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Positive experiences of owning 'dangerous' breeds please

(32 Posts)
GladysKravitz Mon 01-Aug-16 16:24:06

Please be gentle with me as I am already smarting from an altercation with dm over our new dog.

Ds who is an adult but lives at home has a puppy that is a cross between a Serbian defence dog and a presa canaria. This dog will be our family pet, will be trained and socialised well etc. I will be at home with dog all day and it will be walked by my dh and three adult ds's so will get lots of exercise.

My dm has made me feel very anxious about the situation as she keeps on about it being a banned breed in some countries, will be huge and uncontrollable etc. The rational part of me believes that with obedience training (we have already taught him to sit and not nip or jump up at 7 weeks) careful socialisation and plenty of exercise and firm boundaries he will be a lovely gentle family pet (although huge probably). I have been encouraged by the professor green documentary on dangerous dogs which describes how attacks are down to upbringing rather than breed but I would really love to hear of your positive experiences of owning such a breed and any advice you can offer. This is our first time owning a dog and he is not a breed we would have chosen, but we are determined to make the best of it now and raise him responsibly.

Hoppinggreen Mon 01-Aug-16 16:31:40

Training is the most important bit but I would be questioning what kind of idiot would deliberately cross those breeds. As their motivation probably isn't good I would be concerned about health/behaviour issues as with any puppy bred by unscrupulous people, only problem with your is that if it goes wrong it could be deadly.
He's too young to be away from his mum so that is also a concern.

Hoppinggreen Mon 01-Aug-16 16:33:57

Sorry pressed too soon.
At least your pup has now got responsible owners who will train him so it should turn out ok. Rehoming would be hard and/or dangerous so fingers crossed you can manage.
You really need motherofhellbeasts but I haven't seen her around for a while.

Lilmisskittykat Mon 01-Aug-16 16:35:13

It's all in being a good (and strong) owner. Knowing your breed traits.. We had a husky and understanding their nature and the importance pack plays to them we had the sweetest fluff going (despite looking like a wolf)

I believe what Caesar Milan says There are no bad dogs just bad owners and you don't sound like one...

LilCamper Mon 01-Aug-16 16:35:34

You need to make sure you are using up to date positive reinforcement techniques and none of this alpha/pack leader/dominance crap.

tabulahrasa Mon 01-Aug-16 16:35:42

I doubt you'll get many owners, they're not common breeds...

I'd be a little bit concerned over the fact you've already got it at 7 weeks and not only a week early, but long enough before that that you've already been training it.

LilCamper Mon 01-Aug-16 16:36:18

Cedar Millan is not a person to be trusted about dogs....

Greyhorses Mon 01-Aug-16 16:39:19

I am in two minds about this.

On one hand upbringing is very important however it cannot override genetics. For example my collie has never seen a sheep but he has a strong herding instinct. Dogs are bred with certain characteristics for a reason and some of these make certain breeds more prone to issues especially when raised by an inexperienced owner.

I have a dog from a backyard breeder. Her temprement is horrible. She is aggressive due to a handful of bad experiences that scared her, my other dog has bad things happen and shrugs them off like they are nothing.
I hope yours is of sounder temprement than mine especially at that size smile

I would wonder who would cross that combination and why though and wouldn't have bought the puppy in the first place proberbly.

Missgraeme Mon 01-Aug-16 16:41:28

We have a rottweiler. Read up as a much as u can about the breeds. And make your dh and kids read them too!! Training and socialisation cannot be overdone! Enjoy your dog but remembering it's a dog is important. . I know a woman with 4 obese labradors who sit at the table and eat Sunday lunch off China plates (complete with Yorkshire puddings) have no discipline and she wonders why one bit her so much she had to get a one to one trainer in! U are pack leader (or dh u need to decide and stick to it - feeding for example) l

LyndaNotLinda Mon 01-Aug-16 16:43:57

Aren't they bred for fighting?

LilCamper Mon 01-Aug-16 16:44:26

You do not need to be a dog's pack leader. That is outdated and dangerous bollocks.

Lilmisskittykat Mon 01-Aug-16 16:46:39

So you think Caesar is wrong then ...

