Avoid Dog Biting While Approaching Strange Dogs
Dogs normally bite for one of three reasons: Indiscriminate biting, fear biting, and protective biting.
Knowing which type of biter you are confronted with depends on the situation you are in at the time. For instance, if you are walking along the sidewalk in a residential street, minding your own business, and a dog suddenly leaves his yard, runs directly at you and bites, this is indiscriminate biting. This is a spoiled dog that is probably the dictator in his household. He is the type of dog that merely allows his family to co-exist with him in the house. It could be any breed, from a Toy Chihuahua to a Giant Schnauzer.
Fortunately, dogs that fall into this category are in the minority and are usually confined and restricted because the owners are fully aware of the their bad behavior. Undoubtedly, they probably have been the recipients of occasional bites from their own dogs whenever the animals didnít get their way.
The fear biter falls into another category because his demeanor could be genetically inherited, or he could be a product of under-socialization with different types of people and situations when he was a puppy. He could be in a panic-stricken mind at the time of the bite.
A friendly but injured dog, he could suddenly become a fear biter depending on the circumstances. If you stop on the highway to rescue a dog that has been struck by a car, the dog may think that you are the one who hit him, rather than understand that you are there to rescue him.
A protective biter is one thatís unable to reason any farther than the fact that he feels the need to protect someone or something. Usually, the protective biter is in the group known as the working breeds. That is, dogs whose ancestors were originally bred to herd livestock or to protect properties and real estate. Most dogs have this protective instinct but it seems to manifest more predominantly within the working group.
Most dog bites occur on a dog's own property and the majority of these bites occur out of fear. The fear biter is protecting nothing but himself. He seldom goes out of his way to bite, anymore than any person would go out of his way to take a poke at a tiger. The fear biter will keep his distance, yapping and barking, and he may try to maneuver behind you to bite. Your first task is to attempt to make friends.
Get Eye-To-Eye With The Dog
The best way is to stop and kneel down so that you will be on his same level. You wonít give the appearance of being a giant and you will help to lessen some of the possible causes of the dogís fear. The fear biter will then apply3 senses that nature has provided him: His ears, his eyes, and the most important one of the three Ė his nose.
If you take the time to talk in a quiet, friendly, yet enthusiastic tone, he will be able to hear by your voice that you are neither aggressive nor angry. With his eyes, he can see that you are not walking toward him, and that you have knelt to his level. If you are carrying anything in your hands, like a bag, books, etc., you need to lay them on the ground for a moment. The fear biter may confuse these objects as possible weapons.
His third defense mechanism is his sense of smell. He will use this sense to pass judgment on you. The best thing you can do is to let him approach you, with his own time, and at his own speed. He will cautiously and slowly make his way to you. You can make it easier for the dog if you extend the back of your hand for him to smell.
Some people offer the palm of their hand, which is not a wise thing to do. If the dog has ever been struck, chances are it has been hit with an open hand. An open hand, therefore, signifies a weapon. Extend the back of your hand, below his eyes and never above his head.
When strange dogs meet on the street, they obligingly stand for scent identification. You should do the same when approaching strange dogs. After the fear biter has examined your scent and comes to the conclusion that heís not in any danger from you, he will normally back off and allow you to proceed, provided that you keep a safe distance from him. His agenda is not to bite or have a confrontation with you. Keep in mind that heís the one thatís scared here.
Do not give the impression that you are scared, even if you are. On the other hand, be careful not to show authority or dominance. Instead, let him know that you are willing to be his friend if thatís the way he wants the relationship to go. If he doesnít accept your offer of friendship by showing your outstretched hand, at least he knows that he has nothing to fear from you.
Remember to let him come to you, not the other way around. If he doesnít come, thatís fine too, just make sure that whatever movement you make, it is casual and slow. As you get up, continue talking in a friendly, gentle manner. Never force your attention on a dog thatís unwilling to come to you.
Never, Ever, Run Away!
The protective biter is something thatís altogether different than the indiscriminate biter and fear biter, The territorial instinct of the protective biter is inbred and he certainly cannot be blamed for what nature has given him. That is, unless he happens to be the spoiled dog who owns a favorite toy and dares any member of the family to even walk close to it.
It might even be a favorite rug in the kitchen or in the living room, and the dog is ready to fight anyone who comes near it. That type of protective biter needs some special training, rather than special understanding. He could seriously injure a family member before sufficient amounts of special understanding can be administered.
In the protective biter, certain instincts are alerted at the approach of a suspicious person or at the approach of a stranger who acts in a suspicious way. One of the most dangerous things a person can do when confronted with a protective biter is to run. That action alone is enough to trigger the protective biter to act.
In training guard dogs for protection work, a running ďvillainĒ is precisely the way such training starts. Here, too is where children often make a big mistake. They panic, run, and they get bitten as a result of this reaction. But if they stand perfectly still, the chances of them getting bit are greatly reduced and, most likely, eliminated altogether.
Since it is difficult to tell whether the dog confronting you is a protective biter, you must keep in mind to do nothing that could be interpreted by the dog as suspicious. Again, you should kneel down to the dogís level and let him come to you and be able to examine you. Let him decide at his own pace whether you are good or bad. This question may arise Ė can he actually smell that? Whether he can smell or merely sense it remains to be a mystery, but you can bet that heíll know.
You must never act scared in front of a protective dog. Even if your heart is beating fast and pumping adrenalin a gallon a minute, you must act in a nonchalant way and every movement you make must be natural.
In the case of the protective biter, slow, deliberate movements could very well be interpreted as suspicious movements by the dog. Think about a slow, apprehensive movement a burglar would be using as he sneaks into the night. This kind of movement may trigger the protective dog into aggressiveness.
By keeping all movements natural and by constantly talking to the dog in a warm, friendly and cheerful manner, you exhibit the appearance of confidence. You are showing the dog that you have nothing to hide and therefore, nothing to be scared of. To the protective dog, villains are always fearful, cowardly, distrustful, and reeking with badness. On the other hand, the good guy is always fearless, confident Ė but not dominant, and has nothing to hide.
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