Unethical Website Of The Month: Reality Dive

The Pitbull is amused. He's a good sport.

The Pitbull is amused. He’s a good sport.

One should know that this is a really incompetent website. The title can be read multiple ways, one of which is self-indicting (and as it happens, accurate). The motto is just stupid: “The Truth As It Was Meant To be Heard.” Funny, I didn’t hear anything. And what I read wasn’t true.

I kept seeing a featured link to the Reality Dive’s slideshow, “The Most Incredibly Dangerous Dogs” on legitimate sites that should know better. Ethics Tip to these “sponsoring” sites: posting links to low-life outposts like Reality Dive undermines trust in your own site. You’re vouching for this crap.

I will remember.

Finally, I had to click. Sure enough, the title advertised was clickbait, aka a lie. The feature wasn’t even titled “The Most Incredibly Dangerous Dogs.” It was titled “Most Dangerous Dog Breeds” ( Most Dangerous Dog Breeds what?) The text of this mess indicated, if one thought about it, that the most dangerous dog breeds aren’t dangerous at all. Even that doesn’t plumb the sheer incompetence and misrepresentation on display in the slide show.

But first, a comment.  Many people, an amazing number, are stone ignorant about dogs. Never mind that dogs are all around us, work for us, play with amuse us, love us, help us, make us laugh and protect us, there are millions and millions of people who, out of phobias, traumas, negligent upbringing or just inattention, go through life regarding dogs as mysterious, sinister, untrustworthy, hairy noisy drooling things with sharp teeth to be feared and avoided. I feel sorry for them, but as with all ignorant people, I don’t feel too sorry. This condition is fixable, curable, but most of these dog-dummies choose instead to infect others with their malady, which is communicable. Worst of all are The Smugly Ignorant Who Think They Are Not, who actively work to create more people like them. I flagged one of the vile offspring of such Typhoid Marys of dog-hate in an earlier Unethical Website, Dogsbite.org.

Whether features like “Neat Pictures Of Dogs Pulled From The Internet With Meandering And Mostly False Text That Supposedly Explains Why They Are Dangerous But Doesn’t Because The Slideshow Was Created And Authored By a 16-Year-Old Intern From Madam Louisa’s Home For The Bewildered”—okay, that’s what it should have been called—are more or less ethical than the canine-breedists whose propaganda kills thousands of innocent animals every year is a good question. Reality Dives doesn’t care about dogs, one way or the other, just clicks. It assigned this feature to someone whom I seriously question whether he or she could tell a dog from writing desk. Nevertheless, these posts spread ignorance and fear, and set up people to think like the creators of Dogsbite.org.

Now let’s examine the slideshow a bit.

Numero Uno of the “dangerous breeds” is, you guessed it, the American Pit Bull Terrier. The writer  picked the most sinister picture he could find of the breed once called “The Nanny Dog” for its wonderful way with kids (still true, you know):

pitbull-1

 

I found the site he took it from: interestingly, it is a website that celebrates what great dogs these are. This picture on that site also could have been used, but that wouldn’t support the “narrative’:

nanny-dog

Actually, neither does the text, which reads,

“The American Pitbull Terrier has a dangerous reputation. They have long been used in the illegal sport of dogfighting, and are desired for their bite strength, and pain tolerance. While these dogs can be very dangerous, a properly raised Pitbull can be a very friendly family pet or farm dog.”

Translation: This dog has a bad reputation, which being on this list will continue. In fact, the breed isn’t dangerous at all, unless it has been abused or trained to be aggressive. But that is true of all dogs. People, too.

Astoundingly, this is one of the best narratives in the slide show. The worst? Tough choice, but I think the description that accompanies this photo wins:

 

mastiff

The photo is under the heading “BULL MASTIFF.” That is not a bullmastiff. The photo is of an English Mastiff (I owned one, Patience, for 7  glorious years), a different breed entirely. This is a bullmastiff:

bullmastiff

A bullmastiff isn’t a dangerous dog either, but here is the completely confused text allegedly describing the breed, with my corrections in bold:

“The Bull Mastiff is widely considered as the world’s largest dog breed….

[ NO, you idiot, the English Mastiff IS the world’s largest dog breed.]

Slightly resembling a bear,

[ WHAT? The classic comparison is that English Mastiffs evoke lions. Some people think the Newfoundland, a closely related breed, resembles bears—

newfoundland

—but not bullmastiffs or English Mastiffs.]

…this 200 pound monster is capable of tearing down an average wooden fence. 

