The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Brad Pattison Headshot

Who Is to Blame For Calgary's Dog Attacks?

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Another dog attack in Calgary, another tragedy and more pain for many. Who is to blame, since we love to blame and it makes us feel better about ourselves. Who is to blame? The breed, the owner, the trainer, the treats, or society. Who is to blame? In some cases it is one of these. But I would like to direct your attention to facts, not blame.

Fact: Pitbulls are the number one killing breed. I know many good Pitbulls, but am always cautious around any breed of dog.

Fact: Pitbulls will protect and kill if the instinctual behaviour overrides the warning behaviour. Most other breeds don't know how to kill. Think of a Pitbull as a little kid with lots of power and strength who gets carried away because it has rage. The breed is not a bad breed. It does need special consideration! If any breed of dog feels threatened they respond in a variety of ways, running away, nipping, biting, attacking and killing are a few. Many dogs have a shorter fuse and will up the dose of harm if it feels a strong need.

Ownership plays a big part, if you can't manage and establish alpha over your dog. If you can't, regardless of breed, you should not own a dog. If you are going to have a low expectation for your dog, then you should not own a dog. If you want to baby your dog and treat it like a child then you should not own a dog. If you have to give your dog a treat for sitting you should not own a dog.

Some people hate me because I call it how it is. I make sure the dog understands its place in our society. We dog owners need a swift kick in the backend. We need to up the expectation and treat dogs as dogs, love them, care for them and lead them. Not allow the dog to make the rules and control us. Dogs are not a family pet first! A dog is an animal first. No species gives treats to one another for a basic request so act properly and put away the bribing-with-food trick -- it lowers your authority and how the dog views you. You are not a vending machine!

In the end the Pitbull will be hated and viewed as the devil of all dog breeds. But the fact is any dog can kill. That's why breed bans are stupid, but understanding breed guidelines make sense. Killing all the dogs does not resolve the issue.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the people and dogs in Calgary this week. The people who will assess the dogs have a terrible decision to make and it is not easy. Many people will be affected. Do not blame, accuse or hate a person because of the breed they own. Not all dogs are bad and not all owners are. We need more love and understanding not hate and pain.