Muzzling of dogs is not a sustainable solution

By David Torraslarson   April 17, 2022 | 11:37 pm PT
Muzzling of dogs is not a sustainable solution
A dog is kept on a leash by the Sword Lake in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Hanoi has announced to launch dog squads to collect unleashed and unmuzzled dogs in public places, but the approach might not be sustainable as it's human-centered, according to a reader.

The muzzling of dogs, for example, generates two big problems:

1) Dogs sweat little, especially in comparison to humans. Panting is a key way in which dogs regulate body temperature. When muzzled, we are causing them harm by not allowing them to perform their bodily functions properly.

2) A dog's only defense mechanism against an attack is its mouth. If you muzzle a dog, you are rendering it completely defenseless in the event of an aggression by another canine. Unless we know how to properly break up a dog fight, which 99.9 percent of sapiens surely ignore, then DON'T muzzle your dog as he/she will be the only one harmed in the event of a fight (and you might be injured as well).

As much as we need preventive training and regulations, remember that most dog-related problems are created by humans. I am not saying we should have gangs of street dogs freely roaming the streets but remember that dogs, in the absolute majority of cases don't randomly attack humans. They will gang up on other dogs, but not humans, for the most part. And if they do, either ignoring or calmly showing them no fear will be enough for them to disperse.

Despite the saying "All bark no bite" our amazingly "evolved" minds most of the time freak out when a dog barks. If we just took the time to understand them properly and stopped treating them like toys (Viets and Westerners) having them chained up all day (mainly Viets) and gave them proper socialization and training (mostly Viets, but over the years have seen more and more Westerners) then a lot of these problems would be solved.

Also, remember that most dog-related problems are related to urban life. Yet again, humans are to blame for this. Dogs in the countryside are free and relaxed.

Another important point is that regardless of the mishandling the Viets can be held accountable for, Westerners too often don't take a look at how dog mistreatment still happens in our countries. The fact that we don't eat dog meat, that we don't chain them up regularly doesn't mean there aren't other forms of mistreatment taking place. The fact that life in Western countries doesn't take place on the streets as much as in the tropics helps to conceal this:

- Dogs are still regularly abandoned or left without food/drink for weeks on end.

- Dogs are not that much more socialized in Western countries. I find it much easier to approach dogs and their owners in Vietnam.

- Neutering/spaying as a default measure is groundless. It has to be taken on a case-by-case basis. Should we mandate castration for humans?

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