Inviting Dog Bites

Publishing Author : DR. MOHSIN ALI GAZI

Date Published : Unknown

Dog bites can be prevented! Most of them, if not all. This requires knowledge of dog behavior. Dogs are not engineered for biting you and me, but to defend themselves and their territory. Given our faulty dog menace  management program we invite more bites. Yes, many bites are invited!
While walking on the roads children stare at the dog having eye to eye contact which is not a good thing as far canine behavior goes because the dog feels apprehensive by continuous staring and makes an attempt to overpower the child. The dynamics of dog bites is not well understood by the public. More than two-thirds of dog bites happen to people who are acquainted with the dog. More than half the dog bites occur to the very young and the very old and almost half of all bites to children are on areas of the face. Currently there has been a practice adopted by the department at the helm; they trans-locate and trans-shift the dogs from centre of the city to the peripheral areas especially during visits of VIPs to Srinagar or during religious congregations. This translocation makes the dog to lose their territory. Being driven to stranger localities and public they are in a state of fear psychosis for being attacked by the inhabitant dogs of the area and stranger public. Out of this fear and for their defense they become more aggressive and attack the persons whosoever they encounter. Unfortunately children form the most vulnerable group as is evident from the reports that appear in print and electronic media every now and then.
Dog becomes aggressive and often bites when it comes to its “property.”  “Property” in case of dog can be anything from toy, food, territory or even a human being. Throwing stones over dogs and teasing create an atmosphere of behavioral change and aggression. Too much flirtation out of fun also confuses dogs and lead to frustration and aggression.  Age at socialization, individual genetics and breed are the main factors that are to be considered in understanding the aggressive behavior of dog.
When would a dog bite?
When ears are typically pinned back, the fur along their back may stand up and one may be able to see the whites of their eyes. Non-social behavior such as freezing in response to a touch or look followed by direct intense eye contact back from the dog is another clear sign that he may bite. A dog that is afraid or unhappy about having his territory invaded has the potential to bite. Things such as bared teeth, raised hackles, a lowered head, or ears lying flat against the head are signs that a dog is uncomfortable and may bite. If you notice a dog displaying this type of body language, give him some space.
If a Dog Approaches: Never bother dogs that are eating, sleeping or enjoying a treat such as a bone. Teach children not to approach a young puppy around the mother.
Avoid sudden moment and slow down your walk:  Never run from a dog as it will outrun and overcome you easily. Once dog tries to chase you, sit down at a place and try to pick up something from ground, dog may run away. Running triggers a dog’s instinct to chase.
Never make a direct eye contact: Keep the dog in your peripheral vision but don’t look it right in the eye as dogs may perceive this as a threat.
Avoid walking in places you know or suspect of aggressive dogs: Even if an aggressive dog is fenced, avoid walking right past it, if possible. Large dogs can jump fences if agitated. Dogs in packs are especially dangerous.
Dog Sterilization: Coming to dog sterilization or Neutering, Neutered dogs have less desire to roam, mark territory and exert dominance over the pack so fewer aggression chances. Sterilized dogs are more affectionate and less likely to bite, run away, become aggressive, or get into a fight. Unspayed females sometimes compete for the attention of a male dog by fighting. Spaying can reduce or eliminate this fighting. Spaying a dog can also eliminate the possibility of hormonally driven guarding behavior. There is an infrastructure in place Shuhama campus SKUAST-K for dog sterilization and fighting dog aggression. Every vet can do it if facilities are there. We can create facilities at every centre where vets are posted to fight dog menace locally. The need is to facilitate better vet care to fight dog menace.

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