Bailey, I didn't mean people who do take their pits out on walks without a muzzle are by default knowingly irresponsible and horrible. It certainly sounds as though you care about other people's feelings and it also sounds like your dog is, either through training or socialization or whatever, a lovely dog. But it's still true that most pit bulls, if they conform to the breed standard, have the ability to be animal-aggressive without warning. I do think you might want to think about the reality that on sidewalks and jogging trails that most people use to walk their dogs, people, children and other dogs are always "coming at you" and in close quarters, even if they don't want to be. A lead that's only a couple feet long is still plenty long on a sidewalk or trail only four feet wide or less, for example. And it's not their responsibility to make sure anything bad doesn't happen or even that we don't inadvertently scare them, it's ours as dog owners.

I'd also like to point out that these things also protect our dogs from people's fears of them.
Originally Posted by Koukla72
In response to the bolded: if they fear my dog based on the way he looks, I would hope they make a small circle around us, not run straight at us and then get freaked out. My dog won't lunge or growl, so if merely coming into close proximity to him makes them afraid, it is their responsibility to go around. Surely you don't expect me to go two yards off the sidewalk every time I see someone. I'm not a mind reader, so I don't know if what makes them afraid. If I see someone who is obviously acting nervous (holds their child tighter for example), I will go to the side and stop until they pass. I do the same to people on bikes, in this case because bikes scare my dogs. But if somebody is coming towards us, my assumption is that they are ok being near a dog, and my only responsibility is to keep my dog from coming into physical contact with them, which I do. If I did scare someone (which in my 4 years of dog ownership has not happened), I can assure you it's because of their lack of common sense, not mine.
Originally Posted by Bailey422
I for one consider myself to be responsible when it comes to my dog. I respect the fact that some people are scared by big dogs and that they might find them intimidating. If people coming towards me don't cross the street, then I do. If I see children playing in their yard, I cross the street. When I take my dog to the vet, I wait outside until we are called in. I don't try to bring him around little yappy dogs that might excite him because they're growling at him. If someone wants to pet my dog, I warn them that he jumps up. Then I proceed to have him sit and I hold him while they pet him. I don't take him to places that are frequented by other people walking their dogs, and it's not so much that I'm afraid he'll attack another dog, but that another dog will attack him. He's strong dog and if he decides to defend himself, he could potentially kill another dog. I don't want that hanging over my dog OR me. I don't care who caused it. To me that wouldn't be the point.
Originally Posted by Aries_jb
As far as what you're willing to do or not do while you're walking your dog, Bailey, I'm really sorry, but I think the difference in how you feel about what you think is acceptable and, just for example, Aries_jb's post a couple pages back about how she acts when she's out in public with her dog, kind of makes my point for me. Do you think she's misguided or foolish to take those measures to be considerate of other people, and to protect her own dog from others? Because I don't. People who hold up examples of their own wonderful dogs as anecdotal evidence that extra precautions needn't be taken in general are the ones that are misguided, IMO. I also don't think of the known history of a breed's breeding purposes as "fearful propaganda".

I think if you have a dog, especially a large dog of any breed (German Shepherds, too) but particularly a breed that's developed a bad reputation (unfounded or not), you have certain responsibilities to society and the dog itself. As aries_jb, and 2Happy, and I pointed out, it's just as much for the dogs' sakes as for the other person's. It's definitely a pain, it's definitely unjust, and it's definitely frustrating. Unfortunately that doesn't matter in the real world, and I still think that someone who doesn't acknowledge that and act accordingly is acting is some way very irresponsibly. And, come to think of it, rudely.

As my Dad sometimes says, if I have to choose, I'd rather do right, than be right.