Dear PoPville – Anyone Ever See a Dog Swinging from Tree to Strengthen its Jaw?

Photo by PoPville flickr user maria jpeg

“Dear PoPville,

I was walking past the park at the intersection of Sherman and Park and I saw a dog (probably a pit bull) swinging from a tree while a teenager/young adult was sitting next to it with headphones watching passively. The dog seemed to be biting a short rope tied to a branch so that it was hanging by its mouth as it swung around in the air. A police officer on a segway came, said something to the effect of “move along now,” the guy with the headphones released the dog from the rope and all went on their way.

My first thought was “WTF?” and my second thought was that the guy might have been using the rope as a way to strengthen the dog’s jaws and neck, likely training it for dogfights. That was just a guess though- I have no idea what it was about; the police officer didn’t seem too bothered by what was going on and the dog even seemed upset that it couldn’t swing anymore.

Any ideas?”

64 Comment

  • Training for dogfighting 100%.

  • maybe the dog was just having a swing for some fun

  • Not every pitbull is being trained for dog fighting. I have a friend whose pit loves climbing trees, and he bites on to branches or ropes tied to the tree and pulls himself up. Could have just been playing around.

  • I’ve heard of dogs doing this for fun. Ever played with a pull toy with a dog? They like that kind of stuff.

  • OMG, my dog does the same thing when I leave her tied up outside The Diner in Adam’s Morgan!!!

  • That boy and dog are there every few days recently. This isn’t a one time event.

  • It is a way to strengthen the dogs jaws and neck.

    It may or may not be for dog fighting purposes. Exercise is good for dogs as well as humans. Its a lazy way to play “tug of war” with a crazy strong dog..

  • Now, if only a police officer on a segway would come on this thread with a gentle “move along, nothing to see here”

  • Most pits love nothing more than jumping and tugging. What you saw was likely an improvised “spring pole” (google it), which is used for training and exercising dogs. Like you said, it can also be used with bad intentions to make the dogs stronger, but that isn’t always the case. If you look online, there are plenty of pit rescue groups who recommend spring poles and teach owners how to make them because the dogs really love playing with them.
    So, was this particular dog a fighter? I dunno. Maybe he was or maybe the kid was just trying to provide his dog some fun and exercise.

    • yeah… the image search clearly illustrates small and charming dogs utilizing this “exercise.” Lots of poodles and the like.

      Or in reality, you will see some nice photos of some killing machines.

  • This is a standard practice to increase a dog’s killing power. The technique originated among the Shaolin Monks.

  • Yeah, I have a husky and she loves tug of war. Unlike terriers, her jaws arent strong enough to hold her up for extended periods.

  • You’re right. PoP needs to start running all questions by you to determine their worth and relevance to his blog.

      • Dear PoP,

        I noticed this rather odd post today on your blog. Do you think C3PO meant to reply to my post? Don’t you think posters should learn how to use the comment box function before “contributing”? Thoughts?

        • Prince Of Petworth

          Elcal, nobody is forcing you to stay here. On your way now.

          • +1 to the Prince

          • you got dissed by the Pop, on the Pop’s blog…you’re a total douche

          • I know you’re being half-serious, but really PoP? Of all the passive aggressive tete-a-tetes in comments streams on your blog, you single me out? What, because I had the temerity to point out some of the ridiculous crowdsourcing, which I actually enjoy even if just for a laugh? The whole “if you don’t like it don’t read it” response is far too simple. I like this blog, I will continue to read it (unless you continue to “call me out” for harmless comments). I will also continue to make sardonic comments about some of the content, just like everyone else does. Oh, is C3PO somehow related, a friend, a significant other?

          • elcal,
            You did address “Dear PoP.” I’m not sure a response is “singling you out.” Chill.

          • Not good with the sarcasm are you KT? Also, did you notice the Dear PoP higher that failed to elicit a response? If this was about me addressing PoP, it would still be a case of singling out.

  • In other news, dogs also sometimes have been known to chase their tails. They are also capable of licking themselves.

  • In some rural places I’ve seen competitions where dogs jump up and bite ropes and hang for as long as they can. As far as I know (and I knew a few owners of dogs in these competitions), the dogs are pets, not fighting dogs and it sounds like this dog could have been practicing the same technique.

  • Better to be practicing on a rope, than your arm!!

  • This is a myth. First, hanging from rope doesn’t strengthen a dog’s jaw. Anyone who fights dogs and encourages this behavior is dumb.

    Second, pit bulls were originally bred to pull beaten animals used for fighting out of a ring. Pulling is something that pit bulls enjoy immensely. People who own pits or know pits know that they enjoy pulling over almost any activity. There are competitions out there for pit bull pulling. If you google, you find them.

    Third, pit bulls have also, until recently, been bred for the quality of game. If you see pit bulls exhibiting this hanging behavior more than other dogs, it’s because they’re bred for a stick-to-it-iveness that other dogs aren’t. You can like game as a trait or not, and I’m not saying it’s a good thing to breed for. But certain pit bulls, especially those registered with the ADBA, exhibit game more than other breeds (with the exception of a couple other terriers). This behavior is most obvious when you play catch around a really gamey dog. The dog won’t take its eyes off the ball. If you challenge a pit to hang onto a rope, it’s going to try to hang on as long as possible, because that’s what it was bred to do. And it’ll like it.

    • Genuine question, how does a dog hanging on a rope by its teeth and jaws not strengthen it?