There are just bad dogs and it's not the owners fault?

mollie123 Mon 01-Aug-16 16:46:48

looking up the cross for this puppy it looks as if they are similar mastiff-type dogs (had never heard of them before) and it appears they need a strong upbringing and no small children in the family
Personally I prefer fluffy laid-back large dogs - but I am sure with the right training and socialization the pup will be manageable.
OP - just wondered if he will be the only dog ? and how he will be with other dogs.

LilCamper Mon 01-Aug-16 16:49:17

Um yes....genetics and early experiences play a huge part.

SonicSpotlight Mon 01-Aug-16 16:50:32

Good luck. You'll need it.

tabulahrasa Mon 01-Aug-16 16:51:52

"So you think Caesar is wrong then ...

There are just bad dogs and it's not the owners fault?"

It's way more complicated than that, so yes, he's wrong.

Missgraeme Mon 01-Aug-16 16:56:55

I had my rotty before my dh and she only listened to me until dh started feeding the dogs every day. She gained a healthy respect for him and she listens to us both now. Dogs from a puppy are a lot easier to become loyal family members with a lot less problems to deal with.

Lilmisskittykat Mon 01-Aug-16 16:58:35

Though I agree it's in the generic making I don't agree that's the only determine factor in temperament. This is acknowledged in law with it being possible to legally own a pitbull in the uk

It's about leadership and I don't mean 'pack' style just teaching good behaviour from a dog and rewarding and praising for such. Which it sounds like you are doing

I'll admit I don't have vast experience with dog I have only had a husky and currently own a bichon.

Two very different breeds and I know I have let the little one get away with behaviours the husky didn't such as jumping up... Also Huskys recall was excellent cause we read they are prone to bolting so worked hard on this etc. As a result I have ended up with a less trained but still very loving little dog. (Read : diva)

So only from my experience can I say that training and leadership is the biggest key to having a great pet.

GladysKravitz Mon 01-Aug-16 17:08:37

Thank you for the replies. I am on my phone so sorry I can't reply to named posters but will try and answer questions.

I don't think they're bred for fighting as much as for protection, guarding farms etc. Some sources say they make docile, affectionate family pets, others that they are dangerous and not for the first time owner. But they are popular with macho idiots which I think is why they have acquired a bad reputation.

They are the result of an accidental mating and no money changed hands. It is a complicated situation but we agreed to home the mother and other three pups temporarily in return for my son getting his pup for free. So he still sees his mom and siblings daily but is with us most of the time and we hope he gains from this early socialisation- I have the 'perfect puppy' book which advises they leave their mom at six weeks but I know other people advise much later.

The mother (presa) is calm and gentle though wary of strange men (growls) but is dog aggressive. The father has been trained to be a guard dog at a business so is very vicious apparently. I am so hoping our socialisation and training will overcome genetics. He is a lovely boy and we are incredibly bonded to him already, we really will do all we can to make him safe around humans and other dogs. We are going to have him castrated as soon as we can.

I am aware of the 'pack leader' theory being discredited and we watch a lot of Zak George videos rather than Caesar! smile

tabulahrasa Mon 01-Aug-16 17:11:09

Early experiences aren't just about you...other experiences are hugely important and how a dog deals with those can be down to genetics.

Besides, any amount of training may not make up for the fact that the puppy is away from its mother and littermates too early, that will either cause issues or it won't, no amount of training can really change that because the OP isn't a dog.

tabulahrasa Mon 01-Aug-16 17:12:24

That answer was to Lilmisdkittykat btw as I cross posted.

Greyhorses Mon 01-Aug-16 19:36:59

How old is the puppy?

I had my dog from 5 weeks. She was very well socialised. I work in a vets, she met thousands of dogs and people and attended puppy classes from a tiny age.

Her mum was nervous, dad aggressive. She inherited mums temprement. She can't cope with anything even slightly scary without loosing her mind.

This is nothing to do with training or lack of training but genetics combined with one or two bad experiences. A well balanced dog can shrug things off easily, a dog like mine is much harder to deal with.

I wouldn't listen to any of ceaser Milan or any of that pack theory rubbish either, it has been more than disproven and I can guarantee if you went at my dog in the aggressive manner shown in some of the programmes you would be bitten in seconds.
Genetics absolutely plays a massive part in temprements, otherwise how would we breed for the traits we want?

