In the UK, approx. as many as 1 in 4 households have dogs.
Around 250,000 dog bites occur in the UK EVERY YEAR, and despite the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, that number is increasing.
Here are some facts about dogs that you might want to consider before you open the gate:-
The average dog can run at around 20 miles per hour (that’s 9 metres per second). The fastest is the greyhound at 45mph (20m per second)
An Olympic sprinter over 100m runs briefly at 25 mph
Mr Joe Average - 10-13 mph over the same distance
Bite pressure can vary –
Chihuahua with a bite of approx 4lb per sq inch
Rottweiler with a hefty bite pressure of 313lb psi.
Most typically a Labrador bite pressure is about 125 lb psi
Often, its not size that matters, in a list complied on the most aggressive dogs. What breeds do you think came top?
1st - Dachshunds
2nd - Chihuahuas
3rd - Jack Russell
4th - Cocker Spaniel
5th - The Beagle
Encounter a Dachshunds statically you have a 1 in 5 chance of them biting, There is a even 1 in 12 chance that they would bite their owner!
Its not size.. or reputation that counts..
In fact the breeds most people see as being aggressive - Rottweiler’s and German Sheppard’s came in 15th and 17th respectively.
In the same report it documented that 92% of bites were perpetrated by unneutered or unspayed animals – but I advise you not to try to check the dog for this…
Any idea what the least aggressive dogs were found to be?
Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Poodles, Grey Hounds, Whippets, Husky’s
Tip –They can pick up on subtle body language and they can literally smell fear
So they run fast and can bite hard, but what other advantages do they have?
Well, their eyesight is better than ours-they have greater movement detection and peripheral vision and can also see a wider angle –(they have a 250 degree field of vision compared with our 180 degree view)
...and contrary to popular belief –they do see colour.
Their hearing is more acute also, everyone knows that they have a wider decibel hearing range but they can filter different noises and most can direct their ears towards the sound source.
It was found in tests most dogs have a hearing range of 250 meters (most people cannot hear a talking voice beyond 25 -30m)
So not only can they see you sooner but can hear you too
I forgot to mention … they probably can also smell you coming as well .. I’m not being personal but most dogs can smell 20 -40 times better than we can and some can be trained to smell chemicals diluted to 1 part in a trillion -that equates to 10,000 -200,000 times better, than the best of us.
So, if you do have a pet at home – cat or dog , (or have visited one recently) - they will know. They can tell from the smell on your clothes: your pet’s gender, age and condition. And they may react to this!
So as long as you are behind that gate you are fine?
Sorry … wrong !
Consider that dogs are very good at jumping too –a greyhound in the USA last year did a straight jump of 5ft 8’ with most dogs being able to scale 5 -6ft fences with ease..
So what can I do…
Best thing is always ring ahead and ask to get the dog put away in an enclosed room that you won’t need to go into.
If you are working around dogs be aware that the reasons for aggressive attacks are usually :-
Fear– They see you as a direct threat to them or their dominant position Protection aggression– towards the owner, territory , food or their toys – any movement towards these may be miss- construed as an aggressive act.
Take the owners word for it.. “ he’s very friendly he’s never bitten anyone”
“he won’t hurt a fly” , “She’s just barking, she wont hurt you”
Assume that because you have a dog that things will be fine... dogs react in different ways to different people and gestures
Assume small dogs won’t bite –as we’ve seen they do
Most of the time dogs are fine – but please don’t take the risk