      • The muscles exercised when a dog hangs from a rope aren’t the ones that are going to be useful in a dog fight.

        These idiots who train pit bulls to fight usually just abuse them to make them vicious and the actual fighting takes care of itself. But if they were going to exercise them to be more effective fighters, they’d concentrate on teaching their dog to roll the other dog — ie, to get it on its back and pin it. That’s how a pit bull wins a dog fight, and not by having a stronger jaw. If a pit is in a position to bite down, it’s already won the fight.

        Attitudes towards these dogs have changed considerably in just a few years because people are coming to realize that any dog can be made vicious. In the 80s, it was Dobermans. Today it’s pit bulls simply because it’s in fashion for thugs to own them and abuse them. In 20 years, it’ll be a different dog, unfortunately.

  • andy

    if they make another Rocky movie maybe they can include Rocky pulling a rope tied to something with his teeth in the triumphal training montage.

  • This isn’t for fight training…I have a pit and we do this all the time. Pits enjoy exercising their jaws, upper back and neck and this is a great way for them to do that (weather it actually exercises them or not is irrelevant, they have fun doing it). I also use dog toys and ropes to play tug with him as I lift him up off the ground. These exercises don’t encourage any fighting instincts…a well exercised, physically fit pitbull won’t be prone to fighting unless he’s been emotionally conditioned to fight.

    Just because these same exercises could be used by dog fighters means nothing. If you wanted the strength to snap a persons neck you could lift weights to build muscles and do so…but if you genuinely wanted to be in shape you wouldn’t deserve the same ill feelings as one who does so for the wrong reasons.

    Don’t fool yourself, the negative attitude towards pits is racial discrimination. It the same logic used to discriminate human races and it’s naively justified too. If this had been a Golden Retriever or a Boston Terrier people wouldn’t care.

    Pitbulls are very strong, energetic dogs who require a different means of raising than other breeds. If properly raised a pitbull can be a very gentle, passive dog…even protective of their loved ones in a concerned, non-violent way.

    • genuine question here…how the fuck are negative attitudes towards pitbulls, racists? what a douchey thing to say

      • Pits are stereotyped like no other pet! Yes part of it is Racially driven, but most of it is not on the pit. You can’t blame the dog if it feels like that oversize rat is about to attack it and it bites the rat dog. Everyone always assumes the worst when they see a Pit or anything similar, yet its usually the little dogs who are the ones who seem to be the aggressive instigators. Most apartments won’t even allow Pits in the building! Its sad that Animal groups allow this to happen, if you’re a TRUE dog lover you should go out your way to protect this bread. My wife and I just bought a home in Petworth. Our son is due this winter and the Pit is coming next Spring. I can’t wait to get my Pit! I’m gonna name her Vick & give her a pretty spiked collar just to spit you dog hatters.

        • Just to let you know, the behavior of a toddler and the behavior of a “rat dog” are the same in Vick’s eyes. I do hope I won’t be hearing about this from Pat Collins or Will Thomas with you being interviewed saying “She was the sweetest thing, never showed any signs of aggression, we never could have expected this to happen.” But it’s okay, you’re a homeowner about to be a parent in Petworth AND will have a pit which will make you doubly cool to your suburban friends and their empty lives.

    • I love little hipsters who think they are cool because they own a kind and gentle pitbull. Even better if it’s a “rescue pitbull.” Real cool until your dog attacks another dog or person. But keep thinking that you are saving a misunderstood breed. Dog breeds are called that for a reason. The dogs have been bred for a specific purpose for generations to have certain traits and characteristics. Pit bulls have been bred to fight by both legitimate breeders and the Michael Vicks of the world. You’ve got as much luck overcoming this with your sensitive love than the owner of a sheepdog has of overcoming their dog’s natural herding instinct. I just hope me, my dog, or my family aren’t near when you get your wake-up call.

      Having a pitbull hanging from a rope in a tree may not make them a better fighter but I guarantee that the responsible young owner thinks it does and that’s why he was doing it.

  • I used to play the same game with my dog. Now granted, I have major street cred, but really, dogs like tuggies.

  • That picture is eerie! It looks straight out of a movie set.

  • When I was growing up, there was a Jack Russell terrier up the street who would sink his teeth into a small tree’s branches and hang from it on a daily basis. He ended up killing the tree. And a neighborhood cat, actually. Dogfighting, not so much.

  • My sister has a grey pit with blue eyes really nice looking dog. She got her shortly after my niece was born, the dog at the time was 8 weeks old. Only 2 months after my niece was born. Blue (the pits name) is a really fun dog, she was trained for almost 8 months and does anything my 100lb sister says. She was even good with my baby niece, never was there a time that Blue acted aggressively towards the baby or any other dogs. At family summer cookouts everyone brings their dogs and they all get along just fine. Then one day this soccer mom thought it was appropriate for her to walk her lil sh!t dog without a leash. Well the lil sh!t dog ran up to my sister house and to the fence and began barking at Blue. Blue come to the fence and naturally barked back, then my sister came out and yelled told the soccer mom to put her dog on a leash and off her property. Nothing happened but I will bet my lucrative pay check that if Blue was the dog that did that she would have been put down. That was 4 years ago, now my niece is almost 5 and Blue adores her! Pits are NOT any more aggressive than the 5lb dog that thinks its Supman! Dog discrimination is a joke!

    • Great story. One dog barked at another. Awesome. No dog would have been put down in this situation under any stretch of any imagination.

Comments are closed.