The Most Dangerous Dogs

February 11, 2008 at 7:15 am 7 comments

Despite the media’s current obsession with stories about packs of aggressive dogs running loose and attacking strangers – the vast majority of dogs who bite belong to the victim’s family or friends. Yes, believe it or not, contrary to what you’ve read in the news, most dog bites come where and when we least expect them.  From good dogs. In our own homes.

People who report dog bites often say that the bite was ‘completely unexpected’. When they describe the dog that bit them (or their child or their friend) the first thing they’ll do is tell you what a great dog he is.

And most of the time their description of that good dog includes a long list of aggravations that good dog has endured. 

“The kids chased him around all the time and it never bothered him before.” 
“He never used to care when we grabbed him.”
“We always encouraged him to bark at the door, we never imagined he’d actually bite someone.”
“But we didn’t know he was injured and it hurt when we touched him there.”

We live in a culture that endows dogs with human virtues and denyies them our vices, and that twisted ideal leaves us with good dogs that unexpectedly do bad things.  People love their dogs for the good things they do and excuse them for the not-so-good. This gives them a false sense of security and leads to a lack of supervision and training. 

After all, a good dog doesn’t need to be trained or supervised, does he?

What our society seems to have forgotten is that the goodness of a dog won’t stop him from biting. Responsibility on the part of the people who own and interact with him does.


How to keep a good dog from going bad:

Supervise ALL interactions between preschool children and dogs.

Teach children to respect dogs. Set aside a ‘time out’ location (like a crate or laundry room) that the dog can go to when it doesn’t want to be with the kids. Enforce a ‘leave the dog alone’ rule when the dog is there. Don’t allow children to tease or harass the dog and discourage rough play.

Obey leash laws.  Keep your dog safely in your home, on your property or under your supervision at all times.

Pay attention to your dog’s health.  If he seems crabby or lethargic, take him in for a checkup even if nothing obvious is wrong with him.

Don’t force your dog to accept the attention of strangers (including the four-legged ones). Not all dogs are social butterflies. You don’t let every person you meet hug you or paw at you – why should your dog?

Train your dog. Training creates a common language and strengthens the bond between you and your dog. It does NOT turn a dog into a mindless robot. Rules and boundaries create predictability in a dog’s world. Predictability reduces anxiety, and reducing anxiety decreases aggression.

Don’t let your dog fence fight.  Don’t let him lunge and bark at people or dogs when you go for a walk.  Don’t let him charge the door, windows or gate when visitors approach. When your dog does these things he’s not protecting you, he’s expressing his own insecurity.

Don’t let your good dog go bad.

Entry filed under: dog, dog training, dogs. Tags: , .

For The HSUS – Timing is Everything Politics – “It’s the revulsion, stupid”

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Fuzzy Logic  |  February 14, 2008 at 4:33 am

    Ah thank you for this post.. specifically this bit “Don’t force your dog to accept the attention of strangers”.

    I once left a puppy class with my bullmastiff boy because I told the trainer that I didn’t want to participate in one exercise where you had to let your puppy wander around and allow other handlers to grab your dog by the collar and treat them. I told her I didn’t want my dog to think that it was ok for strangers to grab him and treat him. I told her that it would be contrary to his nature as an aloof breed and I anticipated problems in the future.

    I was “excused” from class since obviously (and she said this right to my face) I wanted to raise a vicious dog.

    Targ is the biggest love bug ever.. but people don’t just grab his collar… nor would he want them to. I was right.. he finds it rude.

  • 2. kimberly gomez  |  February 15, 2008 at 9:36 pm


  • 3. Tiffanu Carson  |  July 9, 2008 at 12:49 am

    Thank you for this. So true. There are no dangerous breeds, just uninformed/bad owners.

  • 4. demii  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    real dangerous animals plzz

  • 5. sade  |  August 10, 2008 at 2:24 am

    there is no such thing as a dangerous dog breed. its really the owners fault. And if you want to know what’s a dangerous animal, read about wild animals.

  • 6. brandy  |  April 29, 2009 at 4:49 am

    I have a rottweiler and she is a big baby she loves my kids and it is how the owner is too they dogs

  • 7. Alex  |  October 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Absolutely – it’s how the owners train their dogs. I’d agree though that some dogs have that fierce, dangerous look to them even when they seem harmless; take pitbulls and rottweiler for example.

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