures, created and bred specifically for a violent blood sport, and currently leading all other dog breeds in the human death toll by a country mile, might actually be dangerous) Although her story has not gotten much traction, we're highlighting it here, for your edification. While there are many who could tell a similar tale, she has told hers particularly well, with meticulous attention to detail.

Sonya Marmeladov did everything right, thinking she was doing a good thing by adopting a pit bull. She followed the guidelines of the pit bull advocacy groups to the letter. She provided a wonderful home and every opportunity for the pit bull to live a wonderful life. She was patient and thorough, determined to help the timid, fearful pit bull regain its confidence, which it did. Her efforts were almost superhuman. Nobody could have done any more than she did to make it work.

Sonya didn't count on the vicious, sustained attack that the newly-confident pit bull launched on her other dog, a sweet, non-aggressive boy who didn't deserve what happened to him. That attack was the last straw, so after coming to the realization that her attempts to rehabilitate the violent and unpredictable animal were doomed to failure, she did the responsible thing and requested that it be euthanized. To her dismay, the local SPCA group refused to put the creature down, instead covering up its violent record and offering it up for adoption to unsuspecting families.

Unfortunately this sort of thing is not so rare as one would hope.

Read Ms Marmeladov's full account here

Read the insightful commentary by dog behaviorist Alexandra Semyonovhere


  1. Wow

    I think the account and summary is a MUST READ.

    I have forwarded this to two of my friends who run dog training classes. They do traditional training and typically they get the pet smart failures- usually pit bulls- with owners who are shocked that their dog is now acting like a pit bull. Last year they dealt with a dog whos' owners were not forthright in telling them the dog was now showing human aggression and had gone after two people (one a child riding by on a bike). The dog was just turning two years old and they had loved it and "socialized it" and they were completely surprised. The dog was thankfully kicked out of that class.

    I have begged them to ban pit bulls from classes. I have a new dog I would like to take to training but unfortunately there is always at least one pit bull or mix in their classes.

    Thank you to Ms Marmeladov for putting this out there. I think it took great courage.

    Thank you to Alexandra Semyonova for being the only behaviorist who speaks any sense.

    Thank you 17 Barks as well!

  2. This is why the SPCA cannot be trusted to do what has to be done when it comes to pit bulls. If someone wants rid of their mutant, bring it by my place. They won't leave with it.

  3. I read Ms Marmeladov's account, and I wonder what attracted this very precise, analytical, clinically dispassionate person to the pit bull breed.
    If I was a dog in this household, I would quickly go apeshit from being continually subjected to training, close confinement, and behavioral techniques, where for god's sake, even a vomit session is observed like a nurse Ratched--ok, that's not fair, it was significant , but the constant scrutiny, the rigid, ritualized management has a bit of a sinister tone, not helped by her choice of breed--a domineering :breed distortedly molded to civilized levels by that so-special
    Here's a thought..I brought home my poodle puppy 9 years ago
    and within the hour, after becoming acquainted with his new digs, he was piled up along with my 4 kitties in front of the fireplace (February) and ever after, he's been a joy, makes me laugh every day, sometimes mystifies me, often intrigues me, never caused me grief or worry, is as charming, and seemingly as bright as a 3 year old child, has never spent time inside a crate or offered exercises in pack hierarchy, he's just a good guy, he was born to be that way. My poodle impresses nobody, other than with his lightness of spirit. He learned to walk on a leash really nicely in less than 1/2 hour, was house trained in a snap. I find it incredible that poodles are cousin to pitbulls, or why people continue to try to wrangle mastery over the obdurate, soulless killers.

  4. My mother adopted a semi-feral golden retriever mix that I caught in a forest.

    She had never been in a house, yet was house trained in 1 day.

    She was the most intelligent dog I have ever met.


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