One of the most common misconceptions people have is that their own dogs won’t bite. While everybody feels some level of respect for a big, growling dog we are becoming too nonchalant about our own dogs. How confident are you that your dog will never bite anyone?
Do the words – Wouldn’t hurt a fly come to mind? We all think that our own dogs are gentle natured until they prove us otherwise.
Dog owners often claim their dogs are completely comfortable with children. I myself was bitten as a child. It happens often, and even usually mild mannered dogs can snap. Children are a little more vulnerable, and a little snap that wouldn’t injure an adult can have dire consequences for a well-meaning child.
Dogs can inflict potentially life threatening injuries. Luckily my injuries were only superficial. Some corrective surgery and a few years of healing and the physical evidence have all but gone. Many are not as fortunate.
Tragically for the most part, these kinds of bites are completely avoidable. Dogs don’t bite people without provocation right?
Not quite. It’s true it does take some provoking to get a usually mild mannered dog to bite. Tthe triggers aren’t as obvious as you would think.
So why do dogs bite?
Experts still disagree as to whether dogs bite because of human provocation or breeding. While it is indisputable that certain breeds of dogs do bite more than others, it’s also hard to argue with thousands of year’s worth of domestication. People have been trying to breed the aggressive out of the dog for the most part anyway.
There are some human behaviors that can provoke even docile dogs:
-Fiddling with their food: don’t disturb your dog (or any dog) while they are eating.
-Sudden movements can upset dogs, if a strange dog is growling at you its best to back away slowly.
-The old saying let sleeping dogs lie is true. Don’t startle a dog that is sleeping.
-Dogs have a powerful sense of territory, and may become upset when someone unfamiliar threatens their space.
-Don’t try to disrupt a dog fight.
-Dogs have strong maternal instincts and if there are puppies, you should be careful not to startle the mother (or any adult dog the area).
-Dogs can be confused about the cause of their own illness or pain; they might think it was the owner who caused the pain and bite.
-Dogs become afraid just like humans. Any dog can bite if it feels it is in danger.
-All dogs experience some form of possessiveness. Tread carefully if a dog is growling at you, chances are you’re on his turf.
-Looking a dog in the eyes is seen as a challenge of dominance. If a dog is growling at you, lower your eyes and back away slowly.
Preventing dog bites starts with the owner.
If you have a dog, you can reduce the risk that your dog might attack someone with some of these suggestions.
-Have your dog spayed or neutered. Not only does it prevent many kinds of health problems later in life, it drastically reduces the aggression levels in male and female dogs.
-Start socializing your puppy at a young age. Get your puppy used to being in busy and unfamiliar environments as soon as he is vaccinated.
-Invest in some kind of formal training program. This will give you immense faith in your dog and strengthen the relationship between the two of you.
-Take your dog to the vet regularly and make sure all his vaccinations are always up to date. Get your dog licensed and keep up to date on all his paperwork.
-Never let your dog wander freely. Your dog should be contained on your property and you should be able to control his access to the street.
-Know your dog. Never put him in a situation that you know makes him/her uncomfortable. My Cinnamon, is terrified of the sound of bicycles riding past her. When we are on walks and I see a bike rider coming near us, I walk us away from the rider and block her vision so she cannot see the bike.
-Cinnamon also does not like small children. I never, ever leaver her alone with children. If we are going to have children over to the house, Cinnamon is outside while we are inside or vice versa. If we happen to all be in the same room, I sit with Cinnamon and she has her harnass on and I hold a firm grasp on her at all times.
By following these very few and common sense steps you can reduce an attack or bites by a wide margin. Be a responsible owner and start working with your puppy or dog today.