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I drive a Fedex route and today I backed into a driveway where a male hound was barking and was apparently disturbed by my intrusion. As a hound owner (Lollypop, with whom some of you may be familiar) I was needles to say excited to greet a basset and see how he was doing and what all his bluster was about. I got out of the truck with my parcel while he barked away, but his hackles were not up, nor was he baring teeth so I thought he was just a verbose fellow. Perhaps I was overly demonstrative, but I bent down to greet him formally, and perhaps quell his ardor, when before I knew it he chomped down on my left ankle leaving a rather nasty and bloody canine tooth puncture. I was shocked. I grew up with golden's and bassets and have never been bitten by a dog (I'm 47). I confess I was disappointed that my biting debut was with a hound as I like to fantasize that all hounds are sweet and well mannered, as the best canine breed (in my opinion) should be. Oh well. I did call the owner (who was not home which may have played a large part) to see whether he was up to date on all his shots, which he was, so I 'm not worried about any possible unfortunate residual effects of the bite. The owner it turns out was as shocked as I, as his hound had never bitten anyone before, nor had he shown any inclination to do so. He is 12 years old and apparently a tad cantankerous, but that's nothing new, I've met many a cantankerous old hound. So what gives? Was he simply protecting his property? Was my approach too abrupt and assuming? I obviously wasn't showing any fear (maybe a little AFTER the bite). Should I have been more cautious? or am I simply on the wrong end of a basset in a bad mood?
 

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Oh Peter, I hope you are OK!

What did the basset do after he bit you?

I'll be interested to see what Mikey T has to say!

Take care and beware!
 

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I expect the Basset was just protecting his territory that you had 'invaded' temporarily as in my experience, it's unusual for a Basset to bite!

PS: Maybe instead of you bending down to the Basset, you should have lowered yourself down to his level, like I always do with children (on your kness maybe) and then you wouldn't have looked so large hovering above him!
 

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but I bent down to
bending at the waist is a threatening gester to most dogs especial from a stranger. Secondly the dog was teathered if you study bite statistics you will find most mites occur with teathered dogs there are a number of reason for this. 1. in a filght, fight response the do not have a flight option which only leaves fight. They are more subject to antagonistic behavior from human teasing , threats etc and from other dogs as well. There also is more fustration on the part of theathered dogs that can see something but not get to it etc.
You often find this in so called leash aggression in which a dog acts aggressivly to stranger or other dog when on leash but not off leash.


Tie dogs out
Not all dogs are completely comfortable around all strangers and even mild discomfort can be seriously compounded both by anxiety at being left and the tethered dog's inability to retreat. Passersby, especially children, may try to pat the unattended dog. This could result in an aggressive incident. Tied out dogs are also at increased risk to lunge at moving objects such as bicycles and skateboards, and may display frustration-related aggression towards other dogs who pass by, even if they are normally friendly toward other dogs.

TETHERING DOG CAN BE BIG MISTAKE

Studies have shown that tethering increases aggression in dogs. This aggression may be carried into situations other than tethering -- greeting strangers in the home, for example. There are three main problems with tethering. A dog that is tethered is feeling two instinctive responses immediately. One is a natural territorial defensiveness. She is protecting her property from would-be strangers. This does occur in fenced yards as well, but usually not to the same extreme. Another typical response is a personal defensiveness. This occurs because the dog is anchored, so to speak, and has lost the ability to flee in case of danger. The ``fight or flight'' response is very real and, by tethering a dog, you have inadvertently left it with only one choice, to ``fight.''
The final concern is that unless you are out with your pet the entire time it is tethered, your pup has no protection from outside forces, be they animal or human. I feel there is often miscommunication between dog and person in the best of situations. A tethered pet is the most susceptible to receiving mixed messages from strangers. This can lead to distrust of people. The tethered dog needs to learn how to greet strangers appropriately and not to be afraid of them. Tethering a shy or timid pup is a recipe for disaster. If a fearful pup is left without a means of escape, it often results in fear aggression and bite incidents. Timid dogs must be approached in a very submissive manner, and the average person has a very dominant approach in dog language.
Dog bite statistics for tethered dogs
Findings in the dog bite literature show an association between a dog being tethered and dog bite attack on a person, particularly a child who unwittingly approaches the tethered dog. This is been known for some time,


Being tied out tend to make dogs act more aggressively than they normally would. Dogs that are tied up outside usually means this is a normal state of affairs for that dog so it has had more chances to rehearse and prepare for aggressive actions, One must be exceedingly cautious and be well versed in doogie body lanquage and calming Signals


Humans Greeting Dogs, How not to get Bitten
Son, reach out your hand and let the dog sniff you before you pet him.” Yeow! This is a recipe for getting bitten. That’s right. Many people think that if they walk up to an unfamiliar dog and offer their out-stretched hand, the dog will respond in a friendly manner. Ha! I don’t know how this rumor got started, but we would all be much safer if we cease and desist this misguided and potentially dangerous activity.

