Dog attacks are not pretty and they are definitely no laughing matter. When dogs attack people it can lead to serious injury or even death. Fatal dog attacks are rare but they do occur and even a simple dog bite can be very painful and cause injury. It is estimated that 2% of the U.S. population are bitten by dogs each year. These dog attacks are often the result of the close proximity of dogs to people in every day life.
So, why do dogs attack people?
There are really only four main reasons why dogs attack humans:
1) Protecting their owners or property – Most dogs will instinctively protect their territory. This is usually done by simply barking, but some dogs will actually attack someone who invades their territory. Any dog, big or small, may attack to protect their territory. However this is most common with certain breeds that have been bred and used as guard dogs or attack dogs for many years.
2) They are not properly socialized – All dogs need to be socialized and learn how to act around humans. Dogs that have had very little or no human contact are much more likely to attack a person that gets close to them.
3) Trained to attack by bad owners – There are lots of crazy people out there who actually train their dogs to attack any and all people. This is different from a properly trained guard dog. These dogs have been raised to be mean and don’t differentiate from a friend or an intruder.
4) Protecting themselves – Dogs can and will protect themselves if they deem it necessary.
People who are uneducated about dogs often blame dog attacks on certain breeds of dogs but the truth is that most dog attacks are due primarily to the actions or inactions of the dogs’ owners. Or they are because the dog was protecting its home, family, or itself.
Dogs are not inherently mean or prone to attacking humans. Some dog breeds are better for protection and guard work but even those breeds aren’t going to attack humans for no reason. There is no such thing as a “mean” or “bad” breed of dog and no dog is born aggressive. Furthermore, no dog breed is more prone to attack people than any other breed.
Most of the time dog attacks are the result of human behaviors, especially by people who are unfamiliar with dogs (often children). Dogs usually don’t respond to these behaviors with aggression but sometimes they will, and certain dogs will do it more than other dogs of the same or different breed.
These human behaviors include:
* Challenging the dog for food – Removing food from a dog or getting between a dog and its food, even when it’s an accident, may trigger aggressive behavior in some dogs.
* Attacking a dog, its family or companions – Dogs will often instinctively defend themselves from an attack or perceived attack. They may also defend those they consider their pack, which can be their human family or dogs and other animals they live with.
They may also be triggered by behaviors that are perceived as an attack. Examples of this would be a sudden and unexpected approach or touch by a stranger, inadvertently stepping on the dog or part of its body, or startling a sleeping dog unexpectedly.
* Invading its territory – Many dogs will fiercely defend their territory, which usually includes their house or yard and other places belonging to their family or areas that the dog thinks of as being theirs. This is especially true for breeds that are typically used as guard dogs.
It should be noted that the territory a dog recognizes as its own may not be the actual property lines that its owner and the legal authorities recognize, such as the neighbor’s yard or a place that the dog visits often.
* Failure to recognize fear – Dogs that are afraid or fearful of something or someone may turn and defend themselves against perceived threat, just as humans do. People who don’t have much experience with dogs will usually not recognize the signs of fear so they approach and trigger an aggressive reaction.
* Getting between a dog fight – A human stepping in between two dogs that are in a fight may be badly bitten. It is not the intent of the dog to attack the person but in the heat of the moment it often happens.
* Showing threatening body language – Staring directly into a dog’s eyes or a person the dog doesn’t know getting very close to their face may be seen as a challenge or threat. Looking directly into a dog’s eyes is most dangerous when on the same visual level as the dog or when the human is a stranger to the dog.
* Prey behaviors – Dogs have many predatory instincts that are imbedded in them, including the chasing of prey. Running away from a dog or behaving in a way that shows weakness can cause a dog to chase you or get overly excited and attack.
* Intruders – A trained guard dog or attack dog will most likely attack or act aggressively towards an intruder without warning.
Remember that any dog can attack unexpectedly given a certain situation. There is no such thing as a certain breed of dog that will attack or not attack humans. Most dogs will never hurt anyone, but it can happen and knowing some reasons why dogs typically attack and warning signs of it can save you from being injured. Hopefully this post has answered your question as to why dogs attack people and will help prevent you or someone you know from being attacked by a dog out of ignorance or neglect.
One final thing I want to stress… Don’t believe all the crap you hear about Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds (or any other dog breed) being vicious or dangerous. It’s NOT true! There is no such thing as a vicious or dangerous breed of dog. It’s all a bunch of media hype and myths, and any dog expert can attest to that. Any dog, of any breed, at any time, in any place can attack a human for many reasons, and it has nothing to do with what type of breed they are. That is a fact.Categories: Dog Information