As a lifetime dog owner, I recently sat down to investigate the answers to a couple of questions that rose during a conversation with some good friends, who are also long time dog owners. During the conversation, a lively debate ensued over whether it made sense to have leash laws. While the various stances taken on this subject are interesting (and quite intense as I found out), I thought I would instead set out to research some of the sticking points which surfaced during the conversation.
What do dogs and kids have in common? One answer that could be given is they are both typically shorter than most adults and can be behave impulsively at times. Actually, the real question was whether friendly dogs could and have bitten children. The really hard part in answering this question was defining the subjective ‘friendly’ aspect. While there’s little debate that very few people die from dog attacks in the US, there appears to be a number of dog bite claims in any given year. While most of the statistics I could find pointed to the majority (> 60%) of dog bites occurring to children, it was hard to determine how many of the bites occurred from the teeth of a friendly dog, otherwise known as a dog with a responsible owner. So, while the ultimate question can’t be certified with statistics per say, the bottom line seems to be each reader’s belief in whether the opening question and subsequent answer is truly fact or fiction.
What is the safest thing to do when running past an unleashed dog? As a devoted runner, I have a vested interest in knowing what the experts recommend, and while the first question left some grey area to be explored, I was unable to find much variance while researching this question on the Internet. The unanimous suggestion by runners and dog owners alike all pointed to slowing down to a walk or stopping, if pursued by a dog while running. Most articles on this subject suggest doing things to make the dog uninterested if the pursuit continues or becomes aggressive, such as looking away and rolling up into a ball on the ground.
Leaving the original debate for the local representatives to hash out, the research resulted in some fascinating information on this subject, and knowing that many of the regular subscribers of this blog are dog owners, I’m curious to see if any comments surface on this subject. As for me, I’ll be sleeping sound knowing the king (or just Joe, as we like to call him) is protecting the house.