...
In the United States, when people meet a stranger, they typically approach each other directly, then shake hands while making eye contact and show their teeth by smiling. That’s how we show each other that we are not a threat or an enemy, that we are polite, honest, and we understand social customs. Well, guess what? When you behave that way toward a dog you don’t know, you are sending the exact opposite message. You are simply saying that you are aggressive, threatening, and not to be trusted.


...When two dogs approach each other for the first time, they do not march directly up to each other face-to-face. They do not hold a vulnerable body part within striking distance of the other’s most dangerous weapon. They do not bare their teeth and gaze directly into the other dog’s eyes. Instead, they walk around each other in an arc, at some distance, then get closer as they circle. This gives each dog a chance to study the other and assess whether this meeting should or should not take place.
People should not force a dog to be approached or touched if it makes the dog uncomfortable. When you approach a dog and reach out your hand, you are forcing yourself into that dog’s personal space. If the dog is uneasy, you could be bitten.


11 Tips for Greeting a Strange Dog



IMHO one of the big faux Paux that get children bit is hugging dogs. Most dogs even very freindly ones are not comfortable with it it an an extremely threatening gester in doggie lanquage. Some dogs can become corfortable with it over time from specific people but it is not common that one is so welcoming of a stranger doing so.

Hugging Dogs
I'm confused about hugs for dogs... there have been references to Turid Rugaas' statement that dogs don't like to be hugged, and that we shouldn't hug them.
What Turid Rugaas has "observed," Patricia McConnell and others have studied and theorized about. In "The Other End of the Leash." (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!) McConnell explains it this way:
We, as primates, have arms with which to hug one another, and hugging is found in all primate species (ape, chimp, etc.) as an expression of love, endearment, support, or as a gesture of mutual fear or sadness. So humans naturally think of hugging as an expression of positive or supportive emotions.
Canines, on the other hand, being quadrupeds, do not have free "arms" and thus have evolved to have no understanding of a "hug."

...Placing a head or paws on top of another dog are also often assertions of dominance, which, if not accept submissively by the other dog, can turn into ritualized aggression. There are other common canine expressions of dominance that resemble aspects of a human hug, such as leaning, where an assertive or dominating dog will lean on another dog to make it move.
Bending over at the waist , reaching around the back of the dogs head, hugging are all possible preluded to the dominance/threatening act of the paw or head over the back gester that is general not welcom unless the dog clearly understands it is part of play.

Maybe instead of you bending down to the Basset, you should have lowered yourself down to his level, like I always do with children (on your kness maybe) and then you wouldn't have looked so large hovering above him!
Definately, but attempting a greating with a strange dog that is not calm is a mistake, Also aproach in an arc not head on, end up side by side with the dog not facing it, get down to the dog level by squating/kneeling pet the chest not reaching over the back of the dogs head. This off course is not meant to assess blame as clearly can be shown tether can certainly be a contributing factor. Olso tether dogs tend to be the least cared for most neglected so it is difficult to seperate the two. whether theathering itself is contributor or the lack of training and socialization are the reason. Most likely a little/lot of both.
 

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My Grace was a bit stanoffish to strangers but once we accepted you so did she . The one person she hated was the Guy who checked out the electric meter.He had to come inside our fence and then inside a covered porch to read the meter,he wore a uniform,a tan color.I know dogs do not see colors the way we do but I always wondered if it had something to with her hatred of him. He would bring her treats she would never accept them even if he threw them over the fence,seemed like a really nice guy.I would have to come out and take her in the house. I know she would have bit him. I never saw her act towards another person the way she acted towards him. No one will know what the dog was thinking when he bit you.
 

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Without being able to observe the behavior of yourself and the dog it's impossible to say exactly what the problem was, but certainly having an invader on his property, while his owner was not home, and also being a senior with probably diminished eyesight and/or hearing and possibly some arthritis (pain) could all be contributing factors.

