Crops & Chains...and Something To Think About

Please note:  I am not promoting cropping or chaining.  I am simply giving

the reader something to think about before judging so quickly.

Crops?

Most everybody you know thinks that a dog with cropped ears is used for fighting.  They'll tell you that they crop the ears short so that the other dog can't get a hold of it's ear during a fight.

 

But, this simply isn't true.  Of course, I'm sure there are some low-lifes that crop ears for that very reason, but cropping a dogs ears is mostly a personal preference.  Over the many years we've owned pit bulls, we've had only a few with cropped ears.  When we first were introduced to the breed, we - along with many newcomers - thought that a pit bull was supposed to have cropped ears and a docked tail.  It didn't take long for us to realize we were sorely misinformed.  

 

When we had our dogs ears cropped, we preferred what they call the 'Roho' cut - shorter, but not cut off like some of the dogs you see these days.   What we quickly realized was that a dog with cropped ears is prone to more infections and most definitely needs more preventive maintenance than dogs with natural ears.

 

Also, from our extensive research on the breed and it's background, we learned about the myth that dog fighters preferred dogs with cropped ears... This, again, is simply based on personal preference.  A dog with cropped ears is more likely to be fanged in its ear drum; just as a dog with natural ears is more likely to be 'led about' by its ears.  For every 'valid' reason a dog fighter would prefer one cut over the other, there's another 'valid' reason why they would not. 

 

 

But Chains?

Some challenge that pit bulls are kept on chains to make them mean. The APBT is often kept on a chain, but not always. The problem is that these dogs are capable of leaping or climbing tall fences. Since it is essential that a pit bull not run loose, a fool-proof method of keeping him confined is needed. A chain is an economical way to do it. It most assuredly does not make a dog mean. 

 

When we bred dogs, the majority of ours were kept outdoors, on a chain. However, they were on 12' chains - giving them a 24' radius.  They had adequate shelter, food, water, etc.  And we spent as much time with them as we do with our house dogs, now.  Interestingly enough - they were much healthier, too.  When we first started the rescue, we originally thought it was to rehabilitate one to two dogs at a time.  Our first call was for 6 dogs.  And it grew, rather quickly, from there.  For a few months, several of our rescues were on chains, and not in kennels.  

 

Now, every dog at our rescue has its own kennel, so don't get in an uproar... But I will also say that we've had dogs in our rescue that, while in a kennel, would act out more than when on a chain.  And we've also noticed that dogs we have had in the house are more protective of us.  In our experience, the dogs that are kept in kennels, crates, etc. are more apt to defend their 'territory' than dogs on chains.

 

In our many, many years with pit bulls, we have also learned that kennels, chain link fences, wooden privacy fences, wire or plastic crates - none of them are pit bull proof.  We've had 3 month old puppies clear a 6' fence, flat-footed. We've had a nursing female chew out, in, out, in, out, and back in to a chain link kennel (we watched it unfold on surveillance video).  We've had a dog chew down wooden fence boards (and several commercial dog houses).  We've had dogs bust out of wire and plastic crates like there was nothing there...  And, yes, we've had dogs untwist the c-link or even un-snap the swivel snaps!

 

The point is that all dogs that are chained are not unloved (although, of course, some are).  Most dogs that are chained are actually safer than dogs that are running loose, inside fences, or even kept indoors (and let out to do their business and run off).  So - don't be so quick to judge.  The owner could be a sorry POS, but it could also be someone that has tried everything else, and for the safety of their dog - they are chained.  While I do not think that this is the ideal solution, it is their solution.  

 

I will also say that up until about a year ago, I was NOT a fan of crating a dog.  I still do not feel this is a better solution than chaining a dog - for long periods of time...  I'm talking about those that keep their dog in a crate all day, let it out to potty, pet it for a few seconds, and then put it back in the crate...  That's no life for a dog.  

 

However, our indoor dogs are crated while we are at work.  Once we get home - they are let out and don't go back in (at our request) until we leave to go to work the next day.  Our indoor dogs used to stay in a back room while we were gone, but (imagine this) - after tearing up walls, doors, 'fixed' doors, and finally squeezing through the top and hurting themselves, we started crating them. Much to my surprise, they will often go into their crates to grab a quick nap or chew on a favorite treat, even while we are lounging on the couches....

 

In Summary...

Cropped (or un-cropped) ears does not a fighter make...

 

The idea that a chain makes a dog mean is a public misconception that confuses cause with effect. If a dog is mean, he is more likely to be chained; hence, more dogs that are chained are mean –– but the chains didn’t make them that way.  And - a chain is definitely not the ideal situation for a dog - but, really, what is?

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