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  • Writer's pictureLestre Zapanta

License To Bite

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.


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.


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

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