“Vicious Dog” Actually Loving and Friendly

Officer responding to call receives pleasant surprise
By Karen B. London PhD, May 2018

When Officer Frost responded to a call about a “vicious Pit Bull”, he was understandably cautious. He pulled up to the house and left his car door open just in case he needed to return to it in a hurry. The dog was relaxing on the porch of the people who had made the call. Right away, the officer suspected that the dog was not a scary, mean or aggressive dog. He whistled at the dog, who trotted over looking cheerful and relaxed with a happy tail wag.

Frost began petting the dog, whose name is Gold. After a minute of petting, Gold hopped into the patrol car and settled in. The officer took a few pictures of his new buddy while they hung out and waited for an animal control officer to arrive.

Gold was reunited with his guardians 24 hours later, thanks to his microchip. The family might have found their dog even more quickly, except their contact information had not been updated in the microchip database.

Obviously, police officers need to be wary of dogs that they don’t know, just like everyone else. Just as obviously, it’s not a good idea to assume that a dog is vicious just because he looks like a Pit Bull or any other bully breed. Gold is a sweet, loving dog and perfectly sociable. He had an adventurous and possibly stressful day, including a night at a shelter until it was possible to track down his guardians, who came immediately to retrieve him. Thanks to Officer Frost’s good read on the situation and his openness to the possibility that Gold could be friendly, the situation didn’t develop into anything more serious.



photo courtesy of Texarkana Texas Police Department

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life