Friday, July 30, 2010
Okay, now I'm going to tell you more about dog bites, just like I promised you, but I found a ton of information on the internet about this topic, and I can't fit it all into one blog entry, so you will have to be happy with however much I decide to write. Ha!
First of all, if you want to avoid getting bitten by a dog, there are some situations that, if you see them, you should stay away from them, and here's what they are:
1. If a dog is alone in its own yard, and its humans are not there. In 2008, 78% of the people killed were by dogs in their own yards.
2. The breeds of dogs that have killed the most people are pit bulls, rottweilers, akitas, and chows. Which is not to say that other kinds of dogs won't bite you. But in 2008, 65% of fatalities were from pit bull attacks.
3. If there are a whole pack of dogs, stay away, because a gang of dogs get a thing called "pack mentality," where if one dog decides it would be fun to bite someone, the other dogs all decide to do it, too.
4. Dogs that are chained or tied up are three times more likely to bite.
5. Male dogs are lots more likely to attack than female dogs are, and dogs that aren't neutered can be the most vicious of all.
6. A dog that just came to live in a new home is more likely to bite for the first two months he is there. Or if a new person comes to live in a home where a dog is already living, it's more likely that the dog will bite the person during the first 60 days or so.
Some cities have tried to solve problem #2 by making laws against owning a certain type of dog. This is called breed-specific legislation (BSL). Pit bulls are the breed that is probably banned most often, but sometimes other breeds are, too. A lot of people have spent a lot of time arguing about BSL, because it doesn't really seem to work very well, plus it's unfair to the dogs because a lot of times it's their owners who are the ones who make them turn into mean dogs who will attack and kill people. Anyway, it's all very complicated, and I don't want to use up a lot of blog space right now talking about it. But I will just mention that at least 25 different breeds have been involved in 238 people getting killed by dogs.
Many times, the people who get bitten are children. There are several reasons for this, like for instance that children might not know how to behave nicely around dogs, so the dogs get scared and bite. Also, if kids start running, a dog might think they are some kind of prey to chase, and so they will go after them. And it's sad but true that children are short, so their faces are much closer to a dog's teeth, and this is why 65% of bites are on a child's head or neck.
Here are some scary numbers about kids and dogs: 50% of dog attacks involve children under age 12, 70% of dog-bite fatalities are children under 10, boys are more likely to get bitten than girls, and babies that nobody is watching are 370 times more likely to be killed by a dog than an adult is. All of which means that if you are the parent of a young child, you should always supervise the child with dogs, and also you should teach the child how to act around dogs.
Okay, so here are some things humans do that make dogs sometimes bite them:
1. Taking away the dog's food or a chewy or something the dog doesn't want to give up.
2. Coming into the dog's territory or threatening the dog's pack members, including human pack members.
3. Trying to handle a dog who is sick or injured.
4. Approaching a dog who is feeling scared and insecure.
5. Using rude and threatening body language, like staring directly at the dog or reaching over the dog's head to pet him or hugging the dog.
6. Acting like prey. For instance, if the person runs away or jerks their hand away or somehow makes the dog think about chasing and attacking him.
7. Doing something that the dog thinks is an attack, like stepping on him or pulling his tail or waking him when he's asleep.
So don't do any of these things, okay? Especially with dogs that you don't know very well. Personally, I hate it when people come up and try to love on me like I'm their BFF, even though we've never met before. And sometimes people who do stuff like this will say, "Dogs like me!" Which is a stupid thing to say, if you ask me.
Oh, and if a dog growls at you, he is just being nice enough to let you know that he is not happy with the current situation, and if you keep doing whatever you are doing, he may have to snap at you in order to make his point more clear. So you should just be glad that he gave you a warning rather than biting you with no warning at all, which is what some dogs have learned to do because people scolded them for growling.
Well, that's pretty much it, except that I will just say that dogs bite because biting is the only way we have of defending ourselves. If we had hand guns, we wouldn't need to bite. Any dog will bite if pushed far enough, but with some dogs it takes a lot of pushing, and with others, not much at all. So if you think that your dog would never, ever bite, you should maybe think again!