Personally from what you have described with the temprement of the parents, seperated from the bitch early?, combination and breeds and being an inexperienced owner I would say honestly i wouldn't keep this puppy but I do hope it works out for you! If you do decide to carry on I would consult an apdt trainer asap and get some ground work on board just incase.

triballeader Mon 01-Aug-16 19:48:53

My sisters old dog was a legally exempt dog under DDA, my rescue [SBTxEBT] was a bait dog rescued by the police. I had to be approved to have her even though she is not a banned bred.We have between us had Mastiffs and various other rescued bull breeds over the years.

Get the very best third party insurance you can afford. DDA Watch can signpost you to groups who will provide such insurance. My own dog has public liability to the tune of £3m even though her teeth are pegs. Its also worth being proactive and contacting your local Police force and asking if you can talk with the Dog Officer who has responsibility for DDA's & dog welfare. They are normally very happy to help with advice that helps prevent a dog becoming a concern and from experience its better if they know you well before they get complaints from local people who mistake your dog as a banned breed. If a breed is uncertain in a pup they will continue to monitor and temprement check as a dog matures. Full insurance & ongoing training with a KC club, being registered with a vet et al all helps to prove IF you need to go to court that your doing all you can to prevent your dog becoming a concern. My sister contacted the police when she became concerned over the physical characteristics her young rescue pup developed as she grew. A young bull breed needs to learn bite inhibition. NEVER encourage a mastiff to mouth, divert mouthing on to acceptable toys only. I use large black kongs, a big boomer ball and the biggest heavy duty ropes the Range sells. Never leave a bull bred alone with a child esp a big bull even if as soft as anything simply because they tend to be space cadets and knock things and little people over so they can accidently get hurt.

The best thing to do is learn all you can about both Mastiff breeds that make up your dog. My local club accepts Presas' into its KC Good Citizen courses so its worth looking for a local training club who can help with both ongoing socialization and training. You will need to work hard from day one to divert that 'protection' instinct into more socially acceptable forms. The law has changed so a person who thinks your dog is a danger can report them. A good training club can teach you how to socialize your young mastiff safely [every single day] with both a wide range of people and dogs. Some did and still use these breds for fighting but by socializing you will hopefully teach your dog your family has a very wide circle that you interact with. Do not advertise that you have a Presa X in your home. Such dogs can be targeted by serious criminals who will steel such dogs for criminal activities. Having him castrated should make him less attractive to those who would steel him for illegal breeding.

Mastiffs like all bull breeds can be picky over which dogs they like. Never let a large powerful dog to engage in play with small dogs even when no harm is intended a smaller dog can still be acceidently hurt. DO invest in a very strong lead. I invested in a horse lunge line to use as a long line to teach recall. Do teach to walk on a collar and a harness. Do teach bomb proof recall and be very careful where you engage in off lead play.

Encourage and praise soft, gentle and slow behaviours, try and blank out and ignore unwanted. Bull breeds need firm but fair commands and an owner who is kind and willing to give them time and attention to thrive and be happy. My sisters old exempt dog responded better to positive training methods. Dominance theory training bought the less wanted behaviours out. She had to be walked on lead with a baskerville muzzle, she could not stay in kennels, she had to be checked frequently by the police in charge of DDA, the garden had to have some serious fencing put up, she could not enter KC training with other dogs except on a 1:1 basis up to bronze. She was a very much loved pet but adhering to exempt Dog conditions is socially limiting. One last very important note, if at any point with an exempt dog [or a very powerful dog] you suspect they will be a potential danger to others there are far worse things than arranging for a loved pet to be PTS.

Have a look at the DDA watch site here for more info:

GladysKravitz Thu 04-Aug-16 09:23:01

Wow thank you all, I have got a lot of great advice to look through here!

There was a presa canario on dog rescuers this week, he was lovely and friendly and was being promoted for rehoming.

Here is a picture of my lovely boy today smile

Floralnomad Thu 04-Aug-16 09:31:12

He looks very sweet ( and I love the carpet!) , my mum had a mastiff X ridgeback X something else as a pup from Battersea many years ago , he was the most gentle ,laid back dog much more so than the Border Xs that she has now .His only issues were counter surfing and chewing cupboard doors , always the same cupboard and did it even if you were stood next to him .

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