Last week, the Whole Dog Journal issued the following as their "Tip of the Week" that I felt was very much worth sharing. Sorry for no direct link to the tip, but it's an email newsletter and I can't find it specifically online. But their sentences sum up a huge frustration over the media reporting of dog bite incidents and why experts in canine behavior are important resources vs just news sites or people without expertise.
"Almost every "Dog Mauls Toddler" headline is followed by an article that includes, among other things, these two phrases:
"1.'The dog was always good with children' and
"2.'the bite was unprovoked".....
"With the very rare exception of idiopathic aggression -- aggression for which there is no discernible cause - every bite is provoked from the dog's perspective. We, as humans, may feel the bite wasn't justified or appropriate, but rest assured the dog felt justified in biting. In many cases the provocation is pretty apparent from the news article: the do was kept on a chain, the dog had a litter of puppies, the toddler was left outside in the back yard with a dog who had just been fed. In each case, the dog was stressed beyond his ability to control his bite.
"Raise your stress awareness. Examine news reports about dog attacks to see if you can identify possible stressors and provocation in each incident. Then be sure to protect your own dog from these potential bite-causing circumstances."