We were talking this week about dog bites, and how the American Veterinarian Association, the Centers for Disease Control and the Humane Society of the United States have deemed no dog breed more likely than another to bite a person.
That’s been on my mind this week for two reasons: the shelter where I just started volunteering has a policy where all pit bulls not reclaimed by their owners are put down, and because I watched a little girl interact with an anxious, hyper little terrier that was more likely to bite than any large dog I’ve ever met.
The little girl was crouched down to eye level with the little mutt trying to pet it, while the dog pulled on the leash, panting, teeth bared, claws scratching on the floor and the volunter walking the dog just standing there.
Then I saw this video, and thought it offered a perspective on dog bites that no one really thinks about. Understand, no one gets bit, and everyone is having a great time. That sheltie and that baby are having a blast, and it is very cute to watch.
But chances are you were only focusing on the laughing baby.
In the dog world, that kind of play excites the dog and at some point may escalate to some nipping and wrestling on the dog’s part, with no other intention from it but to have some more fun with his playmate.
In fact, when the sheltie goes in for a kiss toward the end I cringed, because a hyper sheltie moving quickly towards a baby’s face could end up with teeth connecting instead of its tongue. And if that happened, the baby gets bit and the dog gets in trouble. All because the owner was focusing more on the baby than the dog.
It just gives credence to the fact that dog bites aren’t always the fault of a dog. Owners who are ignorant of dog behavior are as much to blame.