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I Need Your Help . . . Co-worker Won't Stop Breed Stereotyping!

I Need Your Help . . . Co-worker Won't Stop Breed Stereotyping!

This insanely adoro pooch is named Harley – personally, I don't see how could you not love her cute face?! Well, seems her owner BloodyFuFu faces the problem that (sadly) many pittie owners see: people who want nothing to do with this breed based on things they've "heard."

Since they're in a pet-friendly office, several people bring dogs and she's worked with several co-workers to help them see how sweet her pooch is . . . but one has been scared of Harley since the pup was rescued two years ago and passed that fear on to her own dog. BloodyFuFu shares in the Pet Peeves group:

I can tell my dog's intentions from the pitch of her bark to her movements to her posture and I know that Harley sees this other dog as a potential playmate. The problem is really that due to fear, this woman sees Harley as a threat, her dog sees Harley as a threat, and she doesn't see when her dog is the aggressor or make any attempts to control her dog. I feel bad for trying to correct my dog for wanting to play, but I don't know what else to do. This woman also recently moved offices so now she is right next door and it seems like this will be a major issue. What can I do about someone that is unwilling to look past stereotypes and be comfortable with my dog? I don't want constant tension between the dogs, but if the owner is unwilling the dog is unwilling.

Please offer any advice below!

