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I found this sad wikipedia page yesterday https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatal_dog_attacks_in_the_United_States
Incideints are listed with date, age of victim, breed or breed type and circumstances.

It is suprising to me how many fatal attacks were by German Shepherds.
Most of the victims of dogs are children, babies and old people.
(Please remember that the discussion of bully breeds is not allowed).
 

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The GSD stats don't surprise me at all. They have been popular a VERY long time, have attracted the breeding interest of unscrupulous and ignorant both and often appeal to people who have no business owning any dog, never mind one that is mentally wired wrong because of generations of poor breeding practices. That, and any tan dog with a black saddle tends to become a GSD mix.
 

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One thing I'd like to say about this. I own a book called "Childproofing Your Dog", by Brian Killcommon. His #1 rule is NEVER leave your children alone with a dog!

In this age of treating dogs as 'furbabies' we have abandoned all common sense, and have forgotten that dog are carnivores. Even the small ones can do a lot of damage with their teeth, if provoked.

And you never know just what kids are likely to do to an animal.

Case in point: family's dog bit a young child. Parents are upset, and haul the dog off to the vet for euthanasia. The vet decides to examine the dog, before giving it that final needle.

She finds 2 crayons inside the dog's ears. :rolleyes:

Another incident: I am sitting in a dog training class, waiting to talk with the instructor. The next class is coming in with their dogs. This class consists of dogs people have been having problems with.

I have a 3 year old, 84 lb. German shepherd rescue, recently acquired. He's been kept on a chain most of his life, and has had zero exposure to kids. This has been our first obedience class together.

I hear the pittter-patter of footsteps behind me. Before I can do anything, a small child of about 3, comes and throws his arms around my dog's neck. Fortunately, my dog is okay with this!

Before I can react, his slightly older brother comes and does the SAME thing! Then a 3rd, still older boy, comes and pats my dog on the head.

I am totally shocked by the kid's lack of caution with a big, strange dog, but before I can talk to the kids' parents, the instructor comes over, and I never got the chance. I don't think I got the chance to mention it to the instructor, either (it was a long time ago, so I've forgotten.)

No wonder kids get bitten. My parents always taught me to be careful around strange dogs, but in this day and age, kids seem to think they're fluffy stuffed toys!!
 

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One thing I'd like to say about this. I own a book called "Childproofing Your Dog", by Brian Killcommon. His #1 rule is NEVER leave your children alone with a dog!

In this age of treating dogs as 'furbabies' we have abandoned all common sense, and have forgotten that dog are carnivores. Even the small ones can do a lot of damage with their teeth, if provoked.

And you never know just what kids are likely to do to an animal.

Case in point: family's dog bit a young child. Parents are upset, and haul the dog off to the vet for euthanasia. The vet decides to examine the dog, before giving it that final needle.

She finds 2 crayons inside the dog's ears. :rolleyes:

Another incident: I am sitting in a dog training class, waiting to talk with the instructor. The next class is coming in with their dogs. This class consists of dogs people have been having problems with.

I have a 3 year old, 84 lb. German shepherd rescue, recently acquired. He's been kept on a chain most of his life, and has had zero exposure to kids. This has been our first obedience class together.

I hear the pittter-patter of footsteps behind me. Before I can do anything, a small child of about 3, comes and throws his arms around my dog's neck. Fortunately, my dog is okay with this!

Before I can react, his slightly older brother comes and does the SAME thing! Then a 3rd, still older boy, comes and pats my dog on the head.

I am totally shocked by the kid's lack of caution with a big, strange dog, but before I can talk to the kids' parents, the instructor comes over, and I never got the chance. I don't think I got the chance to mention it to the instructor, either (it was a long time ago, so I've forgotten.)

No wonder kids get bitten. My parents always taught me to be careful around strange dogs, but in this day and age, kids seem to think they're fluffy stuffed toys!!

I have been in the same position to many times to count. I had a 3-4 year old girl throw her arms around my Danes neck on a sidewalk one day. I had a stern chat with her mother! Fortunately Freeway and later Sabi were both amazing with children, and I am eternally grateful for that given the total lack of parenting skills I see. BUT, the 20 something drunk guy seemed to think it would be ok to hug the dog wearing the security harness doing crowd control so I suspect that children are not the only victims of loss of common sense and lack of impulse control. PSA: Alcohol should not be consumed by persons suffering from chronic stupidity.

