UK Study Begs the Question: Do Anxious People Attract Dog Bites?

A recent article on Gizmodo discussed a UK based study attempting to find patterns related to dog bite attacks. They looked for data points like frequency, the gender of the victim, and the victim’s general state of mind. Essentially, what they found was that of the people surveyed the ones who had been bitten were predominantly male and more often than not considered to be more neurotic or anxious in their natural state of mind.

The study’s results weren’t overwhelming and the sample size was relatively small. The questions and finding are interesting, but the results are inconclusive at best. The article doesn’t mention if the study took into account the breeds of dogs or if they were strays, pets, or other. It doesn’t mention the age of the victims. As many of the story’s commenters point out, dog attacks are often circumstantial and a good dog is as likely to attack under the right circumstances as a dog who’s more neurotic, itself.

If you’re feeling anxious, going to be around a canine, and are looking for advice — bring treats. Dog’s usually won’t bite the hand that feeds them. Give a dog a treat and you’ll likely be remembered and revered as “that person who gave me a treat!” by the dog for a long time. Another strategy could be spritzing yourself or the dog with a calming scent like lavender.

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