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Their physique is not attractive and they scare people away. But the fear aroused by dogs belonging to certain breeds is not scientifically founded. Rottweilers and Pitt Bulls are no more dangerous than Labradors: decryption with a behavioral veterinarian.

When they get to town, everyone changes sidewalks. Rottweilers, Pitt Bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers (aka “amstaff”), and large, imposing dogs in general, often dark in color, are scary. For Sylvain Girodon, veterinarian in Mondeville (14) and the first in France to have obtained the behaviorist diploma, these dogs are “just victims of a dirty-mouthed offence”.

The Dangerous Dogs Act has reinforced prejudice

But this apprehension is not based only on the physical appearance of these animals. It dates back to the law of January 6, 1999 on so-called dangerous dogs. This text classified dogs into several categories: category 1 for attack dogs and category 2 for guard and defense dogs. The law prohibits certain people from keeping these dogs, it obliges the owners to identify them, to declare them, to sterilize them and to put a muzzle on them in the public space.

“This 1999 law was made to fight against drug dealers in the suburbs. » explains Sylvain Girodon. Today, according to the behavioral veterinarian, “The social problem has disappeared but the prejudices have remained against these races. »

And our veterinarian is not the only one to come to this conclusion. The National Health and Food Safety Agency (ANSES) issued a report and an opinion on the risk of dog bites in October 2020. ANSES concludes that “This risk cannot be reliably based on the breed or racial type of the dog alone.”

To date, no scientific study has shown a higher risk of being bitten by category 1 and 2 so-called “dangerous” dogs. The United States, the Netherlands or Italy, which had adopted similar categorizations, abandoned them after finding their ineffectiveness in reducing the risk of bites.

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Education: the best weapon against dog bites

If the breed does not have a decisive role in the aggressiveness of a dog, education is fundamental.

The important thing is the education we will give him, his place in the house, his place in the hierarchy.

Sylvain Girodon, behavioral veterinarian

According to Sylvain Girodon, not only Rottweilers and other pitt bulls are not more dangerous than the others, but “They are even less dangerous, Because their master goes to great lengths to show that they are like the others. »

With education courses from an early age (puppy schools), good socialization and regular physical and mental activities, the dog will be well in his paws, whatever his breed.

And that goes both ways. Without education or an environment favorable to its well-being, the dog can become aggressive and biting, whatever its breed.

In fact, often the biting dog is the good big doggie of the house, the Labrador, the little granny’s dog, because they are not always well behaved

Sylvain Girodon, behavioral veterinarian

Thus, according to ANSES, it is necessary to raise awareness among adults and children, whether or not they are dog owners. “the well-being, needs and expectations of a dog as well as the recognition of signs of stress in the animal: licking of the nose, repetitive yawning, looking away”as well as’ “to the fact that all dogs can bite, regardless of their size or breed, and that consequently never leave a child alone with a dog without active adult supervision.

Like dog, like master?

Sylvain Girodon therefore pleads in favor of these dogs, victims of a dirty mouth offense and fights against another prejudice. “The physique of the animal is not neutral, but whether it’s interesting, I’m not sure. When we say such dog, such master, we immediately think that this big man will have a French bulldog and this little whippet an Italian greyhound, but it’s a cliché! »

According to the behavioral veterinarian, what makes the dog look like its master is to be found on the psychic side, on the side of emotional exchanges.

Dogs are emotional sponges. When we leave the house, and we are anxious, we are afraid to leave the animal alone, we transmit signals of fear and anxiety to it. In turn, the dog will be anxious and he will perhaps trigger destruction.

Sylvain Girodon, behavioral veterinarian

The important thing to choose your dog is first to make an inventory of his lifestyle, the weather and the activities that you want / can do with your companion. And to choose the race according to it.

The choice should not be based on aesthetic criteria, even if the physical counts in terms of potential to channel. Rather than say “like dog like master”Sylvain Girodon prefers “like Master like dog”.

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