Guest Column: Dog bites

Guest Column: Dog bites

By Denise Guzzardo

There has been a tremendous amount of press lately regarding aggressive dogs and what is to be done about them. Any pet owner should take into consideration that they need to protect their dogs’ safety by keeping them in a contained area or on a chain or leash at all times.

I have raised and trained dogs for more than 22 years in various degrees and disciplines. I can’t remember when I did not own a dog. There have been times when my youngest German shepherd has found a way to Houdini her way out of my fence. Fortunately, it appears we have resolved that problem for now. However, with so much negative press about loose dogs, I’ve noticed none of the media have touched on good dog “common sense.” I have witnessed some of the most idiotic behavior with people around dogs on lead. It’s astounding more dog bites are not prevalent in this area.

I have been on the bike path with my 115-pound German shepherd walking her on leash, and I’ve had joggers rush up on me without the courtesy of a “behind you” or “to the left of you,” and bicyclers show the same disrespect. Use your heads, people! Run up behind a 100-pound woman with a loyal dog like a purse snatcher and see what happens. My dog is expertly trained and would not take a bite without a command. What is she supposed to think when you approach me that way?

Loose dogs, bad idea. I do not agree with this at all. However, some breeds are more prone to chase a bicycle or jogger because of the motion and activity you’re involved in. I have owned herding dogs all my life—Old English sheepdogs, collies and shepherds. In many cases, they are not after you or “mad” at you—it’s the motion or activity that’s activating their natural prey drive to do their job. Screaming and running only kicks it in more. Next thing you know, they are making contact with a bite, and the dog’s in big trouble; so is the owner.

I am not implying that the situations in the Rockford area with loose aggressive dogs are over-exaggerated. The owner should love and protect their pet from harm if they are taking on the responsibility of dog ownership. I just wish that someone within the media would do a story on “good dog” common sense and safety with people who do love and respect their K-9 companions.

Denise Guzzardo writes an astrology column for The Rock River Times.

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