In light of the recent Gorilla incident in Cincinnati, I feel in need to address the 200 lb gorilla in the room, no pun intended.
I have noticed that the beginning of each summer, there is an increase in the amount of dog bite calls I receive. I believe it could be the Memorial Day kick off that has friends and family gathering for barbeques and everyone forgets that the dog is just as excited.
Fido has always been ‘very excited’, nippy, etc. but it isn’t until there is a tragedy like a dog bite do people reach out and want to train their dog. I guess it’s the severity of the situation that causes the family to react to the incident.
The Blame Game
After the bite, then begins the pointing of fingers and blaming everyone but yourself; especially the dog. Dog’s do what dogs do, it is our responsibility as the ‘intelligent’ species to predict situations based on your dog’s previous reactions to people, and keep both your dog and visitors safe.
Blaming the Victim
Everyone blames the victim; the child was running, the man was wearing a hat, she stepped on the dogs tail, the housekeeper let the dog out. The list can go on and on, truth of the matter is you did not create a safe environment for your guests or your dog and you did not address the small issues before allowing them to snow ball into a bite situation. You and only you are responsible for the actions of your dog.
Obedience creates predictability in behavior in your dog. It also teaches you to read your dog and realize his body language. You must always be one step ahead of your dog and never say, “Let’s see what will happen”. If your dog has aggressive or excessive excitement reactions, obedience training will be mandatory for the rest of your dog’s life. He has to realize you are always in control. This training should occur before a problem arises, this way you are being proactive rather than reactive to a problem.
Although I often caution clients that they should not treat their dogs like children—there is one important parallel between children and dogs: You are 100% responsible for their safety and well-being. Don’t let your guard down or hope everything will be fine.
Unless you are 100% sure of the outcome, don’t allow your dog to be in potentially dangerous situations, for their sake and your guests. Take action when you begin to see an alarming response for your dog and if you can’t control his behavior because you are away or entertaining, be sure to confine your dog so no one can get hurt.
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