Dog-owners must read early signs


In the light of the horrific killing of an Irish tourist by dogs in Penang, it is time for dog owners to educate themselves on way to detect and control aggression in their pets.

An experienced vet told me today that tying up dogs or putting them in cages for prolonged periods may contribute to aggression. He said from the photo of the dog in the press today, it did not appear to be an ordinary mongrel, but a mixed-breed: “It looks almost three quarters like a pit bull,” a breed known for its ferocity. He didn’t think the aggression had anything to do with the dogs’ diet whether meat or dog biscuits. Having himself encountered fierce canines during his various visits to farms, the vet said such aggressive dogs should not be allowed to roam freely and pose a threat in public areas; instead they may be let loose in fenced up private premises. Licensing and regulation would come under the jurisdiction of the MPPP, he added.

There are various types of dog aggression according to a article ‘What makes dogs aggressive’:

The dominance aggression is about the dog’s social status being challenged or his control of a situation being questioned. Dogs just like humans are social beings. They think of their families as their group or pack. Within this pack there is a dominance hierarchy that is always established. Unfortunately, if your dog thinks his rank is higher than yours then there will situations that he will challenge you. Since most people don’t have a basic understanding of how canines communicate, unknowingly you may challenge your dog’s social position. Any physical restraint on the dog’s part can be viewed as a challenge for dominance although he can be friendly when not threatened nor challenge. This type of aggression can be directed at anyone or any animal.

The other type of aggression is fear-motivated. This is a defensive reaction from your dog and usually happens when he thinks he is about to be harmed. Keep in mind, that in situations where there is nothing to fear from, your dog may still think differently and understand that he is in peril. When this happens, a defensive reaction maybe triggered from your dog and this will cause him to exhibit aggression. Same as before this type of aggression is not only towards people but can also be towards other dogs.

The third type of aggression is territorial or possessive aggression. This type of aggression is about defending the territory or area which your dog thinks should be his. All marked area is considered by your dog as his territory or property so if there’s anyone or any animal that he perceives as a threat to his pack the dog automatically becomes aggressive.

Some breeds of dog have been bred over the centuries to serve as guards for flocks and people and property and have an innate tendency for aggressive behavior if they perceive a threat to their territory or their “pack”. Unfortunately, these are large and powerful, in order to handle the duties they were used for, so any aggressive behavior can have serious consequences.

From the story of the killing in the press, it appears that a combination of factors may have been responsible for the terrible aggression displayed by the dog that resulted in a senseless and tragic death. Dog-owners, do read up and learn how to deal with the aggression displayed by your pets.

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All the reports I have read thus far say the dogs that attacked and killed the Irishman are mongrels. But looking at the pics of the black one, I`m quite sure its an am pitbull, which is a dog bred for fighting/attacking, and is an illegal breed to own or keep in Malaysia. Legalities aside, keeping these dogs or other breeds, which are bred for fighting, require owners who know and will rehabilitate these dogs to be social and stable. Clearly, in this case, the owners were not able to do that, so they must be investigated and necessary action… Read more »

Karen Lee

Dogs, especially strays are usually agitated by human beings and they in turn will bark whenever they see unfriendly ones. Talk to them nicely in a soft voice and offer them food is a way to make friends with them. I have personally seen cyclists motorists etc purposely taunt stray dogs.

I believe if a dog had a traumatic growing up experience, he will grow up to be loose in his head. Perhaps, one need to look at past history of the two mongrels who had attacked the tourist.

angry chinese malaysian

can we make polis report against irresponsible dog owner … who walk their dog to other people’s compound to s… , flush down dog’s poo into the drain , not having licence for their dog etc etc….


Very good advice to those wishing to own a dog. While at it, do learn to pick up their poo after your dog as practiced in other countries.

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone, Recently, when I went on my evening walk, I was nearly attacked by two black mongrels. It was rather irresponsible for my neighbour to let loose her 2 dogs on practically every day. This incident was witnessed by her and I was fortunate that she could chase her dogs back into her fenced compound! But, what further pissed me off was the look on her face as if I was the one at fault! And, this is not the first time I encountered such an experience. I remember at least 2 other occasions when I was also nearly… Read more »


The only way to be sure on this particular topic is to destroy all dog owners. It probably wouldn’t hurt to do all cat owners while we are at it, just in case. Slippery slope and all that.

SH Tan

Thanks Anil for posting this. There are no bad dogs, only bad owners. Dogs chained or caged the whole day will turn out to be aggressive and anti-social. I have seen many farm owners cage their dogs the whole day and only lets them out at night to protect their property. This cause their dogs to be highly stress and aggressive. These farm owners believe that this (their dog’s aggresiveness)is a good trait of a good guard dog. Also, many dog owners physically beat or abuse their dogs into submission. This cause the dogs to fear human contact and may… Read more »


Some dogs are borne as a psycho one like man, nothing to do with the owner. Most of dogs in my kampung are roaming freely. My left-handed neighbor’s used to have a lone ranger dog, this dog could not get along with other dogs from surrounding areas since it was a puppy. This psycho dog sometimes wanted to bite me even it knew me from day one. Another three dogs from other neighbors were like my friends. All of them still recognized me no matter how long I missed them. Anyway, these four dogs during my childhood days already died… Read more »

William Hooi

I have commented in my housing area yahoo-group that some residents walk their alsatians, rottweilers and other large pets with only leashes. They do not use muzzles to prevent their dogs from biting anyone. They most often do not carry any plastic bags to pick up droppings. Still what about urinating on neighbours’ car tyres? Well, these would be discussed at another time. I have witnessed a large “shaggy” dog got loose from its leash and the owner out on a morning walk, running frantically after it. Luckily and fortunately, the dog after a few houses down the road, went… Read more »