Just as humans have personalities and ways of
acting, so do animals. When you decide to adopt a dog, one of
the things youíll take into consideration is whether you want to
go for a passive quiet dog, an outgoing aggressive dog, or one
somewhere in between. If you need or want a guard dog, obviously
an aggressive type would be what youíd look for. If you have
young children or are elderly, a more passive breed would be
much better for your situation. When you start studying the
breeds, youíll know about general characteristics and once you
start actually meeting some dogs; youíll be able to evaluate
In the working world there are good reasons
to pick one over the other. If you are in law-enforcement or
security and employ a bomb sniffing dog, you definitely want one
who is willing to sit quietly by the suspected weapon, rather
than digging and pawing at it. If you need a dog for a K-9
police unit, he or she should be willing and able to chase and
bring down a criminal. Drug dogs are also on the aggressive side
as they learn to try and dig out the drugs they find. Those
adorable little Beagles that work for US customs are a
combination of both behaviours. They are assertive enough to
seek out fruits and vegetables, but their training has taught
them to just sit once they find them being smuggled or brought
in by mistake.
Most areas, at least in cities, have strongly
enforced leash laws, but there is always someone who doesnít
obey it or dogs that escape from their homes or leashes. Ideally
an aggressive dog should never set eyes on an innocent person
unless itís through a high chain-link fence. Too many of us have
found out the hard way that we should always expect the
unexpected. Far too many people are attacked each year and
severely injured or even killed. A lot of them are children. If
for some reason you think you must have an aggressive dog, be
sure that it canít attack an innocent person. Also be aware that
some of the ďscarierĒ breeds do sometimes make wonderful pets,
but they do have aggression in their heritage, and you never
know when it will surface. If for instance you have a
Rottweiler, Doberman Pincer, or Pit Bull, donít let children
unfamiliar with how to act around dogs anywhere near him unless
they are properly supervised.
What should you do if you are out for a
stroll or a run and suddenly find yourself confronted by an
angry looking aggressive dog? Your first instinct is to run (if
youíre not running already) but donít do it. If you are running
or jogging, slow way down and stop if the dog doesnít back off.
Donít engage in eye contact with the dog and donít make any
sudden movements that may be seen by him as aggression on your
part. Try being friendly using your best happy doggie voice.
Turn your hands palm side up and start telling him or her that
itís such a lovely and sweet dog. Do your very best not to show
how scared you actually are. With luck, the dog will believe you
and want to be friends. Spend another minute interacting and
then turn slowly and walk away. It may sound cruel but if you
know you are likely to have an experience such as this you may
want to start carrying pepper spray with you. Use it only as a
last resort, but you do have a right to protect yourself. Once
you are safe, report the problem to your local animal control so
they can investigate why the dog is running loose.
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