We've heard it mentioned before, perhaps by our mothers or friends: that dogs can sense fear, so we shouldn't be anxious around them. But is it true? New studies suggest that it is.
A study published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health analyzed the link between dog bites and anxiousness. And unsurprisingly, there seemed to be a correlation.
Almost 700 people were interviewed for the study. All the participants were asked if they had ever been bitten by a dog. After answering this, they took a 10-item personality test that analyzed their emotionally stability and how neurotic they were.
After looking at these results, the result suggested that those who were more emotionally stable and less neurotic had a lower chance of getting bitten by a dog. On the emotional stability scale, the likelihood of getting bit went up by a whopping 23% for each point increase on the scale.
So, what does this suggest? As the authors of the article say, "Dog bite prevention schemes may also need to target particular behaviors around dogs by different victim personality types."
What was unique about this study is that it didn't consider the breed, age, or gender of the pups themselves - instead, it focused on the behavior of the humans involved. As it turns out, our behavior and mood can greatly affect the mood of dogs. Since pups are so sensitive to how we're feeling, it can be easy to make them nervous with our nervousness. This can then be what leads to unexpected aggression or biting.
If you're typically nervous around dogs, try warming up to them! While you should always be cautious while meeting a new dog, you should try to subdue your anxiousness. Let the pup come to you, but be friendly and welcoming when they do.
For more tips on how to prevent dog bites, check out what the American Veterinary Association has to say.