Petcast: Dog Bites on the Rise with Dr. Debra Horwitz


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The great thing about the Petcasts is getting the opportunity to go deep with true experts and to talk about important topics.

Why might serious dog bites be on the rise, and what can be done about it? Listen HERE to this WGN Radio Petcast with veterinary behaviorist Dr. Debra Horwitz, co-author of Decoding Your Dog (with Dr. John Ciribassi and Steve Dale).

For starters, is it really a good idea to hug your dog? National Hug Your Dog Day may not be a good idea. Dr. Horwitz points out data from a study about people who have hugged their dog.  In 81 percent of photos of dogs being hugged, images show dogs in actually in some degree of stress, and Dr. Horwitz explains what that looks like. And about only seven percent of hugged dogs were clearly enjoying the hug with the remainder appearing neutral.

Dr. Horwitz isn’t saying to never hug the dog but she is talking about what Fear Free supports, and that is consent – and explains what that is all about. And she says Fear Free is “wonderful.” And she explains why movement is transformational.

People sometimes hug growling dogs to soothe them – but this can actually be a dangerous mistake. These dogs aren’t saying “kiss me,” like a human child is; that growl means go away.

The notion that we’re the boss and dogs must submit to what we want is also be a dangerous mistake.

Sometimes dogs respond angrily – even when we’re surprised – only because they aren’t feeling well.

Dr. Horwitz says what she thinks the best thing for her is about dogs – what do you think?