Understanding dog behavior and warning signs is a key component to preventing dog bites. Many people believe some behaviors indicate their dog is enjoying the interaction when the dog is truly offering warnings that they are stressed. With an estimated 75 million dogs in the United States, it’s key for dog owners and the general public to understand the basics of dog behavior and communication.
The Journal of the American Veterinary Association recently released the results of a comprehensive study they undertook on fatal dog bites. A great synopsis by Victoria Stillwell at postively.com.
Interestingly, the breeds of the dogs involved in fatal attacks could only be identified in 18% of the cases. Often times, the media’s report of the dog’s breed conflicted with animal control reports. Within that 18%, twenty different breeds were identified, which correlates with previous studies that have found that no single breed of dog is more likely to attack than another. The results of these studies make it clear that the solution to preventing future dog attacks is better management and husbandry practices, and not banning specific breeds.
Check out this website from Dr. Sophia Yin for some fantastic downloadable posters illustrating important topics such as the body language of fear and anxiety in dogs, How to properly greet a dog, rules for children interacting with dogs and more.
The Ladder of Aggression – a great blog post about identifying early warning signs of stress in our dogs and also discusses how we unintentionally teach our dogs not to exhibit early warning signs of stress.