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« Canine Legislatioin Conference Speaker Review | Main | Canine Legislation Conference Speaker Review - Bill Bruce »

September 26, 2007

Comments

morgan

I hate that, people seem to focus on pit bulls because they are scared of there muscles!
My son got bit by my mother inlaws goldenretriever nothing serious but that dog is seeing a trainer now!
Its not the dogs fault because hes not well socialized!
Like that lab that bit that kid in ks last week, people just asume that because their dog is not a pit bull they wont have a problem (WAKE UP)!!!!!!!!!

Jim Crosby

Hi Brent:
I am currently making plans to go up to NC on the latest fatality. Of course, it matches the usual formula; kid unsupervised, dogs chained up. And still folks give me a hard time when I say that chaining is related to fatalities....I am not sure what the cause and effect relationship is, but the data speaks for itself and we can't ignore it. I'll keep you posted on what I find.

Brent

Jim,

Please let us know if you find anything interesting. You obviously know way more about this than I do...but it doesn't appear to me that it takes much of an effort to see a negative correlation between chained dogs and unsupervised children. It does seem like the classic formula.

Michelled

That is great news Jim!

Marjorie

The correlation between chaining and aggression/attacks is primarily three-fold:

1. Lack of socialization.
2. "Spatial restriction-induced aggression."
3. Inadequate supervision.

1. Many of those who habitually tether their dogs are also the kinds of people who don't adequately socialize their dogs (through daily walks in the community, trips to off-leash dog parks and/or dog clubs, and other forms of socialization with people and other animals).

**Virtually all dogs involved in unprovoked attacks are those which are poorly socialized.

2. Any form of physical restraint (tethers, leashes, cages, fences, etc.) can cause a condition known as "frustrative aggression," "frustration aggression," or "spatial restriction-induced aggression." In short, in light of the fact that dogs are extremely social creatures (and it is unnatural for them to be alone), this form of aggressive behaviour develops due to repeated failed attempts to gain social contact (often with associated negative reinforcement, such as being choked, the owner yelling at the dog, or other forms of punishment), where the anxiety and frustration builds to the point aggression develops.

Tethering, specifically, can lead to a number of other forms of aggression (i.e. territoriality, resource guarding, etc.), due to the confined nature of the tether area, in addition to the other contributing factors listed above.

**Many attacks occur at a time when the biting dog was spatially restricted, and can't flee, even if it wished to do so. (When dogs feel threatened in some way, they will choose to flee or fight. When they can't flee, they may feel they only have one option remaining.)

3. Dogs are pack animals, and they look to their pack leaders to know how to behave at any given time. Their leaders tell them when it's time to eat, sleep, play, or feel threatened. When there's no leader around, dogs must draw their own conclusions. As such, unsupervised dogs are left to make their own decisions, with sometimes tragic consequences for both dogs and people.

**The overwhelming majority of dog bites occur when the dog was not being properly supervised by its adult owner.

A dog doesn't automatically develop aggressive behaviours the first time it is tethered. But the above factors play a role, in varying degrees.

For example, the classic case is the habitually-tethered, unsocialized dog attacking a child who wanders over to it unsupervised. Check off all three factors above.

But many dogs with no (successful) biting history have also bitten when their owners left them tied in front of a store. While these always turn out to be dogs that were no strangers to aggressive behaviours (like growling or lungeing), the bite seems to be primarily caused by the dog's inability to flee what it perceived as a stressful situation, and the lack of direction that could have been afforded the dog, had the owner been there to supervise.

To summarize, unsupervised tethering is a dangerous practice. Supervised tethering tends to lead to fewer problems because, by it's nature, tends to reduce the amount of time the dog is tethered, and the owner is their to guide the dog's conduct appropriately.

I don't tether...ever. However, if people feel they "must" tether, they need to keep it short and supervise the dog the entire time it is tethered. No excuses.

There is a substantial difference in the dog's experience when comparing tethering a dog alone, for two hours, while the owner goes off to run errands; and tethering the dog because the owner doesn't have a fenced yard and is still working on obedience training, and chooses to tether the dog near him/her while out gardening.

MichelleD

Our last AC, Mike Schumaker vetoed an anti-tethering ordinance because "we like to see them tethered because at least they're contained". He thought the "no pit bull balls allowed" rule was more effective because the reaon KCMO has so many pit bulls bites is because we have so many pit bulls. Therefore, reducing the population will reduce the number of bites. Yeah, it would be funny if it weren't so astonishingly ignorant.

Michelled

I do want to state that at this point I do not want an anti-tethering in KCMO. When you have a AC dept that routinely returns severly abused animals to their owner and only answers 20% of their AC calls, you have bigger issues to address first.

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