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After two decades as a college administrator and teacher, Janis Bradley became an instructor at the SFSPCA Academy for Dog Trainers in 2000, where she and her colleagues have prepared more than 300 students for careers as professional dog trainers. Janis lives in Oakland, California with Ruby, the teeth-clacking Doberman, and Henry, the Greyhound clown.
Dogs Bite is loaded - not with common sense, but with lucid, refreshing scientific sense. In a reader-friendly style, in clear layman's language, Bradley fluidly weaves in basic logic, statistics, risk analysis, evolutionary psychology, neurobiology, systems theory, evolution, ethology and behavior analysis to support her formidable argument that, as she repeats throughout the chapters in a soothing sort of mantra, "...dogs almost never kill people, and they don't actually bite us very often, and when they do we're seldom injured, and when we are, it's seldom serious."
Not many books can make you laugh aloud uproariously and at the same time teach you so much. Chapter 5, in which she examines her own childhood family's interactions with various pets, is poignant and instructive. Bradley tells about her defensive aggression toward Chipper their parakeet, and her mother's maternal aggression toward Tippy their Sheltie-cross puppy, among several anecdotes. In these incidents, she analyzes each animal's motivations and behavior (through the clear lenses of ethology and behavior analysis) and provides readers with diagnoses on the type of aggression, if any, involved. Take home point: aggression is normal across most animals, yet dogs seldom take their aggression to the point of hurting people or each other.
Bradley's chapter on the current state of research on biting dogs is incisive and scathing. One can only hope that it motivates researchers to clean up their statistical act and revise their highly suspect recommendations.
If for no other reason, every dog loving citizen should have this engaging, enlightening book on their shelf in the remote chance that a dog mauling or fatality occurs in their city.Read more ›
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I use sections of this book in my Critical Thinking class. Along with shark attacks, public beliefs about dog bites are probably the best example of the most common "common sense" mistakes we make about statistics, and Janice Bradley's book is a wonderful way to introduce those ideas. Engaging, clearly written, entertaining and fully of cogent analysis, this book manages to be both importantly educational and a great read.
Of course, dogs are carnivorous animals with sharp teeth, and consequently we do have a solemn duty to socialize them early and to teach them good bite inhibition, so that if they ever are pushed beyond their tolerance level, they don't do any harm. Bradley's point in Dogs Bite is simply that we need to respond rationally to dog bites, with a sense of the great good dogs bring us as well as an accurate knowledge of the real extent of the danger.
I would recommend this to anyone in a Critical Thinking course, or to anyone interested in dogs or local legislation of any sort.
A couple of months ago I received a request to review for my EZine ([...]) a new book that was being published, and I'll reproduce it here. The book is called Dogs Bite But Balloons and Slippers are More Dangerous by Janis Bradley. It was published this year by James and Kenneth Publishers in Berkeley. (ISBN 1-888047-18-6).
The book reveals the reality behind the terrifying headlines about dog attacks against innocent humans. The fact of the matter is that while dogs are more likely to kill children and the elderly than hale and hearty adults, they rarely commit fatal attacks on humans of any age. A far greater risk to children is their own parents.
Bradley has produced a variety of statistics on the death and injury rates produced by various causes. More people die of fork lift accidents, balloons, and 5-gallon buckets than die of dog bites. And of the high number of reported dog bites (Some 800,000 each year in the US) remarkably few actually result in medical care.
This book is important to dog lovers right now, especially those who have certain breeds such as the dreaded pit bull or look-alikes such as the Staffordshire Terrier. The media focus on pit bull attacks has made them into pariahs, when in fact, they can be gentle, loving pets. Even a cocker spaniel or a dachshund can kill someone. In fact both breeds have. But no one is threatening to ban those breeds.
Bradley writes in an engaging and personable style about legislation, liability, breeds and appropriate strategies for managing the dogs in association with the people in our homes. If you want to get past the hype to the truth about dog attacks, this book is a wealth of information.
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Janis Bradley's book should be REQUIRED reading for civic leaders who are busy crafting anti-dog laws.
This important book starts with after page of fascinating and very easy-to-read statistics which clearly show current anti-dog hysteria is pointless -- and in fact a waste of time on the part of our civic leaders. There are clearly more important things to do with their valuable time.
I was astounded to learn how many thousands of people and children are crippled and maimed yearly -- by ordinary household objects and other primates! Dogs are clearly at the bottom of the list of things that hurt us and our children.
Janis points out that even the definition of a dog bite used in commonly cited studies is flawed - dog bite statistics commonly include contact, that may be scary to those contacted, that doesn't break the skin!
The current hysteria is clearly fueled by fear and ignorance. Bradley's book can help clear things up!
This book is obviously recommended for dog owners, dog advocates, animal care professionals -- but MORE importantly for those who make decisions affecting our canine companions: civic leaders, doctors, lawyers, fire fighters, police, teachers, parents, landlords and insurance industry executives.
The book is packed with enough citations and reasoning to convince the most critical of thinkers ... and includes good sections explaining the whys of canine behavior -- good and bad -- and a section offering practical advice for living safely with dogs and even a discussion on how to breed and train safer dogs.
Read this book.
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