Friendly, loyal, sweet, intelligent, playful, exuberant, mouthy, mischievous, naive, curious, loving and protective are some of the adjectives we use to describe dogs. But then some dogs are labeled dangerous, ferocious, aggressive, savage, vicious and unpredictable. This thought has mainly developed based on the fact that some dog breeds have a history of being violent with animals as well as people. Since big dogs create bigger wounds they’re reported more frequently and this causes the medical data to be skewed inaccurately toward big dogs. Truthfully, all breeds can be provoked to bite. Whether or not a dog actually bites is generally a result of how well it’s been trained and treated. Nevertheless, it can’t be helped that some dog breeds have more potential to cause serious harm to a person if the dog were to decide to attack. But why would a dog, man’s best friend, decide to attack? Here are some of the most common reasons:
1) The dog is protecting or thinking that it is protecting its owner.
2) The dog is protecting its owner’s property.
3) The dog is protecting its puppies.
4) The dog is guarding its food.
5) The dog is provoked by the actions of the victim like pulling its tail, hurting it by mistake etc.
6) The dog is not properly trained and does not interact well with strangers.
7) The dog is having a bad day, is irritable and its tolerance level has fallen.
8) The dog’s sixth sense tells it that the person/ animal has bad intentions.
9) The dog is in pain, injured or sick.
10) The dog is involved in rough play with the victim and gets overly excited.
11) The dog does not know how to bite and does so by mistake.
Dogs are intelligent creatures and do not like to assault without reason or warning. A dog bite rarely happens without warning, so chances are these warnings are being misunderstood or ignored. The best way to avoid such a situation is to learn a dog’s language and respect its boundaries. A dog could be humungous in size or have very large teeth but could be very docile while a small and petite dog could suddenly bite! A dog’s disposition should not be judged by its looks or its breed. Every dog is different. But like humans speak with their mouths, dogs express themselves with their body language. Some of the warning signs before a dog becomes fierce and aggressive are given below:
1) Pleading eyes: The dog looks at you with a pleading expression.
2) Physical Retreat: The dog takes a few steps back. One must not try to approach it.
3) Head turn: The dog turns his head indicating that it does not want an altercation.
4) Yawning: Dogs yawn when they are nervous and try to calm themselves down. Although a yawn is not always for this reason.
5) Licking: Incessantly licking either you or itself could be a request to back off and give it space but you might also taste very good!
6) Whale eyes: Seeing the whites of a dog’s eyes, also known as “whale eyes”, a fixated look and dilation of its pupils is a serious warning sign.
7) Body Language:A hard stare, ears back, head lowered, fur standing and most of its body weight on its front legs is a sign of an aggressive or threatened dog.
8) Tail position: A wagging tail is not always a friendly sign.
9) Growling & Snapping: Critical warning point i.e. just before the attack.
10) Two or more signs together: If any of the above signs are combined, most probably the attack is imminent.
I am a proud owner of a Doberman pinscher a.k.a. Doberman. She is about 11-12 months old but is quite big in size already. She is the friendliest dog I have ever petted. She does not bark at strangers unless she senses that they are a threat to me. She only barks in defense and so far she has never growled or snarled. But still sometimes, she shows one or more of the warning signs above while we are just playing or running around. Since she is still a pup and is in her training period, I say ‘No!’ whenever she gets aggressive. My training and my upbringing will design her temperament. Same goes for all the other dogs and their owners. Some of the other dog breeds, including Dobermans, that are considered more aggressive and dangerous than the others are:
3) Pit bull
4) German Shepherd
6) Presa Canario
8) Giant Schnauzer
9) Bull Terrier
10) Alaskan Malamutes
One must know that no dog is minacious without some kind of provocation. The reason for an attack could have just been perceived by the dog rather than an actual reason. That is why the owners as well as other people should be wary of the signs a dog displays. One must know how to read a dog’s body language. Dogs are one of the best creations of nature. They are cute and faithful. No dog should ever be punished. Pain should not be inflicted on any dog to train it or teach him a lesson. Dogs are creatures full of love and no lesson can be taught better, than with love. Happy petting!