Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,968 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The National Canine Research Council has released a great article titled 'A Dog's Eye View For Dog Bite Prevention.'

A Dog's Eye View For Dog Bite Prevention

Reports of dog bites by public health agencies have fallen to historic lows across the United States. Even the U.S. Postal Service has seen a nationwide decline in bites to its letter carriers, from over seven thousand in 1983, to less than three thousand five hundred in 2007. The National Canine Research Council says that when we see ourselves through our dog's eyes, the number of these already infrequent incidents will fall even further.

It is clear that our desire for companionship with dogs is strong. Dog ownership in America has increased significantly since the 1980's. The American Pet Products Association estimates that there are now 74+ million dogs in the United States. Forty percent of all American households have at least one dog living either inside the home or elsewhere on the premises. Household spending on pet products has continued to rise, according to the APPA, even during the current recession.
Dogs can give unconditional affection. They are safe to confide in and pleasing to the eye. They make us laugh and help us relax.
Do we do enough to support their adjustment to our busy lives?

"Often we do nothing, or we do inappropriate things," says Karen Delise, Director of NCRC Research. "We purchase or adopt a dog and expect them to automatically adjust to our chaotic life, while failing to recognize that dogs need guidance, attention and affection. Without our assistance our canine companions may have a difficult time meeting our expectations and can become stressed and confused"

Some studies of dog bite incidents draw a distinction between bites that are 'provoked' and those that are 'unprovoked'. A review of the literature reveals that there is little agreement as to how to define these two terms. Delise and others suggest that attempting to draw a distinction based on those terms may be misleading.

"My research and investigation into 45 years of incidents of dog bite injuries has convinced me that a situation we understand as non-threatening, may be perceived quite differently by our dog," says Delise. "When we say a bite is 'unprovoked,' we mean 'I do not understand why the dog reacted as he did.'."

Dogs are incredibly tolerant of humans and usually communicate their stress, fear or discomfort without biting. Their level of stress can reach the point where there is a nip or single bite. Serious attacks by dogs are rare and are usually the end result of a series of problematic human and canine behaviors.

The overwhelming majority of dog owners consider their dogs members of the family. The NCRC recommends that, not only should we train our dogs in what we expect from them, we should return the favor of a dog's companionship by seeing things from his point of view. Get to know your dog, spend time with him, train him, stimulate and exercise him, and develop a bond with him. In situations that may be unfamiliar, keep control of him and try to understand his reactions.

Good sense advice for dog owners is readily available. The NCRC recommends that dog owners take advantage of the resources available in their community to improve the quality of their dog's life, and of their life with their dog.
More info about the NCRC is here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
I really enjoyed reading that. It's definitely food for thought.

I would like to share my own thoughts on this topic.

I don't think that most dog bites are unprovoked. I think that in the dog's mind, the human did something innapropriate. That is, unless they go into rages, like some pointer and spaniel breeds do.

I think the problem could be broken down in two ways:

1) the human does not know how to interpret what the dog is "saying" by body language
2) the dog is not communicating properly or giving off perceptible warning signals before biting

I think that probably most fall into catagory 1. Most people just don't know how to read dogs. It's astounding how many threads I read on this forum where the poster will say, " I could tell my dog was uncomfortable, but the other person wouldn't listen!"

OR it's one of those situations where an owner is trying to convince one of our members that "my dog doesn't bite" or "he really does love other dogs!" when it's obvious that the owner of the animal is totally misreading the dog's signals.

There are some breeds I've encountered that you can't tell what they're thinking- Chow Chows are one of them. They just don't give warning signals like other dogs do for some reason.

Usually, it's some "wiring" problem in the dog when the proper signals just aren't there- like something went wrong in the socialization or breeding or something.

How do you all feel about this topic?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,290 Posts
I believe I agree with you Sammgirl; A lot of people claim that they did nothing and received a bite; And I believe in most cases they did do something, so subtle, that they didn't think twice about it, but the dog decided to say "Hey, watchit Bub!"

I agree that a lot of dogs have the tendency to skip the warning signals and just bite; I think that when Donatello snapped at the girl the other day, she was in his face, he was pressured from the other kids and he wanted everyone to back up- So he snapped, he didn't figure there was any other way to tell them- And I have to agree... But if he would have had a happy-puppyhood, things would probably be different and he wouldn't care if a million people were in his face and petting on him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
246 Posts
We know this because we're dog people.

But imagine being around horses. Horses develop close bonds with humans, just like dogs. I suspect they communicate their stress too.

But I'd say the horse kicked me for no reason...simply because I don't know the signs.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top