Fatal dog attacks seem to be on the rise, but if someone were to do the math I suspect that the ratios are still about the same. I think that it also bears mentioning that for the sheer number of dogs in North America, the percentages are low.
 

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Since I was recently attacked by a dog, I did do some research on dog attacks. Based on my research... A lot of people are in denial about their dogs. By 'in denial' I mean they contend that their dog(s) is the sweetest dogs, have been around children, never showed aggressive behaviour UNTIL. I detest the fact that a lot of people say when their dog attacked another being, they say that 'it's out of character.'

I'm a GSD owner and I do understand AND expect certain level of aggressiveness from this breed, because that's how they're bred. It's my job as a GSD owner to make sure I know his limits and what ticks him off. And I would never say 'Oh he will never do that, he will not hurt a fly' because that's unreasonable. Like one of you said, dogs are animals.

And based on what some of you have written on this thread, yeah, GSD attacks are mostly provoked.

There's a big difference between provoked attacks and unprovoked. I was a victim of the latter and it makes me angry that the owner didn't own to the fact that their dog is an aggressive dog that attacked another being.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I have actually read all the breed (or type), age of victim, and event circumstances of fatal dog attacks up to 2004. When I have caught up the next 14 years to the present I will work out the ratios between human population increase and fatal dog attacks and get back to you on this.
 

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When you look at the other dogs the ages of the people killed ranges greatly... German Shepherds seem to have mostly killed babies :(
 

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I've seen several articles (with photos) and videos lately that talk about how people don't know how to read dog body language, and that's responsible for many attacks.

One thing they really targeted are those cutesy videos of kids hugging dogs, and the dog's body language is screaming "LEAVE ME ALONE!" Of course, the parents a ooohing and ahhing in the background and don't get the message until it's too late.
 

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I heard of bite cases in the home by mismanagement in the home or unstable dogs but very surprised by this report on deaths and on children or elders and which many take place in the early mid 1900 but yes cases spread out over years with their family dog. I expect the gsd to handle a tolerate a hug from a small family member as they should be courageous with a clear head and as foremost they are a family dog. If the dog can not handle unsupervised or supervised Actions of a child family memeber- I would think a growl then a warning bite but not a full out mauling. Sure parents have to watch their kids but they should not have to worry about their dog killing their own child if they turn their back for a second. Many of these case though seemed unprovoked. Sounds more like dogs head is wrong.
 

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It's something many people don't realize, or don't want to face: a small child, fast moving, and making loud, high-pitched noises can trigger a dog's prey drive. I've seen it happen: the kids next door were having a birthday party that included races with lots of running, shrieking and laughing. I saw it happening because I understood our dog's body language, and immediately put her in the house before she could go into chase mode, which might or might not have resulted in a kid getting bitten.

I don't think a dog that does that is necessarily unstable. It is just acting out of old, primitive drives. It's much more likely to happen if the dogs are in a pack.

Huskies are more likely than other breeds to do this, due to the wolf blood. Collies will often bite running children due to the herding drive, but these bites are rarely serious.
 

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One thing I'd like to say about this. I own a book called "Childproofing Your Dog", by Brian Killcommon. His #1 rule is NEVER leave your children alone with a dog!

In this age of treating dogs as 'furbabies' we have abandoned all common sense, and have forgotten that dog are carnivores. Even the small ones can do a lot of damage with their teeth, if provoked.

And you never know just what kids are likely to do to an animal.

Case in point: family's dog bit a young child. Parents are upset, and haul the dog off to the vet for euthanasia. The vet decides to examine the dog, before giving it that final needle.

She finds 2 crayons inside the dog's ears. :rolleyes:

Another incident: I am sitting in a dog training class, waiting to talk with the instructor. The next class is coming in with their dogs. This class consists of dogs people have been having problems with.

I have a 3 year old, 84 lb. German shepherd rescue, recently acquired. He's been kept on a chain most of his life, and has had zero exposure to kids. This has been our first obedience class together.

