Some misconstrued dog perception in Nigeria

By Melvin Jacob Oshomegie , BSc | October 20th, 2017

When it comes to dogs in Nigeria, you will find varying kinds of people those who own dogs, there are those who do not own dogs but are crazy about dogs and then there are the sceptics; those who do not own and/or like dogs. I am sure some dog lovers would find it inconceivable why some people will not like dogs because after all, they are such amazing and lovable animals. Several reasons make some people not to like dogs, to some it may be religious considerations, to others it might be a previous negative experience perhaps they have a sister who has been chased by a mischievous dogs while for so many others they have no specific reasons but that is probably because they do not know much about dogs and have never had one. In this article, I will be talking about some common misconceptions about dogs in Nigeria, some may be quite funny to a dog owner/lover because they are obvious while others will be new information even for some dog owners.

First, not all ugly dogs are bull dogs. I went with a friend to visit a colleague of mine who is a dog owner. We met a full grown Neopolitan Mastiff at the gate and that put an end to the visit because my friend was too scared to enter the house. Later that evening when we were recounting the day’s experience, my friend told me that if he knew the house had a bull dog he wouldn’t have thought of going. I asked why he thought it was a bull dog he said because the dog looked very ugly and so has to be a bull dog. I tried to explain to him that bull dogs are hounds and the dog we saw is a mastiff and that they are both different both in their physical structures and temperaments. Bull dogs are generally smaller than mastiffs and have different care requirements.

There’s also the general misconceptions that ugly dogs are aggressive and scary. Scary maybe but aggressive well it depends on the dog breed. Like I pointed out before bull dogs are ugly yet they are generally friendly. If you need a dog that can scare intruders away and chase the bad guys out you may want to consider buying a Rottweiler or a Bull mastiff because when well-trained these dogs are strong, agile and aggressive. A bull dog, a pug, or even a Neopolitan mastiff however ugly they are might rather have their nap than chase a thief. Bull dogs are generally known to get along well with children, other dogs and pets in the house and easily form a close bond with the family. There are some very pretty Terriers or Spitz that will bite you when given the opportunity; so when it comes to aggressiveness it has little to do with the looks of the dogs but rather the way the dog was trained even though certain dogs are more prone to be aggressive while others are not.

A lot of people who own dogs usually put them in small cages or dog houses at best and when you ask them how the dog gets their exercise requirements they quickly tell you that the dogs are usually let out at night to roam the compound and then taken back into their cages at first light. While most dog owners seem to think that it is adequate exercise for them, professional dog trainers and veterinarians will not agree to this fact. Dogs are generally pack animals and love to move in groups. In a pack there is usually a leader and the dog can get the pack feeling if the owner walks it round the area. This doesn’t only supply the dog a more adequate exercise requirement, it strengthens the bonds between the owner and the dog and if you have more than one dog, the better it is.

There is also the group of people who seem to believe feeding their dogs with whatever remnant or crumbs they have is just fine. While this may be economical, it is barely sufficient. A dog like every other animal requires a variety of nutrients and vitamins that may not be gotten from these food. Sometimes the difference between a big dog and a small dog is just the feeding. I was witness to two puppies from the same litter that were sold and seven months later one that was fed with just oil rice was looking feeble and the other one that fed on specialized dog food was looking fresh and gigantic. So it really does matter what the dog eats. Also remember that dogs are from the carnivore order which means they love flesh and so a lot of meat should be included in their diets as much as possible.

Finally, a lot of people seem to feel that dogs have natural healing abilities and that their saliva has strong anti-biotic components that the dog uses to heal itself. While this may be true, it usually leads to neglect of responsibilities and causes more pain for the dog. I had a friend who owned a Lhasa dog, he kept the dog in a messy cage and gave the dogs crumbs and left overs. His dog became sick, it started as an ear wound that he refused to treat because he felt the dog would lick and then the wound would heal, the wound became infected from the germ-infested cage, the dog became really sick until he heeded advice and sought help from a vet doctor. The dog was treated, the cage was dis-infected and the meal improved. The Lhasa looks very healthy now and everyone who sees her wants to play with her.

If you must keep a dog, then you must have a veterinary doctor. It is the safest bet you have to making your dog live a healthy and fun-filled life.


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    Melvin Jacob Oshomegie , BSc

    Studied in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria with First Class honors in Economics and currently a masters student of University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is a very curious fellow with wide interest in animals. He loves to play with words writing articles, poems and songs.

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