Why Was The News Anchor Woman Bitten?


From a discussion on a rescue group it is clear that many people have taken umbrage that the news anchor woman, Kyle Dyer, didn’t approach the dog with proper canine etiquette.


Fortunately one writer on the website wrote:

“I have not seen the video nor do I say the dog is at fault. But some of the comments here are really callous. You people should have as much compassion for the person as you seem to be showing the dog. Because of people like you making such comments, others may backlash against the dog.”

So who is at fault? (a) the dog, (b) the owner or (c) the anchor woman (d) all-of-the-above  (e) none-of-the-above.

Due to a great irony (d) is somewhat right whereas (e) is wholly correct. The irony arises from the presumption that Ms. Dyer and the dog’s handlers are the ones with the most to learn from this incident and apparently even Cesar has been dispatched to educate the news anchor in the error of her ways. Up to a point this is correct, i.e. NEVER, EVER put your face up to a dog you don’t know, especially when it’s in a television studio under the glaring scrutiny of camera “eyes,” not to mention after having been dragged from a frozen lake by rough strangers in space garb. But I would also add never put your face up to your own dogs, because they don’t particularly like it either, which is why they dissipate their nervous energy through profuse face licking and an agitated/excited body state.

However we need to note that  an emotionally healthy dog, even when approached incorrectly and as long as it’s not part of a chronic pattern, will not bite someone in the face for such a transgression. A healthy dog has a built in buffer that can absorb and process the intermittent hard knocks that are inevitable to life on earth. Whereas a dog snaps under pressure when there is a flaw in its development, for example when it’s been corrected as a puppy or if it is habitually hugged and kissed too much by its owner. However putting the obvious targets of inquiry aside, the real question which leads us to the most meaningful lesson isn’t asking where did the dog’s bite come from but rather, where did the woman’s hug come from?

By the way, how does someone become a news anchor? By showing us what we want to see and telling us what we want to here. They become the mouthpiece of the prevailing culture. They become masters of mass media, picking up and playing back the prevailing zeitgeist. They mirror us back to ourselves. We want to see certain types of men and women on air and sure enough we get what we expect to see. Furthermore, I’m sure this woman began her career as a cub reporter attending shopping mall openings, covering PTA budget meeting, the Girl Scout cookie drive. She baby-talked with babies, gave monkeys bananas, schmoozled and put at ease a thousand camera struck “civilians” so that they would be at their best. She picks up the sentiment of the moment and runs with it to the take-away feel-good tag line which one day might take her all the way to the big time. “That’s it from here Shep; this time, Man gets to be dog’s best friend.” That’s how she expected the segment to end because Ms. Dyer has bought in hook, line and sinker to the prevailing cultural wisdom of Dogdom, dogs-are-people-too. Therefore in her mind, if dogs can feel abandoned and abused when left behind or cast away, as a person would be, then therefore, of course they must feel grateful when they have been rescued. That’s what the rescue community says. And when dogs do bad things, she’s been taught that it’s not the dog, it’s bad owners that make “bad” dogs. And so here she is on a set with the dog’s owner who looked and acted like a perfectly nice guy who loved his dog and whose dog loved him. Yet according to the experts, after having received all this conditioning, all of a sudden the news woman is now expected to see through a highly attuned clinicians eye to the signs of stress in the canine visage. Ms. Dyer wanted to hug the dog as the warm and fuzzy feeling of the moment swept over her because dogs trigger the same place in her heart that her best girl friend does, a place without barriers. She went to hug the dog because when her friends are grateful after going through a difficult ordeal they want to be hugged. This woman was bitten because she walked face first into a self-contradicting logic loop that is being perpetrated on the dog owning public by the very people who are taking the most umbrage at her glaring lack of canine manners, the same people who are shouting the loudest that dogs love hugs and kisses because dogs are people too.

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Published February 16, 2012 by Kevin Behan
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5 responses to “Why Was The News Anchor Woman Bitten?”

  1. Alex says:

    Well written!!! I’m so grateful for learning about you and your work. You go into great detail on why things happen as they do. It is very much the way I started out when I started my career. Explaining things in great detail. Somehow over the course (most likely due to working under the ideology of other trainers ideas and not my own) I lost that. This gives me great courage to get that articulation back!

  2. cliff says:

    In great sympathy with her injury, and in complete agreement with Kevin’s comments, I know that this can happen in a flash— even with the dog under control (i.e.: on leash)— before (or even as) you shout “no no no!”. People assume that all dogs are relaxed, friendly, and unafraid. They are not. I recall the Seal Team 6’s Belgian Malinois meeting President Obama— with a muzzle on.

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, Kevin, for speaking truth instead of perpetuating misinformation. A dog is a dog, not a “best-girlfriend.” It is not a substitute for the spouse who left, the baby who grew up, or the pillow you used to punch as a kid. Not all dogs are the perfect nana for your kid, and not all dogs will shower you with affection for saving their butt from something they have already forgotten. If humans would stop trying to make humans out of dogs, dogs would stand a much better chance of adjusting to life with humans.

  4. sylvia spain says:

    Hear, hear, well said, as always.
    My town South Royalton VT is home to Vermont Law School where sometimes it seems a prerequisite that every student get a dog before starting first year. Most of the students walk with their dogs well ahead of them on those flimsy retractable leashes, hailing fellow dog walkers with the cheerful greeting, “My dog’s FRIENDLY!! – is YOURS?” Then, of course, the dogs must meet, nose to nose without preamble – and if there is a minor snark, the offending party’s owner babbles, “My dog just wanted to PLAY, She just wanted to PLAY – She’s really Friendly, most of the time.”
    VLS also hosts a pet gathering or picnic – with the warning : Please! No AGGRESSIVE Dogs! They have prizes for Best Frisbee Catcher and Most Unusual Breed – and Best Face Licker. I kid you not. You can imagine how much emotional pressure is being put on all these dogs to always be “Friendly”, or if failing that, at least being “very, very submissive”, because the last thing these people want is for their dog to be perceived as Aggressive, Bullying, or (Horrors) VICIOUS.
    Kevin, this is the long way around the mountain to say _ You need to save these people from themselves. You should have a clinic up here.Really!

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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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