I hear the pittter-patter of footsteps behind me. Before I can do anything, a small child of about 3, comes and throws his arms around my dog's neck. Fortunately, my dog is okay with this!

Before I can react, his slightly older brother comes and does the SAME thing! Then a 3rd, still older boy, comes and pats my dog on the head.

I am totally shocked by the kid's lack of caution with a big, strange dog, but before I can talk to the kids' parents, the instructor comes over, and I never got the chance. I don't think I got the chance to mention it to the instructor, either (it was a long time ago, so I've forgotten.)

No wonder kids get bitten. My parents always taught me to be careful around strange dogs, but in this day and age, kids seem to think they're fluffy stuffed toys!!
Like so many things in LIFE, people don't take time to educate themselves. Sometimes serious and sometimes not. Craziest thing is all the information is right @ there finger tips.

RESPONSIBILLITY = KNOWLEDGE

PROCRASTINATION = IGNORANCE
 

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I agree that many people are completely ignorant of their dogs behavior or just do not want to acknowledge it. Because it's their 'precious baby' and can do no wrong.

My dog is not protective but she does have fear responses. I can't count how many people have told me oh she's being protective. No, no she is not.

Many people prefer to blame others. So they have a dog that attacks others. It's either just playing or it's the other dogs fault. A dog keeps nipping/biting a child, they rehome to a child free home. Dog attacks other animals, they rehome with the catch phrase to only dog home. Or in either case just take it to the shelter where there is little to no history on it. Or they keep the dog but do little work with it and the issues escalate or stay the same.

I've been helping look for a new dog for a lady and I can't count how many dogs I've been seeing rehomed because they bite children, attack other animals, or acts in ways you'd expect from the breed(s) they are.
 

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There is soo much responsibility in OWNING a dog...

reliable breeders... getting a dog that is right for your needs

responsible owners.. knowing what your getting before you get it. Preparing yourself for a worse case scenario . Knowing the $$$$ that could be involved.
Understanding the extra time you will need. planing ahead if you might need obedience classes or just socializing skills. Knowing how to correct bad manners

REALIZING WHAT ADOPTING A PET REALLY MEANS....... you have no idea the baggage and you should be a special person to take in such a responsibility .
 

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We often hear how nervy gsds are today and many are, but this list of incidents envolving them (most) were many decades ago and could suggest poor nerves has been a problem from very early on. Reckless breeding is often blamed for poor nerves today, it may have played a role in the past as well, but the skeptic in me says it's throughout the breed. Choose wisely!
 

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Totally agree about the baggage that may come with a rescue dog. There is always a REASON for that doing being in rescue!

Only one of my rescues came from the humane society. That was the one I had to PTS due to serious dog aggression. The others either came from the previous owners, or were found wandering the streets.
 

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Totally agree about the baggage that may come with a rescue dog. There is always a REASON for that doing being in rescue!

Only one of my rescues came from the humane society. That was the one I had to PTS due to serious dog aggression. The others either came from the previous owners, or were found wandering the streets.
Some dogs end up in rescues or shelters through not fault of their own. People problems can land them there too.
 

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Looking over the stats two things struck me. The number of St. Bernards involved in fatal attacks, and that GSD attacks are very low in number relative to their popularity as a family pet and as the second or third most popular pedigreed dog in the USA, and appear to be mostly based in inappropriate prey drive (towards small children or babies).
 

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Some dogs end up in rescues or shelters through not fault of their own. People problems can land them there too.
Of course. And this particular dog had such strong prey drive, I sometimes wondered if someone had tried to train her for dog fighting. :crying:

She was great with people, and it broke my heart having to put her down
 

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Looking over the stats two things struck me. The number of St. Bernards involved in fatal attacks, and that GSD attacks are very low in number relative to their popularity as a family pet and as the second or third most popular pedigreed dog in the USA, and appear to be mostly based in inappropriate prey drive (towards small children or babies).
I noticed the high number of St Bernard's too, Rotties surprised me a bit as well. The number of incidents involving gsds decreased in recent years despite their huge popularity. Better informed and capable owners??
 
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