an Alaskan malamute being held at the Turlock, Calif.,
Animal Shelter as a result of biting a young woman in
the face is a hot topic of conversation. Regardless of
your opinion of this situation, and what ultimately is
to be done with Bolt, and other dogs that bite, it is
certainly an experience we should learn from and do
everything possible to avoid.
a dog owner, one must recognize that our dogs will never
think, rationalize or behave like humans. Their
instincts cause them to react and respond in ways that
we sometimes donít understand or approve of, but there
is always a reason for them behaving the way they do.
Regardless of the breed, size, age and training, we must
remember that all dogs bite, and if your dog bites
another person, you could end up facing the same
scenario as Bolt and his owner.
you expect your dog to grow up to be highly social and
relaxed around people in general, then early and
continuous socialization is a must. If, as a puppy, your
dog meets and has a positive experience with a few
hundred different people of all shapes and sizes, he is
likely to grow into an adult with a higher tolerance of
human interaction. If your puppy is raised at home, and
not properly socialized out in the world, be prepared to
have him grow into an adult dog wary of strangers.
like the one with Bolt are preventable. As dog owners,
we must realize that people ó friends, extended
family, strangers ó will often behave inappropriately
around our dog; sometimes purposely, but usually
ignorantly. Rather than leave it up to our dog to
protect himself or respond to these people and their
unsuitable behavior, have a strategy to keep dog and
humans separated when people other than immediate family
are in your home, and politely deny requests from
strangers to interact with your dog in public.
a responsible dog owner goes well beyond feeding,
vaccinating and training. Think of your dog as a
permanent 4-year-old; you should always look out for
him, keep him under your control, make decisions for his
safety, and never, ever allow him to interact with
people without your supervision.
have an instinctive need to do what is necessary to
survive potential danger. It seems that no matter how
inappropriate the human may behave, the dog is expected
to be above reacting in any way. Presuming that we are
the more intelligent of the two species, is it
reasonable that we accept no responsibility of the
outcome when we interact with a dog?
measures may seem, at first read, to protect people in
general from dogs; I submit that they should be in place
to protect our dogs from other people.