Recently I noticed a lot more dog bite prevention info getting its way onto Facebook and the like, and it got me thinking, I wonder how many people actually stop and read all this information or have many, become immune and don’t even give it a second look.
Once a reported dog attack/bite incident is reported the news creates a feeding frenzy, unfortunately in many cases we the public don’t hear the full story and yet for many it fuels a lively debate on what should be done, what isn’t but one thing that always seems to pop up and sometimes is the need for more education.
There are already many excellent educational programs and resources online as well as offline. So what is happening here? I know that the funding can be an issue for some even here in New Zealand but do we do enough?
Is complacency to blame; do we view dogs too much as a part of our family and forget that they are dogs? They are placed all too often in situations (whether it be at home or away ) which we would not place ourselves in if the roles were reversed, and yet we expect them to behave and be good dogs.
I wonder how many dog trainers, behaviorists, dog training clubs, veterinary practices (who often host puppy classes) pet shops, rescues, dog breeders etc do the same thing?
Training dogs and behavioral consultants see it and we warn the public. We tell owners that “dogs don’t like hugs and kisses”. Dog body language is explained and we try to open a channel of communication. And finally, we try to establish healthy boundaries for families and pets. But for some reason, all this instruction and warning fell on deaf ears. This phenomenon is relatively new. Yes, dogs have been family pets for hundreds of years. But the requirement that a dog be tolerant of everything done to it, particularly from a child that “knows no better” is new. Most parents would not leave their child alone with a horse, a parrot or even a cat, but a dog is no longer an animal for some reason. However, it is everything other than a animal.
Possibly Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are partly to blame. The dog is no longer the family pet. They are the decor in family photos. The dog is supposed to be the child’s “best friends”, but did anyone ask the dog? And even if they are, the meaning of the “best friend” is to care about those friend’s needs and concerns. Forcing them to interrelate while they express pain is not treating them like “best friends” and before an owner claims they “didn’t see the signs”, ignorance is no excuse. If your best friend spoke a different language, you would try to understand it. For some reason, dog language seldom becomes part of the conversation. ….”