It takes time, dedication and a financial commitment to train your dog, but does all that effort translate into a safer pet? Most pet owners think so, and they're willing to do what it takes to make sure their dog is well-trained.
In fact, pet owners are so convinced raising a safe dog is linked to training, they say any dog can be safe if it's well trained, including pit bulls and Rottweilers. In a recent Associated Press-Petside.com poll, 71 percent of people questioned say any breed can be safe if trained properly. That's compared to just 28 percent who believe some breeds are too dangerous no matter how good the training.
The percentages become a bit more narrow when talking about whether certain dogs should be allowed to live in residential areas. In the survey, 60 percent of pet owners feel all breeds should be allowed in residential communities, while 38 percent think some dogs should be banned altogether.
Of those who support a ban, 85 percent would outlaw pit bulls. Other breeds on the unwanted list include Rottweilers, Dobermans, German shepherds and chow chows.
When asked just about pit bulls specifically, 53 percent of those polled say they are safe for residential neighborhoods, but 43 percent think they are too dangerous.
Those who work with these breeds of dogs have plenty to say about the issue. Justine Kreso, a volunteer with BrightStar German Shepherd Rescue and Cayuga Dog Rescue, opposes a ban on certain dogs. She says while genetics are a factor, training and socialization are key to making sure dogs turn out safe. Depending on the environment they're are raised in, Kreso told CNY Central by phone today, any dog can bite, even Labradors which are widely thought of as safe, family animals. Kreso says it's incumbent upon pet owners to get their dogs trained and not put them in uncomfortable situations or train them to be aggressive.
There is no doubt that dangerous dogs are a problem in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and one in five require medical attention.
Click here to learn ways to prevent dog bites.
The CDC says young children, adult men and people with dogs in their homes are the most at risk for dog bites. Click here for safety tips for children.
But the question brought to light by this recent survey is whether training can prevent dogs from becoming aggressive.
Chuck Mullane of Minoa thinks training is key. "I don't think dogs are inherently dangerous...I think inbreeding and tortuous handling makes them extremely dangerous. Any dog can be safely trained. If you, the owner, is in charge and not the dog, the dog will be fine."
What do you think? Are certain breeds simply too dangerous to live in residential neighborhoods? Do you think any dog can be trained to behave and be safe, or do you think some breeds are inherently more dangerous than others? Should local towns and villages ban certain dogs, or do you think they would be overstepping their boundaries? Leave your thoughts below.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.