This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. As I edit a scene in the forthcoming Dangerous Deeds, I’m reminded that many people assume it’s always the dog’s fault. Even more often, people assume specific types of dogs are aggressors and push to enact breed specific legislation. Like the AKC, my character Maggie Porter will tell you that breed bans don’t address the real issues of owner responsibility and training. (Read the AKC issue analysis here.)
Having been bitten as a small child I can personally testify it’s a scary experience, but in my own case I was the guilty party. I put myself and the dog at risk. Thinking back, I’d agree with dog trainer Victoria Stillwell’s assertion that many dog bites are the result of “a perfect storm of situation and circumstance and environment.” She reminds us to focus on the behavior, not the breed. Here’s the entire clip, which I found posted to the AKC website:
This fact sheet, courtesy of the AKC, highlights key facts and statistics we should all know:
Education and awareness, combined with basic common sense, can help prevent dog bites. The scar on my right arm is a daily reminder to respect dogs and take responsibility for your own behavior.
Take the time today to share this information with your family and friends. And remember: focus on behavior, not the breed!