I am so sick and tired of shit like this or this happening and almost everyone putting the blame on three parties: The dog (most common), the child, and the parents.
There is one party who in my opinion is the MOST responsible for dog bites, and it doesn't involve any of the normally blamed subjects above.
If you follow my blog, you know I like to keep things simple, unfiltered, and to the point, so let's begin:
This is the most obvious. Everyone wants to freaking jump at the dog's throat and I can see why, after all, it's the dog that did the damage.
But let me be the advocate here, and I would like to begin by saying that I have no problem pointing out a crappy temperament when I see one. I'm not all for the dog or claim that the dog can do no wrong and that "if the dog got more attention it probably wouldn't have done that". Sometimes the dog is just an ASSHOLE!
But let me tell you why the dog should not be the first to blame.
*Do you blame an ant for biting you when you step on its ant hill?
*Do you blame a bee when it stings you? even for no apparent reason?
*Do you blame a cat when it kills a bird even if it was only done as play?
You don't. These animals just do things because they do. You don't blame a lion when a male takes over a pride, kills the males of the pride, chases the youngsters away, and kills the cubs. Yeah it may be horrible but it's just what they do.
Dogs that bite, do so because there is a reason to do so. They may feel their space is being invaded, they may kick into prey drive and bite a person because its drive kicked in and it had no impulse control, it may have bit as a means of communication, etc. etc. etc.
Not all dogs can be adopted out to the average family, or even to the experienced owner. There are dogs that shouldn't even be adopted out ever! Some of you assholes fly off the handle when someone says your dog looks skinny or when someone criticizes the way you train or handle dogs, why would you expect a dog to do and react the way it feels is best to react given it's circumstances?
Yes I've been guilty of that myself. I have made fun of it, and I have no problem holding a child responsible.
But to advocate for the child, how many dumb things did you do as a child? Aren't there things you remember doing that now you ask yourself "How did I make it this far?"
I got scratched by a stray cat once because I went and tried to pick it up.
So yes, we can hold them responsible for sure! but at some point you have to realize it's still a child and it will make mistakes just like most of us have.
I don't blame a child for WANTING to hug a furry animal.
THE PARENTS / ADULTS:
Yes! I do this! I have no reservations when it comes to holding the adults responsible. I'm with you all in this one!
But before you were a dog person, were you always this responsible? You really can't say that you were always an expert in dog language! I mean, think about it! they're dogs, they look friendly more than half the time. Especially if the dog is at an adoption EVENT!!!!!
You have to be able to put yourself in their shoes and realize that when parents or adults let their children be inappropriate to dogs, it's not because they want to put their children at risk! it isn't! No parent gets up thinking "today I feel like putting my child in grave danger".
If I, as an ignorant person adopt a dog and know very little about dogs. I may not know about body language. You can't be mad at a pet person for adopting a dog without taking a dog training or bite prevention class.
No one really goes to a shelter and thinks "How can I add stress to my life and people in my neighborhood?" or "How can I become a liability?"
Yes people need to take responsibility for their dogs' actions! I'm all for that. And this is probably the person that needs to be held accountable out of those three categories.
...But did you know there's one party that NEVER GETS BLAMED?? That in my opinion DESERVE THE MOST BLAME??
THE RESCUE ORGANIZATIONS!! THE DOG SHELTERS!!!
Yes, I said it!! NO ONE looks at the rescues when a child gets mauled, or when a dog tears the neighbors or when it kills a dog.
Why in the fuck would you advertise a dog that is too much to handle even for your staff??
These are supposed to be the professionals. These are the people who CHOSE to volunteer in this field!
And I don't specifically blame the the workers or the average volunteer, they really don't know a whole lot, they just want to help out. But who's in charge???
You as a rescue or shelter, have the HUGE RESPONSIBILITY of matching a dog to a person. That's a big freaking deal!! It's life changing!
Out of everyone, these organizations are to blame the most. I know they're not professional dog trainers. I know they don't have a lot of training in the field. But again, who's CHOOSING to go into this field? I don't really see "ignorance" as an excuse to be honest. As I was saying on a friend's post earlier, I'm not gonna open a wild animal rescue because I love big cats and then wonder what went wrong when someone gets mauled to death.
As I explain in the video, I actually work with dog rescues on a regular basis because of my job. Some of the rescues we work with are good and the volunteers are awesome and willing to listen and learn. Some don't give a shit, it's mostly a numbers thing with them.
Freaking....Learn how to do a temperament test! Stop being so damn biased! "Oh these dogs are just misunderstood" or "It's all in how you raise them", "Oh but look, he's wagging his tail, there's hope" (I actually have heard a rescue worker say this with a straight face). If you put yourself in a position to make connections that will negatively or positively affect two lives or more, you can't say shit like that.
And you notice, no one points the finger at these rescues! ever!
They need to be held accountable, they need to educate themselves.
If we scrutinized these organizations more than we scrutinize breeds, there would be a lot less incidents.