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red4bonez red4bonez 8 years
I feel so bad for you having this problem. Your coworkers know how good and cute your doggy is so I guess all you can do is wait for the other coworker to get use to you doggy. My mom is afraid of big dogs and even though princess is not big my mom is always extra careful around her, and she hates when princess and blakky play (princess is american pit and blakky is daschound) because shes afraid that they will start fighting. But she is getting slowly use to princess and she sees that princess is the cutest doggy eveeeeerrrrr!! so hopefully your coworker will see you puppy is awesome and soon will let the two doggies play together. You can't really force her to like your dog you know? Good luck!
HaterTot HaterTot 8 years
I adore Pits. One of the best dogs I've ever known was my friend's Pit in college. I looked at a lot of Pits and Am Staffs before getting my... schnoodle. (yeah, I know - I wanted a big dog, but I fell in love with 23 pounds of scruffy mutt) That said, I have never ever subscribed to breed stereotypes however, my friend brought her new Akita mix to my house this past fall, and even though he was on a leash, he grabbed my cat (seriously, it was so fast; I've never seen anything like it) and killed him. It wasn't bloody or anything, but he crushed him and broke his spine. He is a GOOD dog. A GREAT dog, even - but when I talked to my vet (who is my good friend) she said that it's an Akita thing, and it's a stereotype for a reason. Even at her clinics, they are more cautious with the "bully breeds" because you just never know. They're dogs and it can be really hard to remember that sometimes that instinct pops up when you'd never expect it. Even my baby could hurt someone. I think the lady in your office is paranoid, and that sucks. And it's even worse that she's passing that along to her dog, but part of me can kind of see where she might be coming from. I live in DC, and an inordinately high number of the shelter pups here are Pits. When my pup and I are on the patio, and a pit that I know walks by, it's cool - they can play. But if it's one that I don't know, I proceed with caution. (I do this with pretty much all dogs b/c the meanest dogs in the neighborhood are two jack russell terriers, but I am more cautious with the big dogs that have a "certain" reputation.) To be honest, if her dog isn't cool with yours, even though it's a pain, it's probably best to leave it be anyway.
depeche3 depeche3 8 years
Smacks: I really didn't mean anything by that... I should've said the strength of their jaws in comparison to smaller dogs. But, yes I agree they are similar to other larger breeds. My whole point is to keep your dogs on leash... Pit Bull, St.Bernard or Shih Tzu... whatever breed.
mimie mimie 8 years
Little dogs are often the agressive ones. I would show her this article: (first page) and then tell her that you feel that her dog might be the agressor and suggest that she try employing discipline to control her dog's negative behaviors and not coddle it so much. Kind of direct, but she seems to be bullying you and you pit out of her irrational fears that Harley might become aggressive. I have two pitbull mixes who were both rescue dogs and just possibly the sweetest animals ever. They would never even dream of hurting another dog or person (so much for guard dogs). Every dog can bite and pitbulls are certainly no exception, but its just like having a kid that grows up to be violent. Your co-worker needs to understand that the pitbulls (or any other type of dog) that attack are either trained to attack or were never taught proper behavior. Dogs and people are a product of their environment and for Harley to be such a gentle giant, I think that shows off what a great owner you are. You have as much right to have your dog at work as she does and she shouldn't try to make you or Harley feel bad about being there.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
@Depeche: Specially designed jaws? They are strong, yes, but so are rotties jaws and mastiffs jaws and the like. What do you mean specially designed jaws, I'm a little confused.
LadyLiLa83 LadyLiLa83 8 years
Aw Smacks, that's a good idea!!
depeche3 depeche3 8 years
I know most pit bulls are sweet with people and dogs. However, you never know when a certain dog can set him/her off. And once a fight starts it is difficult to stop. Also, their specially designed jaws can cause more harm. My dog is great with most dogs except with German Shepherds... something about that breed can set her off. So all I want is for all owners to just keep their dogs (no matter what breed) on leash. Don't assume their dog is one big sweetie.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
I wish my office was pet-friendly! Some pitbulls do make the whole breed look bad. I was walking on a trail with a friend and our dogs once and a pitbull attacked her dog out of nowhere while its owner stood idly by. The owner ended up being arrested. That said, I know there are wonderful pit bulls out there. I would ignore this woman and her dog. Surely, Harley doesn't need all the negative energy coming from those two. smacks, that's an adorable story!
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
Oh, I love Pitbulls!! I know they can be very intelligent, sweet animals. And Harley looks precious!
lelisabeth lelisabeth 8 years
Harley sounds just like my pitt/dachshund mix! She is the biggest scaredy-cat! She is the sweetest lover, but even if I move too fast she jumps 5 feet in the air. She immediately rolls over when people try to pet her or other dogs come up to her. I love their personalities though! My dog LOOKS like a pitt/dachshund, but we found out she has chondrodysplasia (dwarfism), which means she might just be a dwarf pitt! Since she is so small (smaller than a beagle and 2 years old) people don't immediately recognize her as a pitty. that is one of their first guesses though, since she has the pitt head shape and brindle coloring. I feel for you, and Harley, and I hope Harley doesn't take it to heart! They are such sensitive dogs.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Someone in my old neighboorhood use to have this big, black, burly looking male pitt with clipped ears (he was a rescue, previous owners clipped them to make him look scary). That pitt was the biggest loving mushball I've ever met but people wear scared of his looks and one day the owner started putting angel wings on him while out on walks and later would put funny hats or a big pink bow or bunny ears on the pitt and more people wear apt to approach him because he looked a little silly and not so scary.
BloodyFuFu BloodyFuFu 8 years
I get a size difference fear, she is 52 pounds of muscle. Oddly enough Harley is scared of little dogs usually and steers clear of them. This dog is about Harley's size. Harley does get agitated being around the other dog now. I think she has come to expect the barking and me trying to calm her down and it seems almost like she's upset by it. On the days when this dog is in the office Harley doesn't even want to play. I think I've just come to realize that I can't do much about her or her dog and that I just have to make sure everything is good in my own office. Harley is seriously a big chicken! My cat rules the house, and takes a sick joy in stopping Harley from playing inside. The terrier next door scares her so much that she doesn't want to be outside with him. Even a 4 pound teacup Yorkie was dominant over her. She is the silliest, whiniest dog I have ever known.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
greatscott200 I'm the same lol! I take Rosie out for a walk and people literally do cross the street so they don't have to face her! Honestly, I find people either LOVE them or they are un-educated about the breed and are scared or think they are bad.
kia kia 8 years
I shouldn't say you can't change people's minds. Minds can change, but it is hard when people are scared of your dog. Good luck.
Spiderlove Spiderlove 8 years
Ok, so your screen name is "Bloody FuFu", and you have a pitbull... maybe the coworker has some legit reasons to be afraid! (kidding!) Also, is her dog a small breed? Because while I myself wouldn't automatically judge your dog if I met her (as in, on my own, I'd pet her and play with her no prob), I wouldn't let MY dog play with her, as my dog weighs 3 lbs and playing with a dog the size of yours even accidental trouble can ensue. Just my thoughts...
kia kia 8 years
Ugh, I am sorry for you having to go through this. My husband and I recently agonized for over a month about a sweet bully breed we fell in love with at the animal shelter. The stigma placed on the dogs, city-specific laws against them, some experiences two girlfriends have had with bogus lawsuits against them for owning such pets, and home insurance issues prompted us not to get her. These dogs can be amazing, are the most decorated dog out of any other breed in the military, etc. Despite all that there is still a lot of ignorance about bully breeds and I feel bad that your dog is stigmatized. I knew if we got our dog I wouldn't be able to take her to the dog park or off leash in open spaces. If anything went down between dogs within a small distance away from her, I would be scared she would get blamed. You can't change people's minds about this breed once they have their mind made up.
greatscott200 greatscott200 8 years
I have a staf bull terrier. So she's not even full pitt and when I jog her some people literally cross the street to avoid us. She is so friendly, she was a rescue. It is difficult, and people just believe what they hear. I would talk to the other dog owner and explain that Harley deserves a change to prove that she is a good, not aggressive dog.
wren1 wren1 8 years
What about directly saying "I know Pitbulls can have the reputation of being aggressive, but they're not all like that, including Harley. She's very sweet with other dogs and people" :shrug:
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
ugg i feel your pain. I have a 10 month old pittie and people run away scared from her - and she's a PUPPY and very small for her age. Basiclly, you just gotta live with it. You chose that breed, and unfourtunatly that is the sterotype that goes with it. Just continue on with your life and make sure your pup can be the best ambassador dog out there! My parents were SO against me getting a pitbull, but they LOVE her now. They know that they are not all bad and that she is just as good and lovable as the lab next door :)
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