GOOD BOY: Dog trainer Tenille Williams says rottweilers like Diesel get a bad rap.
GOOD BOY: Dog trainer Tenille Williams says rottweilers like Diesel get a bad rap. Eliza Goetze

Dog bites a daily danger as incidents in Bundaberg rise

AT LEAST one dog attack happens every day in the Bundaberg region - a figure that continues to rise.

Bundaberg Regional Council records show 411 dog attacks or incidents were reported in 2015, and 155 were reported between January and May this year.

That is more than double the number in 2010, when the council received just 196 complaints, while in 2011, the figure was about four attacks a week, or a little over 200 a year.

Last month, a 56-year-old man was taken to Gin Gin Hospital with bite wounds to his face after he was bitten by a dog at Bungadoo.

Dog trainer Tenille Williams, who runs Bundaberg business Dog Matters, said there were a lot of misconceptions around dog attacks - which were often preventable.

"Usually there's some sort of provocation," she said.

"Most aggression comes from fear or discomfort."

Most children who are attacked by dogs are 4 and under, Ms Williams said, and this is often because they don't understand how to behave around dogs.

In other situations, dogs might be approached by a stranger or protecting their property.

 

MYTH BUSTERS: Tenille Williams with 20-month-old rottweiler Diesel.
MYTH BUSTERS: Tenille Williams with 20-month-old rottweiler Diesel. Eliza Goetze

If a dog attacks you or you witness an attack, the key is to "stay really calm and move slowly".

"If you pull away, you encourage the dog to pull harder, like a game of tug."

People need more education on how to handle and raise a dog, she said.

"I meet a lot of people who don't see the signs," she said.

"We hear about dogs who attack without warning but I find that's really rare."

Body language gives away a dog's mood.

"The first thing is stiffening of the body; the dog tenses up and shuts their mouth," Ms Williams said.

"If it licks its lips, that means it's uncomfortable. All that comes before a growl or a snap."

Socialising your puppy was also important.

"A lot of people think it means playing with other dogs, but it encompasses getting used to other environments, sounds, and people of all shapes and sizes," Ms Williams said.

"If they're not exposed at a young age they will find it hard to deal with later in life."

It's not necessarily notorious breeds like pit bulls that were dangerous either, she said.

"Banning breeds is a slippery slope, and at the end of the day you'll still have dog bites," Ms Williams said.

"I like the Calgary model in Canada - they don't go by breeds, instead they punish the person for their dog's actions."



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