When we are responsible for a dog that has either bitten people or tried to in the past, we need to put prevention and management in place. Never become complacent.
Once there has been signs of aggressive behaviour from your dog, you must assume it can and probably will happen again. The reason for this is because dogs attack to put space between them and their threat and to move the threat away from them. And if the first attempt has been successful they may try again- even if they themselves were previously hurt in the process.
Aggressive behaviour includes:
- Hackles (raised hair) along the back of the dog
- Attempting to bite
- Has bitten and made contact with the skin.
Scalding a dog for showing these behaviours, may result in them not showing these behaviours in the future. But remember – these behaviours are WARNINGS that the dog is telling anyone who is watching “GIVE ME SPACE”. If a dog does NOT show a warning that it may bite, then it may bite very quickly with no information given that this is going to happen … These situations are most dangerous.
It is really important that secure management is taken seriously, this may include:
- Muzzle on the dog at all times when exposed to it’s triggers (unfamiliar people, other dogs, children etc)
- Keep the dog locked away behind closed doors, a secure confinement, locked gates, tethered on an anchor point with a strong lead
- Keep on lead at all times when in public
- Have identifying signs on your property
- Watch and learn body changes in your dog
- Identify all trigger(s) (what causes your dog to be aggressive?)
Worry is not aggression. There is a grey area where dogs can be upset, just like people. The key to understanding the difference can be learnt in The Dog Bite Prevention Program. Unfortunately, most dog attacks are happening in the home environment, and the most common victims are children between 0-9yrs of age and working aged men. So, when there is an indication of aggressive behaviour, owners need to always manage their pet and be vigilant at all times.