Unfortunatly, most people, especially nowadays, are not sufficiently able to read a dog's body language to understand what it is telling them.

It just emphasizes the point that one should not pet a strange dog without asking the owner first.

Regarding tethering: There is now thought that it is not tethering per se that causes aggression, but the fact that constantly tethered dogs are also frequently subject to neglect and lack of socialization and training. Rather like the old argument that unneutered dogs were more likely to bite, it is not because they are unneutered but because, in this society, people who do not do the "responsible" thing by neutering are also likely to neglect the other responsibilties of dog ownership, such as socializing, training, and not allowing the dog to roam at large. Correlation is not causation in either case.
 

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Mikey is also correct about the dog being tied.If the owner is not there to settle the dog down first then I wouldn't touch it at all. Bending at the waist is a no-no,I will crouch to make my self less overwhelming to the dog but if the dog is still radically barking and not curious I won't touch. You just need to think out the situation a bit more no matter if it is a hound.
 

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I was bitten several times by my family's cocker spaniel growing up, a few painful lessons on respecting a dog's space and belongings and reading behavior. I was only about 6 or 7 and my parents wanted to put her down because of it but I threw a royal fit and we ended up keeping her into old age.

Mikey is correct that it is widely accepted that there is a correlation between tethering and biting. Personally I don't understand the point of having a dog if you're just going to leave them either tied up to a tree outside or in a dog run 24/7.

Some dogs are just quirky. I'm 90% sure if someone entered our yard and my Harley was outside someone could get bit. He's not a mean dog, but definitely feels it's his job to guard our house with his life. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
 

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I was bitten several times by my family's cocker spaniel growing up,
FWIW when bite statistics are analysed not for severity ie lethal bites cocker spanial rate at the top or near the top of the list when comparing bites to breed population.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Important to know the hound was NOT tethered. He was free on property within the e-fence. I suspect, as many of you suggest, that he was just irritable and protective. I won't hold it against him!! BTW, I was prescribed antibiotics for 5 days which I'll take just in case. Thanks for all your response! Hope I'm not throwing gas on the fire, but if I get another delivery to that house I'll be curious to see how he reacts (and keep my distance). I hate annoying anyone or anything and my natural tendency is to want to make friends with him. Most likely I'll never deliver there again though. If I do I'll let you all know what transpires!

Love and drool.
 

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Sorry to hear about your experience, but glad you have a nice basset to cuddle up with at home, who won't bite you. Great pics of Lollypop, btw, she is a cutie!

Nothing much to add about why?? except animals aren't 100% predictable and their actions are not always foreseeable... but then again, neither are humans... the baby kind nor the adult ones...!

bummer you got bitten, but glad to hear you are taking the antibiotics (the infections one can get from dogs can get quite nasty....)
 

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Important to know the hound was NOT tethered. He was free on property within the e-fence
e-fence present some but not all of the same challenges of teathering in that the dog can be a bit more on guard and easily arroused because it knows it filght is limited and has more access to the same harassment as teathering because the advatange of a traditional fence is besides keeping the dog in it prevents two and four leggers from harassing the dog as well.

{quote] pretty much any behavioral study, causation is essentially unobtainable. There are too many uncontrollable factors to be able to rule them out. [/quote]

that is highly variable. A study can be designed to rule out cause or atleast account for them. The other thing is the immedecy for the Stimulus to the behavior. Things like does tug of war cause aggression, long time frame. Does hitting the dog cause it to react aggressively short time frame so a the cause is more absolute.

there are a lot more serious problems and how statistics are used and abuse in behavioral studies that are of more concern to me . Like studies based on surveys of owners introduces a lot problems etc. That said when the results are overwelming even with the problems there is still a much better chance the results are factual than some more marginal results.

When it comes to behavior we can never say for certain what causes a behavior. but we do not what can influence and make it more likely. Say the studies od aggressive act by human to a dog makeiking it more likely the dog reacts aggressively. In no case were most of the dogs acting aggressively if the human did. But the the odds of them accting aggressively were significantly highet than when the human did not which lead to conclusion aggressive act by human directed at dogs can cause the dog to react aggesively it is not disputeable. Does not mean it will only that it is more likely.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
As disappointed as I may have been that a hound bit me, a hound lover, I am nonetheless impressed that a basset can be so committed to protecting house, home and property. Way to go Dunkin! (hounds name) kick my ass! Now, back to Lollypop who is decidedly not aggressive.
 
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