A few days ago, my friend was walking his Labrador Retriever when he lunged and bit a passerby. My friend was terrified. Fortunately, the dog’s bite only broke the passerby’s watch. “The passerby was, understandably, angry and I felt terribly bad”, my friend later told me. Surprised by his dog’s behavior, he approached me and I thought may be I can share my advice with everyone.
For a dog owner, it is important to understand the dog’s behavior and capabilities. In this case, the dog probably considered himself to be superior to his owner and thought that he was protecting his owner. As a result, he lunged at the passerby on getting close to him. It is important that you teach your supremacy to the dog in order to prevent such incidents.
Protecting yourself and your pet
- Don’t generalize behavior of a breed
It is true that certain breeds such as Labradors and pugs have a gentle temperament, in general. However, there are exceptions. Be advised that there are aggressive pugs and at the same time, Dobermans who like to snuggle up to their owners on every opportunity they get.
- Seek permission
As a rule, don’t touch a dog you don’t know, without her owner’s permission. Similarly, don’t let your pet approach another dog without asking the other dog’s owner. On asking, most people will happily tell you whether their dog is fine with you or your pet approaching them.
- Caution is key
Even if the dog’s owner tells you that their dog likes playing with people and their pets, it always helps to exercise certain degree of caution when approaching a dog.
- Your body language matters
Dogs usually bite someone when they are anxious. Using the wrong body language or getting close to them in the wrong way will only increase their anxiety. A good practice is to stick your hand out with palms upwards and allow the dog to sniff it. For a big dog, do this in a standing posture and for small dogs, you may crouch. Approaching dogs in a non-aggressive posture decreases the chances of them coming aggressively towards you.
Preventing your pet from harming others
- Be honest about your dog
You know your dog best. So, never give wrong information about your dog to others just to spruce up your social image. If you know that your dog is aggressive, it is good to warn others to stay away. If your dog’s hackles go up or ears go back, it means that your dog is getting anxious and it’s best to take him away to a calmer surrounding.
- You are supreme
Teach your dog that you are the supreme person in the house and that your dog is a subordinate one. This will help prevent tense situations from getting out of control.
- Manage your dog’s anxiety
If the presence of too many strangers makes your dog anxious, it’s best to keep your dog away. For instance, if there is gathering of friends and family in your house, you may want to keep your dog locked up comfortably in a separate room.
Understanding your dog and her behavior is key in preventing any untoward incident. So, spend time with your dog, understand her and read up on ways to manage her.