“Sometimes even friendly dogs turn bad”…. Really?

So, I have seen this commercial many, many times over the last… I don’t know, 3 years, and it has continued to bother me and really just rub me the wrong way.  The implication in this commercial is extremely frustrating and somewhat fear-mongering.  I think my feelings toward this commercial have becoming increasingly volatile but even my initial viewing yielded some uneasy feelings.  So, what are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear what you guys think about the commercial–listen to the words they use and the language they use (the pop up comments are on the youtube video not the tv commercial).

I want to hear what everyone has to say about this video before I give you my take (tomorrow)–but here are the phrases that stood out to me and have really grated on my nerves recently.

“…but sometimes even friendly dogs turn bad and someone is hurt…”

“If you are someone you care about have been the innocent victim of a dog bite…”

Leave a comment, drop me an email, post on my facebook… whatever works but let me know what you think about this commercial that has been run FREQUENTLY for about 3 years or so.


About Success Just Clicks

I'm a dog trainer and enthusiast who moonlights as a blogger and custom tug-toy maker.
This entry was posted in Dog Behavior, dog bite, Dog Handler Information and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to “Sometimes even friendly dogs turn bad”…. Really?

  1. Tucker's Mom says:

    I don’t even really know how to articulate my feelings about this commercial … but the best way I can describe it is that it prompted a very visceral feeling of “ick.” Not only am I sick to death of commercials of this same ilk that are bombarding us on a daily basis … “Were you walking down the street and a pigeon flew over and pooped in your eye? Call experienced pigeon and dove litigator Columbo Livia at 1-800-NOMOREPOOP today! He won’t rest until every last pigeon has been blasted out of the sky!”

    It’s just gotten so pervasive … and now this? I think it’s disgusting, and it also is going to make it even harder for so-called “bad breeds” to find homes. No matter how well-trained, gentle, well-socialized, etc. etc. your bully breed, GSD, Rott, etc. is, with messages like this hitting the general public all the time, fewer and fewer people will want to pay the escalating insurance premiums, etc. that fear mongering like this make necessary.

    • Agreed…this particular lawyer has commercials on ALL the time and that alone is annoying but the content of this particular commercial is really troublesome. More on what I think about it tomorrow.. but we are certainly on the same page!

  2. I’m in the UK so have not seen this before. Thankfully, as yet, although we get the compensation type ads we’ve not had one on this subject.

    The whole ad makes me feel uncomfortable. No understanding of why a dog may bite but then isn’t that pretty much the same across the board?

    One thing they did get right is how the cartoon dog seems to visibly flinch when the stoopid man reaches out and touches him on the head.

  3. Jodi Stone says:

    Generally I would argue there are no INNOCENT victims of dog bites; if a dog does bite it is because someone did not understand or they ignored the dogs signals to leave them alone. I would NEVER leave a child alone with my dogs even though my dogs are usually gentle.

    I was at a party once where the adults were all outside drinking (not me) and they left the kids alone with the dog. Sometime after midnight I ended up driving one boy (I think about 4 years old) and his mother to the hospital because the dog had tore into the boy’s face. The fact it was his face tells me the kid was in the DOG’S face. Still the owner’s destroyed the dog very shortly after the attack.

    On the other hand, I was walking by an apartment complex one day when this little dog came running out towards me, I decided the best way to deal with it was to ignore the dog and keep walking. He bit me on the back of my heel. (Now I know why they call them “ankle biters”. To this day I couldn’t tell you what I did that caused that dog to bite.

    Even ‘friendly’ dogs can feel threatened or scared and will use whatever they can to warn people “hey, don’t do that” “don’t come near me” and yet people still ignore the signs. Sad, very sad.

    • I’ll talk more about it later.. i think there are very rare instances of idiopathic aggression where dogs over react (bite) without giving much warning in response to a completely neutral stimulus (or something that has happened many times). I LOVE your last sentence (i’m not going to lie, I have a very similar sentence in the post for tomorrow as it is now)!

      My guess on the little dog is that you being near its home (the apt i’m guessing) and he was concerned about that or was protecting his space…. it’s like dogs who fence fight.. he was fence fighting without the fence (which is SCARY).

  4. I greatly enjoy reading your blog and you are right on about pretty much everything you write. This idea of “any” dog can bite is one I’ve been discussing a lot recently, too.

    There was an article a few weeks ago in our San Diego paper about dog bites – trying to jump on sensationalizing a couple of pit bull bites. However, if someone just did the math on the statistics they quoted, it mentions 2,434 reported bites and the fact that this is a significant increase. You’d have to read more and pull out a calculator to see that those number of bites, if assumed to be from different dogs, mean that 99.5% of the county’s dogs did NOT bite anyone that year. (If there are 140,00 licensed dogs, but 70% of dogs are unlicensed, there is an estimated 140,000/.3 = 466,667 dogs. 2434 bites divided by 466,667 dogs = .5% of the county’s dogs had a reported bite that year.)

    So, while the sub heading the article used of “All Dogs Can Bite” is true, what is that really supposed to mean when 99.5% of the dogs did not bite (at least not enough to be reported)? I think there should be a clear focus on the situations where dogs actually DO bite hard enough to cause serious injury and work to prevent those circumstances (not just the bite provocation but the development of the need to bite that was going on long before). I have a blog post cooking on that but won’t get to it for a few more weeks.

    I think the fear mongering is akin to the TSA approach of “anyone” can be a threat so why bother trying figuring out who actually IS a threat.

    Interestingly, too, a recent discussion by Kenneth Philips, a lawyer who specializes in dog bites, mentioned that in the 2,000+ cases he’s handled, every single one was where the owner knew the dog was in a position to bite (due to illness/injury or previous incidents).

    • Can I just pause for a moment and say that EVERYONE should go read your blog! I have lurked for quite some time… don’t comment too frequently but am a regular reader and find it awesome. Prior to losing my job and changing careers I was a teacher and then a 4-H educator in NY working with kids from 3-19 and the mistakes I saw parents make handling their dog and children was actually quite scary. It was equally as scary watching some of the teenagers interact with dogs (not their own)…

      Really a great comment and fantastic job looking at the flip side of that seemingly large number of bites. Although math is honest… people tend to skew that math with language and the big picture gets lost. You make a great GREAT point that I was going to hit on tomorrow that it’s not just the ONE instance where the dog bit but what happened in the months or years leading up to the bite.

      I really consider almost all dog bites as human error… a mix match of owners being irresponsible and people not reading dogs well (or worse yet people really taunting the dog etc)…what stinks is that majority of the time it’s a kid who suffers the most…. but more on this tomorrow.

  5. I don’t have cable, and things like this make me glad I don’t. There is a real lack of education and respect on how dogs feel and how to avoid reactive ones. Looking forward to reading your take on the commercial.

  6. On the subject of statistics a friend of mine recently went to get a tetanus shot after her dog accidentally caught her with a tooth whilst playing. I told her that I hoped she realised that she was adding to the recorded dog bite numbers. 😉 I’m sure I read somewhere that any accident involving a dog is recorded as a dog bite. So if you trip over him and break your leg he may just have well have bitten you.

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