[As am I.  All large breeds are capable of lots of things (and pugs are capable of biting your nose off while you sleep) but as both bullmastiffs and English Mastiffs are calm, smart, very trainable dogs, they are unlikely to be destructive in any way.] 

If you are caught face to face with this monster, I’d suggest putting some steel between the dog and yourself.

[I’d suggest bending down (slightly) and getting the best face-lick of your life. Anyone with a sliver of experience with English Mastiffs knows that you are in more peril from a Cocker Spaniel. These are renowned as the most gentle, sweet-tempered, loving dogs on the planet—maybe the sweetest of all animals, period.  Libeling either an English Mastiff or a bullmastiff a “monster” is outrageous fear-mongering.]

The rest of the descriptions at least describe the dogs they are supposed todescribe, but that “dangerous” theme seems elusive, while The Stupid is strong. For example,

“Great Danes are one of the worlds largest dog breeds, which plays a very large role in how dangerous they are. Because these dogs can grow to weigh over 175 pounds, they are naturally very strong animals. A dog as big as a person can undoubtedly do damage to a human.”

Like by falling on you, I guess. Great Danes are almost as easy going and gentle as Mastiffs. If “big” is being equated to “dangerous,” why is the Great Dane on the list, but the Irish Wolfhound, Scottish Elkhound, Tibetan Mastiff, Great Pyrenese, Burnese Mountain Dog aren’t? Easy: the author doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about, and doesn’t even know how to use Google.

 

20 Comments

Filed under Animals, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, The Internet, Unethical Websites

20 responses to “Unethical Website Of The Month: Reality Dive

  1. dragin_dragon

    Thank you for this one. Dogs are a lot like children…they are only as good (or bad) as the people who train them. If a dog s taught that he needs to fight every minute of his life in order to survive, likely he will grow up vicious. I will save the political aspersion I was going to add until someone else turns this post into a political discussion.

  2. John Billingsley

    Gee, looks like they missed German Shepherds. I had one I acquired from my sister-in-law who bred them specifically for Schutzhund. I never had her trained for that sport but she took naturally to guarding my children who were born after I had her. She didn’t particularly like them close to her when they were infants and would move to keep her distance but always kept them in sight. I once came up on her unaware in that situation and until she recognized me and did that “aw shucks” submissive posture I was truly frightened by the guard stance she took. I believe that if anyone had tried to harm my children, or any of the family, it would be the last time they had the capacity to attempt to harm anyone. Outside of that situation, she was a playful and gentle dog including with properly introduced strangers. The English Springer Spaniel we had at the same time let the kids climb all over him but I think he would have led a burglar to the valuables.

    • Favorite German Shepherd story: my thesis advisor was worried about his wife taking walks in a rustic area alone, so they trained their GS to attack strangers on command. My advisor dressed, with padding, as an attacker, and they finally trained her to attack “the attacker” on the wife’s command. Or so they thought. When my advisor was walking the dog, a mugger stopped him with a small knife and demanded his wallet. My advisor gave the attack command and his dog turned and attacked HIM, like always.

      The mugger was so confused he gave up and left. So it worked!

    • My GSD can do a remarkable impression of an untrained dog, but he refuses to move if we come upon an untended child or dog until he places it with the person responsible for it. He barks at nearly every person he sees and will make an outlandish play display toward big dogs, but approaches any dog less than half his size (including crazy puppies) in silence, tail gently wagging.

  3. Carcarwhite

    I find sites like that more and more. Amazes me people share that stuff.

    We raised German Shepherds, Pit bulls, Doberman Pinschers, and Springer spaniels growing up. All breeds were very friendly.

    Was a great experience living with puppies a few times a year!

    All breeds were loving and wonderful.

    Amazing to think all our dog breeds happened in only a couple hundred years.

  4. Spartan

    I really want an Irish Wolfhound — perhaps when I retire and move to the country …

    • My father’s dream dog. Have you ever spent time with one? I cast one in “King Lear,” and there was never a more placid, soulful, beautiful dog. They have such short lives, like Mastiffs, even a little shorter.

    • Pennagain

      My neighbors had an Irish Wolfhound puppy whose long legs couldn’t manage the steep narrow stairways of an old San Franciscan Victorian they’d inherited. They both had jobs they loved and a lifestyle that suited them perfectly. They sold the house and moved north to a small town chosen because it was adjacent to the off-leash beachfront of Mad River County National Park. Last heard from was a Christmas card photo featuring a grown up Wolfie, one of her puppies, a “rescue” Doberman, and their twin humans (sort of in the background).

  5. Chase Davidson

    Great Danes will slap you but that’s about it. Sometimes I think dogs are the smart ones.

