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  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.

« Dog Behavioral Health Through The Shelter Process | Main | Creative Reinforcements »

March 18, 2009


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I have a little dog that is too protective of me and bites at people feet if they come to close to me. I thought it was kinda funny until my best friend told me she hated coming to my place because of the way Buster would run after her. Anyway I saw this article with tips for preventing dog bites. Thought it might be helpful.


I don't own a dog, but I was bit by a dog when crossing a heavy pedestrian street in San Francisco. I tripped on the sidewalk and lunged forward only to have a startled dog come up to me and bite. I know it was a fear reaction, but I was bitten and it freaked me out. Took me a long time to get past a large dog without a little bit of fear.

Trade and Travel

thank you

you have nice blog !

Tamara Follett

Are dog bites increasing, or decreasing? --We frequently get asked this question. The short answer is that we're just not sure.
As stated in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) website report, "CDC releases epidemiologic survey of dog bites in 2001”, Dr. Julie Gilchrist of the Dangerous Dogs division of the AVMA stated, “There are enormous difficulties in collecting dog bite data... no centralized reporting system for dog bites exists and bites are typically relayed to a number of entities, such as police, veterinarians, animal control, and emergency rooms, making meaningful analysis nearly impossible.”
Perhaps that's why the results from our 2004-2007 Dangerous Dogs Investigation stand in stark contrast to the CDC's recent results. Our findings suggest that dog bites are increasing, rather than decreasing or remaining static.
During our 3-year investigation, we found that the vast majority of dog bites go unreported, likely because society as a whole does not yet realize that small bites often lead to big bites, (i.e., a dog that has learned that an act of aggression achieves its objective will resort to using its teeth to achieve success in the future, typically with an increase in the intensity of aggression exhibited as confidence is gained).

In most cases, victims and witnesses did not report minor bites unless and until a more serious bite had occurred. Owners tended to excuse and justify even severe bites from their own dogs. One dog ripped his owner's ear off and the owner had his brother, a cosmetic surgeon, sew it back on. The bite was never reported, and the owner shrugged off the vicious attack as, "It's my fault -- he was tired of me hugging him." This is an extreme case of a pervasive tendency for owners to minimize or justify even severe acts of aggression.
We confirmed that in the vast majority of Dog Bite-Related Fatalities, previous acts of aggression and even other bite incidents had preceded the attack. This is consistent with what the CDC found in their study Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the United States Between 1979 and 1998, “…problem behaviors (of dogs and owners) have preceded attacks in a great many cases, and should be sufficient evidence for preemptive action.”

We found that the majority of dog bite victims who were friends or family of the dog's owner did not report the bite as such because they didn't want their dog, or their friend's dog, to "get in trouble". We found this to be the case, even if the bite was severe enough for the victims to seek treatment at a hospital. In these cases, bites were frequently reported as injuries from a variety of falls, (off bikes, down stairs, in the woods, etc).
We found that veterinarians, vet-techs, groomers, boarding kennels, and trainers were experiencing an increase in dog bites which they rarely reported as such because they did not want to alienate clients.  
Finally, it was also our experience that people have less free time now and are thus socializing and training their dogs less, and that this is likely contributing to the observed increase in dog bites. But again, without a centralized repository of dog bite information, conclusive data on the number and type of bites occurring is simply not available.

For more information on the corrective actions identified during our three-year Dangerous Dogs Investigation, please see the 7-Step Dangerous Dog Risk Mitigation Protocol available at no cost from our websites:, and

Tamara Ann Follett
Dog-Trax North America
Event Host: 1st World Congress on Mitigating the Risks of Dangerous Dogs

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