1 comment to “Ranger injured by dog in Mandurah”

  1. Brad Griggs | May 1, 2014 | Permalink

    A terrible outcome indeed, all too preventable.

    The biggest issue here is what type of training this officer received, and how he has been taught to assess the dogs emotional state, identify the current risk of bite, and then manage the identified risk accordingly.

    As for the notion of punishment actually causing aggression there is not actually a causal relationship between punishment and aggressive response. There is a correlation that shows up in research, but science says that correlation is not equal to causation.

    Interestingly where these correlations show up the studies seem to frequently involve handler questionnaire as a method of information gathering. The recent Casey et. al. study from the UK is a great example of this, and I wrote a blog about it on my website (I won’t post link here as it may seem tacky).

    It’s more productive to think of this in terms of an emotionally aroused dog with NO RELATIONSHIP with the ranger is left to go on what his instinct and training history teach him is an appropriate response. Dogs are masters of context, after all.

    As Shel has indicated, now this dog has a bite history, and the ranger is harmed, which is terrible for all (mentioned in no order of importance).

    All this said, we should’t be too quick to judge this ranger. These folks do very difficult jobs, often in very difficult, emotionally charged circumstances, and usually with very small training budgets from their employer to help access relevant training for situations such as this.

    The City of Calgary has very well trained AMO’s (rangers) and has had a pole use rate of as low as 3% for a calendar year – that means a pole was used in only 3% of cases. All this in an area with no breed specific regulation, no number limits on dog ownership, and a very dog oriented social culture.