May 21, 2008

Dog bite prevention: "The disease is us."

Here are some easy-to-follow directions for creating a dog that will bite somebody.

1. Don't read up on dog breeds, dog behavior or dog training before you get your dog.

2. Don't get a pit bull or a Rottweiler. Buy a "safe breed."

3. Get your dog from a pet shop, or from a neighbor who bred his untrained, outside dog to make some extra cash.

4. Don't socialize your puppy. The socialization window slams shut at four months, but who has the time to introduce a pup to 100 new people [of every age and aspect] by the time he's twelve weeks or so? Besides, you don't want Scout to be friendly with strangers. You want him to be protective.

5. Don't train your pup. If Scout chews on the furniture or is too stubborn or too damn dumb to be house-trained, you can always just leave him in the yard.

6. Don't worry if Scout runs off and roams the neighborhood. If he gets enough exercise, maybe he won't bark outside your bedroom window all night. It's not like there's a leash law or anything.

7. Find another dog to mate with your first one. Your cousin's next-door-neighbor wants to breed the family pet, and this kind of dog is so popular, you'll have all the pups sold in no time. They're selling for $1200 apiece at the pet shop in the mall, did you see that?

8. Or, you know, you could just give them away in front of the local market. To anybody.


Extensive research and investigation using 40 years of data has conclusively identified the reckless and criminal ownership practices that can cause a dog to become dangerous:


Owners failing to humanely contain, control and maintain their dogs (chained dogs, loose roaming dogs, cases of abuse/neglect), and owners failing to properly supervise interaction between children and dogs.


Owners maintaining dogs for guarding/protection, fighting, intimidation/status, or as yard dogs. Such dogs are resident dogs, not family pets.


Owners failing to spay or neuter animals not used for competition, show, or in a responsible breeding program.
From 2005-2007, increased focus on the negligent and criminal human behaviors has resulted in 31% of owners and/or parents of young victims being criminally charged.

The quotes above, as well as the quote in this post's title, are from Karen Delise, a nationally known authority on dog bites. Her website on dog attacks is remarkably thorough, and thoroughly fascinating. [Mine ain't bad, either ;~) ] The "dog bites" tag on this blog will bring up more information.


A few more facts: most dog-bite victims are young children. Most bites occur at home. In most cases, the dog involved belongs to the family or to friends. The single, most valuable dog-bite prevention measure? Parental supervision of children with the family dog. Over 6,000 Americans are hospitalized each year because of dog bites. The vast majority of those hospitalizations involve "safe breeds."


Tragedy in Texas: loose, untrained, unsocialized dogs kill a seven-year-old. Here's the link. "Four pit bulls," said the Associated Press reporter. Here are screen grabs of one of them:

Looks like a sheepdog mix to me... But it must be a pit bull, because safe breeds never bite — do they?

Dog attacks are a symptom. The disease is us.


Anonymous said...

Good post lots of common sense, which seems to be missing these days in many circles.

Dog bites really aren't that big a deal, overall. Most of them are just little nips. Media just likes to get a fear mongering theme going and stick with it. Today's attempt up here was that 'gardening kills' because a couple of people got tetanus and died. LOLOL I've heard that getting up in the morning can lead to one's eventual demise as well as that breathing is 100% fatal.

Don't misunderstand me. I don't want people to be bitten by dogs because I don't want dogs to be put into the position of having to bite someone. I want everybody to love dogs as much as I do.

I personally think the neutering thing is just an AR mantra because it doesn't change temperament to any noticeable degree - although some studies have shown that it actually has a negative effect on temperament.

When I was a kid way back in the Neolithic, nobody neutered the males, just the females because they didn't want pups. The dogs all seemed fine and that was when people used to let them out to wander around the neighbourhood for an hour or so (mid-town Toronto, not a rural area even then).

I often wonder if all the constraints on dogs are making them more anxious or just making the owners more anxious, which is telegraphed to the dogs.

I will say that there are an awful lot of people who own dogs these days who wouldn't have had them in previous decades, so maybe it's just that too many twits have dogs, are mishandling them, anthropomorphizing them and placing unreasonable expectations on them. They also aren't training their kids properly because they don't have a history with dogs themselves.

There are no unsafe breeds, only unsafe owners. There is a breed for everybody but not every breed is for everybody.

A lot of people would be better off with cats, as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

Love it! Excellent post on owner education 101!

Anonymous said...

I'm so gonna mention this in one of my next post. Good information. My puppy is already a biter. Your tips will help me fix it. thanks!