  6. Rich in CT

    I love pit bulls. I spent the night at a friend’s house once, and had a big knuckle-headed one think it was a lap dog.

  7. Carcarwhite

    I have 2 sweet stories.

    Our family dog, Chatzee, English Springer Spaniel, would let our cat nurse from her. The cat started partaking when Chatzee had some puppies. After the puppies were weaned, the cat continued. Our friends used to laugh at that. Looking back… was pretty funny.

    Our family Doberman, Bronda, was very protective.

    I was about 13, riding my pony bareback, barefooted, in shorts… it was summertime.

    I had trained my pony to do some tricks like rear up when I would pull its reins a certain way and give her a little kick. I loved to show off doing it.

    One day was doing it so my mom could take photos. I kept trying to get her to rear up, and Bronda ran up barking. I kept trying as Bronda barked, and when my Pennie finally did, Bronda jumped and bit me on the knee while Penny was up standing on her hind legs.

    As soon as she came back down, Bronda started barking again. I was crying thinking I had been attacked. I thought at that moment my friends who told me Dobermans were vicious attack dogs was true.

    I was hysterical and after my dad calmed me down he explained he thought she was trying to get me off the pony because she thought it I was in danger.

    She never had bit anyone before that, or after.

    Dogs are so amazing!

    I have an amazing little dog now, Max, who has predicted earthquakes, (gets very nervous and acts odd about 3-5 minutes before one.) and who will lay next to, or at the foot of the bed/couch of anyone who is sick or even upset. He won’t leave until they are better. Could tell stories about him all day. Best dog we’ve ever had and every friend or family member who meets him wants him. He understands and obeys complex sentences and we got him given to us that way! (When he was A year old)

  8. Paul Compton

    Yeah, I dunno Jack. We’re a Husky household and ‘Hairy’ seems a pretty fair description. We called one ‘Blizzard’!

    Husky’s also talk to you by the way. They form what is quite clearly a structured sentence, then they look at you like you’re an idiot because you don’t answer properly. I suspect they are correct since they can learn a couple of hundred of our words and we can’t learn ANY of theirs.

    I learned a lot about dogs walking down one street going to school. First there was one of those little floor mop dogs (I’m not really into miniatures) that had to walk before you knew which way it was facing. It would run out and scramble up on the three brick high fence, then it would walk along beside me smiling and wagging it’s whole body.

    Next came two Corgies who would try to rip the bars off the front gate so that they could get out to eat me – supposedly.

    Finally a Great Dane that greatly deigned to look down at me as I walked by his nose.

    As for the site that provoked your justifiable rage,the internet is a VERY mixed blessing isn’t it. It’s not alone in that of course.

  9. Wayne

    The only breed I really dislike are chihuahuas. I rarely have encountered one that is well trained and not always yapping. They never should have been allowed to enter the U.S. from Mexico.

  10. Yeah, whoever hires the caption writers for link-bait articles is definitely saving his company tons of money.

    I haven’t read a single link-bait article or link-bait slideshow in which the captions are truly atrocious examples of ‘research’, grammar and composition.

  11. Steve-O-in-NJ

    I personally am not comfortable with large dogs since a neglected one bit me in the face as a child (partly my mom’s fault for not minding a 4yo too closely, partly the owner’s fault for neglecting the dog and letting it wander around the neighborhood unattended) but I appreciate their value as working animals – helping the disabled, search and rescue (including the famous St. Bernards with the brandy barrels), police work, etc. Still, when a neighbor in PA was dumb enough to let his golden off a lead and the dog ran for me, I wouldn’t have hesitated to thwap him with my staff if he leaped for me. Better a bruised dog and angry neighbor than a trip to the ER.

  12. My Border Collie mix kept me safe as a child; From age 5 on I ran the woods and pastures with him. A natural cow dog, he would wait my command to chase cows off our property, and never took a day of training! He protected me from snakes (and took a bite for me) and distracted mean bulls I overlooked in our wanderings while I climbed the fence out of their pastures.

    My kids do not understand how Dad speaks ‘dog’ like I do: rural life and constant exposure develop that skill.

    Our rescue dogs are teaching the kids about responsibility and doggie logic. And our recently adopted kitten thinks she is a dog with climbing skills.

    • Wayne

      The only response I have to this is the phenomena I’ve witnessed recently is the growing tendency for people to buy vests off the internet and pass off their emotional supports dogs for therapy/service dogs. This is unethical and annoying as these animals aren’t properly trained to perform necessary tasks or to behave properly in a public place or the cabin of an airline.

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