DOG BITES HAVE WARNINGS
Dr. Roberta Lee ~ 2020 Update by
Barbara J. Andrews
Today we learn amazing new communication skills but in so doing, we are losing much of the basic understanding of interspecies warning signs. Once upon a time long gone, we would never advance towards an elephant with its ears flared nor a wolf with ears pinned tight to the skull. If a horse turned his tail towards you, we knew not to advance. If a kitten crouched and hissed, we knew not to pick it up.
When I lived in the “big city” if I met a dog on the sidewalk and it wagged its tail, I knew it was friendly. Tail tucked meant it was fearful but what if the tail was up and stiff? What if instead of friendly soft eye contact, the dog looked away but stood his ground? Not many of my friends understood that body language.
What if it made direct eye contact but ears were laid back? Would you advance? Go around the dog? Try to pet it? Are you picturing yourself in this scenario?
Only a century ago most people were born close to the earth. Even my big-city students knew about animals because they had seen them in the movies or were drawn to the zoos, circuses, parks or countryside. Today many people are born in the “concrete jungle” which term by the way, was not then politically incorrect.
Busy climbing the corporate ladder, few city dwellers have seen a chimp scamper up a tree, sheep grazing in a field, or witnessed the miracle of birth. Working long hours “in the city” many people commute to their “home in the country” without ever seeing a pasture much less an animal...
Thus the increase in dog bites reflects our lack of communication with animals other than perhaps a squirrel or pigeon in the park. Our ability to understand animal body language has therefore been diminished. Even a psychotic dog (yes, that is possible) will give warning, involuntary or intentionally, that it will bite.
You will react psychologically. It is like that weird tickly prickly sensation in your nose just before you sneeze. You don’t summon it, you don’t think about it but you know what’s coming...
It is the same with a dog provoked or frightened into a defensive bite. He does not think about biting, he just snaps at the offender much as you would swat at a mosquito on your arm. It is not an attack, it is a reaction and despite what you may have been led to believe, rarely does a dog bite result in treatable injury.
In 99% of dog bite cases the human was the provoker, knowingly or not. Most delivery personnel are well trained as regards interaction with dogs. It is the first-time visitor who fawns over your dog, often to impress you in which case their attention is immediately recognized by the dog as suspicious… Your best response is distraction. Immediate and definitive.
If distraction doesn’t stop the visitor, you should say “He bites.” That is legal warning and an acceptable excuse for the person to ‘cease and desist.’ If in fact the dog does snap, they cannot say they weren't forewarned.
These dog bite figures are statistically accurate in any given year.
Dog Bite Statistics:
Rising rate of dog bite fatalities and number of children bitten.
6.2 million car accidents p/year in which 50% of those involved are permanently injured.
4.5 million reported dog bites p/year but only 20% sought medical treatment.
When you think about it… People are tested and licensed to drive but anyone can own a dog. ~ Conclusion, ban cars!
Copyright © NetPlaces Network 20S08