People who want to do away with street dogs are usually scared of being bitten and are taking what they think is pre-emptive action by having them killed. But did you know that 60-70 per cent of all dog bites in the world are from pet dogs. America has no stray dogs that you can see, yet 77 per cent of all their yearly 3 million dog bites come from dogs that belong to the person’s family or friends. In fact 61 per cent happen at home. Here are some more statistics from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta : The average age of the bitten is 15 years, with children, especially boys aged 5 to 9 years, having the highest incidence rate. 66 per cent of the bitten will be children, mainly male. Severe injuries occur almost exclusively in children less than 10 years of age and when the child is less than 4 years old the attack almost always happens the family home (90 per cent). There is an 8 out of 10 chance that a biting dog is male. There is an 80 per cent chance that a biting dog has not been spayed. Most dog bites are administered by small dogs.
What does the CDC say about these bites? Any dog, treated harshly or trained to attack, may bite a person. Any dog can be turned into a dangerous dog. In all cases the owner is the problem not the breed, and not the dog. An irresponsible owner or dog handler might create a situation that places another person in danger by a dog, without the dog itself being dangerous. This situation is far more of human error than a “dog problem.” Many bites are inflicted by pet dogs that have never bitten before and may never bite again… but just happened to have the wrong buttons pushed at the wrong time. A big chunk of this human error involves keepers placing their dogs in situations that trigger the pet’s aggressive response. The problem in India is similar. Any rabies prevention centre will tell you that 80 per cent of people coming for the injections have been bitten by pet dogs;
Any dog, treated harshly or trained to attack, may bite a person. Any dog can be turned into a dangerous dog. In all cases the owner is the problem not the breed, and not the dog. An irresponsible owner or dog handler might create a situation that places another person in danger by a dog, without the dog itself being dangerous. This situation is far more of human error than a “dog problem.” Many bites are inflicted by pet dogs that have never bitten before and may never bite again… but just happened to have the wrong buttons pushed at the wrong time.
Here are the reasons why dogs bite:
- DOMINANCE. Lack of training, sociali sation and respect for humans can make a dog feel like he’s in charge and could bite if challenged.
- PROTECTIVE. A dog can guard his toys, food, owner, property and may bite to “defend” them. All dogs possess as well a “personal space” that extends to varying distances… depending upon the “social rank” of the dog within its own “pack.” Submissive or otherwise very docile dogs may only have a personal space of a few inches. Dominant or otherwise aggressive-prone dogs are far more volatile, having personal spaces that extend for many feet beyond their physical position. Anyone or any thing that penetrates this area is subject to immediate attack.
- FEAR. A dog that is frightened may bite out of self-protection.
- PAIN INDUCED. A dog may bite if he’s in pain from an illness or injury.
- MATERNAL. A mother may bite to protect her puppies.
- LACK OF SOCIALI SATION. Dogs that are left in a yard or house and not exposed to varied situation or people in a positive manner can lack confidence and react aggressively to a new situation.
- OTHERS. They are irritated, uncomfortable or being teased. They are really excited or have a desire to chase. They are bred and/or trained to be aggressive.
Friendly dogs may bite to defend themselves when hit, teased or physically abused. This does not make them “bad dogs”. They want to be treated with respect just like we do. Why do dogs brought up at home bite ? The dog bites out of fear for his life because the child has been taunting him. Or, because someone has come too close to his food bowl and he has been allowed or encouraged to guard resources. These can be “fixed,” with a little effort, because the dog isn’t truly vicious he’s just been raised improperly.
Most dogs that bite do so out of pain, fear or just surprise. Dogs as well as any other animal will often bite when injured. They are hurt, afraid, traumati sed and often, in shock. They have never bitten before and would never do so again. Other dogs are afraid of strangers or being cornered and will bite due to fear. Sometimes a dog will bite an unsuspecting child or adult because they have been surprised out of a deep sleep. Even good dogs that are friendly can bite sometimes when they’re sick or treated badly or when they just want to be left alone. Since dogs can’t talk to tell us how they feel, they show us by the way they look and act. First off, animals can’t talk as we do, so they convey anger/ impatience/ tiredness/ illness/ wanting to be left alone; by way of growling, snapping, not paying attention and just staying put, or getting up and leaving.
Some Tips That MayPrevent or Stop A Dog Attack
- Don’t run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.
- Don’t give them a reason to become excited or aggressive.
- Never disturb a dog that’s caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
- Never approach a dog you don’t know or a dog who is alone without its owner, especially if the dog is confined behind a fence, within a car, or (sadly) on a chain.
Don’t pet a dog, even your own, without letting him see and sniff you first If a dog approaches to sniff you – stay still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you’re not a threat.