Monday, December 8, 2008


I work with people that have to go to a certain type of hearing because their dog got into trouble. Usually the trouble is lack of containment by the owner. Broken fences, doors or gates being left open, improper leash handling or no leash at all are just a few of the situations that can get your dog into trouble.

In rescue I work specifically with Pit Bulls. In my training business I work with all breeds specializing in dog to dog aggression. There is no “safe” breed to just let out and about in the hood. All dogs and all breeds of dogs will get into trouble without guidance and leadership. A common client I work with regarding this issue that get into trouble or are about to are Lab owners! Some folks think, “well he’s a Lab, he loves everyone, he would never do anything wrong”. Huh! Dogs + no management = trouble. This goes for all dogs of any breed. And we’re not talking BAD people here and we’re not talking criminals or bank robbers owning Pit Bulls. I’m talking about all breeds with very wonderful, kind and productive people that own them that think their dog can manage himself outside on his own. Huh, again!

Pit Bulls will often get more press and more blame than other breeds so it’s very important that you keep your dog safe and secure.

This is not a training tip but a life saving tip. Please go in your yards and check your fences. Lean on them and make sure that they safe and secure with no escape holes or places where your dog can dig out under.

Also, don’t leave your dog in the yard unattended he may do the “Great Escape” deal and slowly dig his way out in sections.

Marthina McClay, CPDT

Animal Behavior College Mentor Trainer

Certified Tester/Observer for Therapy Dogs, Inc.

AKC Certified CGC Evaluator


  1. Mary - The REAL Pit BullDecember 8, 2008 at 9:12 AM

    Hear hear!!! Important stuff for owners to consider. If dogs were properly contained, they wouldn't be getting into trouble! It's such a simple concept, yet the impact one way or the other is so profound.

  2. I think what gets scary is that the dog gets blamed. Dogs will be dogs. Good advice.

  3. Great article, Marthina! This is important information to remind people to keep a closer eye on their dogs and their dog's habitat. We all like to think the best of our dogs, but we have to be careful about what could happen when they are off our property or out of our control. Very good advice and with the hectic holiday season it is a good reminder to not forget our furry friends and their needs. Remember, we are all responsible for our dog's actions.

  4. Thanks guys for the comments. You don't have to be a "bad" person for something to happen. We often think of people being generally irresponsible but truly great and generally responsible people can leave a gate open or mishandle a leash. Some of the nicest people have ended up with their dogs in hearings and it's just a matter of paying attention to the environment. You're right, it's not the dog's fault....ever.

  5. There actually ARE already local and state laws in place to keep everyone orderly and safe when it comes to dog management...these laws really just need to be enforced.

    I cannot understand why some people think that these laws don't apply to them, or why they continue to put everyone else in the community at risk. Surely they must see the signs posted at every single entrance to the park that clearly state, "Off leash dogs may be seized and impounded and owners subject to citation."

    Don't they get it that if their dog (regardless of breed) is off leash and provokes another leashed dog or chases after a cat, or a child, etc... that it is THEIR fault if something happens?

    Don't they get that if their dog runs in the path of a child riding a bike or a skateboard, or scooter, and the kid/adult gets hurt, that it is THEIR fault?

    Don't they get that if their dog runs out into the middle of the street, and god forbid, causes an automobile accident, that it is THEIR fault?


    The stakes can be pretty high if anyone's dog causes harm while being uncontained. It really shouldn't have to come to the point of dangerous dog hearings or BSL, when the laws to keep everyone safe are actually already in place. We all just need to abide by them...

  6. I wish others could walk just one mile in your shoes. Your article does a great job of summarizing tons of experiences which go very deep into the effects on others lives when one is not responsible for their own "harmless" pet. It is unfortunate some must learn the hard way. Your article should go a long way in making others aware so they will take the proper percautions for everyones benefit.

  7. I couldn't agree more! We owe it to these guys to make SURE they are successful! And that goes for every single breed - right down to my little ankle biter.

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