What About Kids Teasing A Dog By Barking At It?
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Provocation: Most dog laws allow a dog to attack a person, without penalty, if the person provoked the dog. Teasing incites anger in people, and it incites aggression in dogs. Teasing is animal abuse.
This is why kids and dogs should always be supervised. In addition, it is important that adults act as good role models for kids when around dogs. Parents that teach kids it is OK to bark at dogs are setting their kids up for serious injuries or death.
Barking: Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. One reason they bark is to warn others that they are not liking what is going on, and that if things get pushed too far, they will attack.
So, what is a dog to interpret from a human acting in a threatening manner towards them? They don’t think it is funny. They won’t understand that you enjoyed that video you saw on YouTube about the barking dog. Instead they will feel challenged and threatened. And a full blown attack can occur.
Dog Attacks: Attacks by dogs on children can be fatal. Attacks usually go for the face, and it isn’t unusual for the child to be decapitated by the dog.
Teasing is provocation for an attack. That’s the way the dog is seeing it. It isn’t a joke. It is against the law.
A True Story Of Teasing: I know of a boy that went up to a sleeping Golden Retriever and blew his breath in it’s face as a joke. The dog awakened… AND TORE THE FACE OFF OF THE BOY. The dog was not put down, and the owners of the dog weren’t penalized. The boy lived next door to a student of mine. This boy was regularly seen around the neighborhood before the attack. They said after the attack, they never saw the boy outside the home any more. The owners of the dog weren’t prosecuted, either. The teasing was a provocation, and that was tough luck for that kid and his parents.
Animal Behavior: If your family had a farm with pigs, horses, or cattle, you’d be especially careful to teach your children to leave those animals alone and to treat them respectfully. A sow would attack and kill your child if he climbed into the pig pen and started teasing the piglets. A horse could kick a child and kill it if it messed with a colt. Cattle will gather into a group to trample and gore a child that messed with a calf. A bull in heat would charge and kill a child that came too close. And so forth. Animals are NOT to be messed with, and that includes dogs. If I lived on a farm with kids, I’d do whatever I had to do to train my kids to leave the animals in peace, and if that meant swatting them on the butt, or time outs, or whatever… I’d do what it took to make sure they obeyed my rules. I’d do it for their safety. That is also true with dogs. You can’t mess with a dog and expect it to just take whatever you dish out, and that includes kids.
What You Should Do: Kids that tease dogs by barking are making those dogs angry. If the kids are yours, you need to really clamp down on it. If the kids aren’t yours, such as neighbor kids, then you need to realize your dogs are going to become more and more aggressive towards those kids. Get your dogs away from these kids, and make them safe from those kids using fencing, better supervision, and so forth. And you need to find the parents of those kids and talk to them about the dangers. I’d also document it, by installing motion detection cameras and other surveillance devices. Because one of those brats could one day try to physically make contact with your dog, and your dog might then maul them. You need proof that your dog’s were being taunted, otherwise you might find yourself going to prison for something that wasn’t your fault.
Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.