With this week being Dog Bite prevention week we will all be seeing stats and reports that are meant to stir up our emotions and fear. Originally this week was meant to be "prevention" but lately seems to have lost its focus. Here is what I would like to see vs. dog bite prevention week....how about "dog respect and awareness week?" Or "become dog smart week" So many possibilities with a poitive spin. It will never happen but...I can dream right? Not eye catching enough but.. Actually Doggone Safe has made a HUGE effort with the International dog bite prevention education challenge! This is intended to empower and educate kids vs. create fear! hope we see more of this each year!
Dog bites do happen but it is not as unpredictable as the media would like you to fear. Fear and drama works to and keep you reading.and tuning in. So, enough about my opinion on that...here is what I know to be true.
So many adults approach a dog because "they are dog people" or "all dogs love them" or "they want to help the poor thing." And this example of not respecting a dog is ADULTS. Putting their needs before the dog's comfort and stress.
If people choose to engage despite what the dog is indicating...the dog may become more threatened and react with stronger signaling (such as freezing, whale eye, growling, showing teeth ) other dogs would understand and would respond appropriately to. However, since you are not a dog you may miss these signals and most likely get a more serious reaction or a bite. This is often a death sentence for way too many dogs. Dogs dialogue with body language and it is an exchange. We do not communicate in the same way (thank goodness) and often misread their cues and meanings.
Or just tune into your local news at 5pm (don't want you to loose sleep at 11pm) and then you tell me who we should fear! Just a thought.
****I want to be very clear that I continue to grow and learn every day with every interaction with our 4 legged friends. I am embarrassed at some of what I used to do and am proud to know that now I know better and hope that you too will be inspired to learn the wonderful language of dogs and enhance your relationship!"**