If you volunteer at dog shelters/rescues, please make the effort to educate yourself in TEMPERAMENT! dog training is nice and will certainly help. But I know dog trainers that know the basics and know very little about temperament. Knowing about temperament and how to properly match the right dog to the right family will ensure everyone is happy and reduce any possible issues.
I have three dogs that I know would be put down, would have bit people or never gotten adopted. Two of them are rescues, but they were fortunate enough to be paired up with someone who understands temperament and their needs. I will never put my dogs in situations where they or someone else might fail. And there are many dogs like these in the shelters!
If you have a dog and subscribe to the importance of interactive toys for the mental stimulation of your four-legged family member(s) or have to hide medication in cheese or peanut butter the following information may be of interest to you. For a long time, it’s been pretty commonplace for peanut butter or cheese to use in interactive toys and treats. However, there’s an ingredient that has slowly become more and more common in the production of consumption products that is toxic to dogs. I’m talking about Xylitol. If your dog consumes enough of it; it can kill your dog D.E.D dead.
So, what is Xylitol? In laymen’s terms it’s a sweetener used as a substitute for sugar. Technically speaking, it’s sugar-alcohol found in various vegetation. It’s been around for decades but wasn’t widely used until recently.
Why has it gotten to be so popular? It’s about as sweet as table sugar but at only 2/3 the calories. Which means this sugar substitute is lower on the glycemic index. In other words, it’s better for your blood sugar. This makes it more appealing to diabetics and anyone else on a low carbohydrate diet. The most common products Xylitol is used is in gum, candies, medications, sports supplements, toothpaste and peanut butter.
Is Xylitol safe? Well, it is for human consumption, however, it is extremely toxic for dogs. Even in small amounts xylitol is capable of causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure and death in dogs.
But why is it toxic to dogs? I’m going to give you a little bit of biology here… The level of blood sugar is regulated by the release of insulin from the pancreas. When dogs ingest something containing xylitol it’s quickly absorbed into the bloodstream which causes the pancreas to release excessive amounts of insulin. The sudden release of insulin causes the blood sugar levels to plummet resulting in hypoglycemia. Untreated you can expect death to occur within sixty minutes of initial ingestion of the Xylitol if a lethal quantity has been ingested. This begs the question; how much will it take to kill my dog? Hypoglycemia will be induced by a dose as small as about 50mg per pound of the dog or for all of you metric types, 100mg per kg. It goes without saying that the more ingested the greater the risk of organ damage and death. The most specific I can get regarding lethal doses are: 225 mg/lb or 500 mg/kg body weight.
If my dog eats something with xylitol, what should I do? Your best bet is to contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card however. Unless directed to do so by poison control or a veterinarian, do not induce vomiting or give anything orally. If your dog is already hypoglycemic from xylitol ingestion, vomiting can make it worse.
What does xylitol poisoning look like? You have to be observant because the signs and symptoms come on very quickly, usually within about fifteen minutes of ingestion.
Symptoms of xylitol poisoning develop rapidly, usually within 15-30 minutes of consumption. Signs of hypoglycemia may include any or all of the following: Vomiting, Listlessness, Lack of coordination or difficulty walking or standing (kinda looks like alcohol inebriation), Lethargy, Tremors, and Coma. In acute cases, the dog may develop seizures or liver failure.
Is there an antidote for xylitol toxicity? No. There is no antidote for xylitol poisoning, although treatment with sugar supplementation, IV fluids, and liver protective drugs are beneficial.
If there is no antidote, how is xylitol poisoning treated? Fast and aggressive treatment by your veterinarian is essential to effectively reverse any toxic effects and prevent the development of severe problems. If your dog has just eaten xylitol but has not yet developed any clinical signs, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to prevent further absorption, depending on what your dog's blood glucose level is. If clinical signs have developed, treatment will be based on the symptoms that are being shown. Since xylitol toxicity can cause both low blood glucose and low potassium levels, your veterinarian will perform blood work to determine whether these problems need to be treated. In all cases, your dog will require hospitalization for blood sugar monitoring, dextrose administration, intravenous fluids, liver protectants, and any other supportive care that may be needed. Blood work should be monitored frequently to make sure that blood sugar and liver function remain normal.
What is the prognosis for recovery from xylitol poisoning? The prognosis is good for dogs that are treated before clinical signs develop, or for dogs that develop uncomplicated hypoglycemia that is quickly reversed. If liver failure or a bleeding disorder develops, the prognosis is generally poor. If the dog lapses into a coma, the prognosis is very poor.
How can I prevent this problem? The short of the long is avoid giving your dog anything with xylitol in it’s ingredients. According the AMVA the leading cause of xylitol poisoning is sugar free gum. Remember that dogs perceive the world with their nose. If there is chewed gum on the ground in the path of your morning walk with Fido, don’t let your dog investigate it. If you’re using peanut butter or cheese to reward your dog or to load their toys check the labels to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol. It’s that simple.
Jason Sigler is a dog training instructor and a PSA (Protection Sports Association) enthusiast. He's a certified Pet Tech Canine first Aid and CPR instructor as well as a certified Canine Training and Behavior Specialist.
Please check out his Facebook page Isoshikai Karate