• Lestre Zapanta

Dogs are given the job, the license if you will, to bite intruders or to attack them if they enter the property without permission. It’s a common assumption that their main role in the household is to serve as guard dogs. They are used as an alarm system, and sometimes as a defense against intruders; that they are expected to defend the household no matter what. This is how humans have come to define a dog’s loyalty.



Here in the Philippines, we expect our dogs to act as bantay patrolling the property, alerting us when someone enters, and risking their lives for us if need be. But who exactly should our dogs protect us from? For humans, the answer is simple --- criminals, of course! But can your dogs distinguish a threat from a non-threat?


threat: a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.

What we need to understand is that not all intrusions are equivalent to criminal behavior. Not all intrusive people have bad intentions. Sometimes, people just forget to knock or ring the doorbell. Maybe in the past, they have come in and out of our house freely and they didn't know that we recently got a dog. God forbid, it’s just the neighborhood kids who want to get their ball back! It is unthinkable that there are people out there who think that it is okay for their dogs to attack in such scenarios! Only cold-hearted, hot-headed, and hostile individuals would say that uninvited people automatically deserve the punishment of getting bitten and mauled by their dogs. Allowing dogs to bite naughty kids and ill-mannered people is not justice.




Tip:

Place a warning sign on your front gate to alert people that there is a dog inside. This serves as a deterrent, both for intruders and intrusive people.




This does not, in any way, excuse people’s lack of manners or lapse in judgement. The point is that there is a difference between intruders and intrusive people. The difference lies in the presence or absence of a threat. Intruders only include entities who pose a threat to our life and limb. Generally, neighborhood kids are not a threat, neither are intrusive relatives and friends. We don’t need our dogs to defend us against offenses that only violate etiquette. Such situations can be easily dealt with diplomacy. When we leave it up to the dog’s discretion, he/she will consider everybody who enters the property without permission as a threat that needs to be neutralized. You’ll then have a guard dog that attacks unnecessarily.


It is your responsibility to train your dog to accept familiar persons when they visit your home. If he/she bites a guest, then you have a problem. This is an indication that the dog is territorial, nervous, or fearful --- qualities that a good bantay should never possess. Unless there is an actual threat present, a dog should never act on the defensive.

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Do you have a problem dog? Book a training session with Lestre Zapanta today. Click here.

  • Lestre Zapanta

Updated: Jan 7, 2018

"Niloko kasi yung aso kaya nangagat!"

"Hindi ka muna kasi nagtanong kung pwede siyang hawakan!"

"Lumapit ka kasi eh!"


These are just some of the reasons dog owners use to worm their way out of a dog bite incident. In an attempt to escape responsibility, they will shift the blame to the dog bite victim. The narrative being that the dog was provoked. Meanwhile, the dog bite victim maintains innocence over the dog owner's accusation.


"Wala naman akong ginagawa, nangagat nalang bigla."

"Ako na ang kinagat, ako pa ang may kasalanan?"

"Pinatay ng aso mo ang alaga ko! Ganun-ganun nalang yun?"


The question now is - who really is the aggrieved party – the Biter or the Bitten? If your dog happens to be involved in a dog bite incident, what should you do? Who should shoulder the blame and everything it entails? Who should pay for what happened?


Tip:

When taking your dog out in public, always supervise interactions with other people and animals. If he or she has aggressive tendencies, it's okay to use a muzzle or busal to prevent bite incidents. Refer to Sec. 5., Rule 5(c)1. of the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007: “Aggressive dogs shall be muzzled in public places.”



SEC. 5. of Republic Act No. 9482, otherwise known as the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007, clearly states that the pet owner must “[a]ssist the Dog bite victim immediately and shoulder the medical expenses incurred and other incidental expenses relative to the victim’s injuries.


The law is very straightforward regarding the issue. Dog owners are strictly liable for damages or injuries caused by their animal. However, disputes arise when a dog owner is reluctant to acknowledge his fault. He resists to offer assistance. He tries to blame the dog bite victim to avoid paying.


My rule is simple: your dog, your responsibility.

In other words, take responsibility whether your dog was provoked or not. You are always the one at fault if your dog does something bad. A bite incident is a reflection of your lack of control over your dog and you have no right to blame the victim nor negotiate the bill.


Some DON'Ts when settling disputes:

  • Don't use “prey drive” as an excuse. It is instinctual for all dogs to chase anything that is moving. However, it CAN be controlled through training.

  • Don't blame the family of the Bitten. You will only antagonize them even more by doing so. Even if the injuries sustained were minor, immediately, offer assistance in any way possible.

  • Don't discount the value of the Bitten in case the bite was fatal. Whether it be a dead pet, dead farm animal, more so if it was a dead person, he or she has value that no amount of money can replace! Regardless, you still need to express sympathy, grief, acknowledgement of the offense, and compliance to corresponding penalties. At this point, you are relying on the family's good graces for forgiveness.


Tip:

You cannot ask society to adjust to your dog. You should be the one teaching him/her how to adjust to different environments. After all, it is your job to train your pet.



Lastly, always maintain control over your dog and do all the necessary precautions to protect the safety of other people and other animals. Remember that you’re sharing the space with them too! Again, YOUR DOG, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!


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