Suppose every day there were 14,000 toasters blowing up and injuring their owners! You know we would have Congress up in arms promising legislation to fix the problem. There would be funding for toaster education programs to teach homeowners on the proper operation of toasters. Children would be taught to wear goggles whenever near a toaster and taught never to touch a toaster without adult supervision. Visual-ed classes would have lessons on what to do in the event of a toaster malfunction.
Sure, 14,000 toasters a day blowing up is nothing compared to hundreds of millions of toasters in peoples homes. There would still be those that would say, "Hey, I had a toaster my entire childhood and it never blew up.” That would be true. There would be millions of toaster owners who would never experience a toaster explosion in their lives, even with 14,000 a day unlucky to have it happen to them.
But still it would be unacceptable – unless we substitute ‘dogs biting’ for "toasters blowing up” – then we shut our eyes to the problem.
A dog is man’s best friend and those cuddly pooches with those almost human eyes couldn’t really hurt any child, it must be an accident or the child must have made an aggressive jerk or something to spook the animal. According to the CDC, in almost all dog attacks, there was no overt aggressive behaviour on the part of the person being bit. The problem is with dogs improperly socialized or those who were specifically taught to be aggressive; a victim needn't have done anything threatening.
Even in the case of properly trained domestic pets, an attack can happen given the right circumstances. In a previous post If a dog kills your child it's your fault I outlined some of these circumstances.
Older dogs can get grouchy, mommy dog can be over-protective of her litter, and many dogs have an invisible territorial fence which they will defend even against their owners. There are many dogs that have not been treated affectionately enough or socialized properly and they can be fine all their lives except for one particular day when they decide they’ve had enough of humans and go for the jugular.
The natural inclination for dogs is to attack. That is why nature made them. After millennia of domestication and training they have learned to subdue the urge to bite. They keep it contained under a layer of will. Sometimes they will forget and let down their guard, usually when you are playing with them and they pretend-growl when you try to take away their toy. This is not pretend – this is their true instinct rearing up.
In the typical 14 years that 60 million American families will have a pet dog there will be over 70 million reported cases of dog bites; 14,000 a day with the majority of them children and almost all of them by a loving family pet. A pet that the owners will swear was a good-natured pet that never exhibited aggressive behaviour and never bit anyone before. As if the pet was really a member of the family. Right.
Dog owners should be licensed and be knowledgeable in the training and socialization of dogs.
Obedience training is one of the most important elements in preventing aggression in dogs. If a dog seems uncontrollable or displays sudden anger, then it should be brought to dog trainer immediately for behaviour modification. Owners should know that puppies should be constantly touched and shown affection. Being skimpy on love will breed a nasty, aggressive beast. Unless one is in the business of breeding it is imperative to neuter your pet.
I will not go into detail on all the things one needs to do to properly socialize a dog. Until we pass a law requiring dog owners to know as much about dog ownership as a licensed driver knows about car ownership, it is certain there will continue to be an unacceptable number of injuries each year.
Previously I have mentioned how children should behave around dogs. Here’s advice for adults:
Avoid eye contact with an aggressive dog.
If you are jogging or running, stop and walk by the dog, avoiding eye contact and sudden movement.
Never complain to the owner of an aggressive dog about their dog’s behaviour. Dogs are much like their owners, who are just as likely to be aggressive toward you. Call the police.
What to do if growling or barking dogs run toward you. There are two possibilities:
2) Large Dogs.
a) Non pit-bulls: stand your ground without sudden movement. Position your body into a command stance and order the animal as if you were its owner: "Down!" "Heel!" "Stay!" Repeat this authoritatively. Do not raise your hands in a defensive posture as this will trigger the natural attack mechanism in the dog. If the dog ignores your order and continues to advance, get into a boxer’s stance minimizing the surface area exposed to the dog and maximizing your balance. If you are agile enough kick the dog but consider that this may cause you to lose balance and fall. If you fall, curl up into a ball and protect the vital areas of your neck. Keep your knees tucked in as well. Play dead and hope that the dog will lose interest in you.
b) Pit-bulls: Try the above but if you should fall kiss your ass goodbye.
If you haven’t fallen and you are still fighting the animal, try punching the dog on the nose as hard as you can; gouge out its eyes, pull the dog's ears; kick it in its rib cage. And while this is all going on yell for help.
I always carry pepper spray and you would be wise to do likewise. A good spray at their eyes will sometimes give you time to get away.
Always go to the hospital for any dog bite. You never know and rabies is fatal.
Dog tips here