The incident of dog bites and dog attacks are on the increase worldwide not just in New Zealand. You would think with all the information out there, so to speak, the number of incidents would be decreasing but they are not. Even though children, are top of the list for getting bitten, there are plenty of adults who get chomped on, as well. So what is going on here, why are we having so many problems?
In my opinion, dogs are more social now (which is not a bad thing) than they were say 20-30 years ago, dogs back then, used to stay at home more and didn’t get out and about as much as they do today. When they did go out they knew what was expected of them. People too, were probably more direct and not as PC, as we are today. You would have gotten told, to leave the dog alone or it will bite you and if you were stupid enough not to listen and you got bitten, it was your fault, your responsibility.
Dog owners need to stand up and protect their dogs and not worry so much about the possibility of offending someone. Remember, if someone is offended, its their problem, not yours. Please take time to read: Dog Owners, its OK to say “NO”
The advent of urbanisation, has bought about more people and more dogs living together, in closer proximity to each other and while there maybe a lot of dog owners/lovers out there, there are many more children and adults who have had little or no experience, when it comes to dog interactions. This in itself, can increase the risk, of someone being bitten or attacked.
Even today in our modern world, dogs are happiest when they have rules, boundaries routine and consistency in their lives, as are humans. Unfortunately, today many breeds of dogs have lost the jobs they were bred and born to do, so they may become bored, frustrated and stressed, so their lives have to be enriched in other ways. The same can be said for people, with the advent of technology the industry and work opportunities that were around say 20-30 years ago in a lot of cases, no longer exist today.
Lastly, complacency and a “she”ll be right attitude ” have a big role to play in the increased incidents of dog bites and attacks. Whether you are a dog owner or not, child or adult, the basic rules of dog safety need to be instilled into everyone as does the dog control act. Dog are dogs, not substitute humans, all too often they are put in situations, (whether it be at home or away), we would not put ourselves in, if the roles were reversed, and yet we expect them to behave and be good dogs. They don’t have a voice like you and I, although they do speak to us if we choose to watch and listen. Dogs need you, to do the right thing by them and stop putting them in situations and positions they can’t handle or feel uncomfortable with.
Too often, you hear people say the bite came out of nowhere, Really! what they don’t say, is what happened, prior to the dog bite.
Here are my top 5 easy ways to get bitten by a dog. and no 1 on my list and my favourite, I see this happen a lot and I am surprised more people don’t get bitten or maybe they do and I don’t get to hear about it.
1. People (children and adults) who insist on charging up to a dog, leashed or unleashed, whether they are dog owners or not, (dog owners should know better) and then leaning forward to pat the dog on its head, or better yet cup the dogs face in their hands. Dogs don’t like it! That’s great way to get your face taken off or at least lose some fingers and is always guaranteed to make a bloody mess. As for the poor dog, more often than not, it’s a one way trip to the vet.
2. Lack of supervision. You often hear, you must supervise your dog, when in the company of other adults or children. The word supervision what does it mean? well to many these days, it means just casting a casual glance around to see whats going on while doing something else. Such as talking or texting on the phone, having a family gathering or party, having a coffee or chatting with friends, walking or running your off leash dog and not being aware of where it is or what it is doing, the list is endless.
This is not supervision, there is no room for multi-tasking here, supervision means, having your “eyes wide open” being aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you, watching for signs of stress or distress in your dog, inappropriate behaviour from people (children & adults) or maybe another dog or your dog, If you can’t be watching a 100% of the time, remove the dog from the situation or if necessary the person/people if they won’t listen to you, as it only takes second for something bad to happen.
3. Hugging a dog. Another easy way of getting your face taken off, Dogs don’t really like to be hugged, your own dog may put up with it but someone elses may not. If a dog feels stressed or anxious and can’t get away, it will bite. Don’t be fooled by the Movies and TV portraying “the good family dog” they are often misleading. The dogs you see on these shows are well-trained and have trainers on the set with them.
4. Teasing or Startling a Dog, People don’t like to be teased or startled, and neither do dogs, Being startled can make us jump, in some cases we may shout, or lash out or be genuinely frightened. Dogs are no different in this respect but with them, they are more likely to bite, the bite is a reflex action and not their fault. You can say the same about teasing, who likes to be teased, I personally don’t know of anyone who does. So why for some, is it ok to tease a dog, Teasing unfortunately isn’t just a child’s pastime, plenty of adults do it as well. A dog can become stressed and distressed by continuous teasing and you wonder why its behaviour changes and it lashes out, the same can and does happen with people.
Whether you are a dog owner or not, child or adult, this is not acceptable behaviour and if someone gets bitten, it’s really not the dogs fault.
5. Ignoring a dogs warning signals, Dog do talk to us, if we choose to listen and observe. Whether you are a dog owner or not, people need to learn and understand what they are trying to tell us, Dog owners especially need to know, so they can teach others how to act and behave because like people, they can only take so much, before they snap.