Dog Bite Prevention
According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States annually. Although larger dogs can have stronger bites, it is important to remember, no matter how well socialized or trained a dog is, any dog can bite. Here are the main reasons dog’s bite:
- Reaction to a stressful situation
- Response to fear or being startled
- To protect themselves, their puppies, a high value item or their owner
- They are sick or in pain
- Poor bite inhibition during play
Here are some tips on how to prevent getting bit and how to lower your dog’s risk of biting.
Dog Bite Prevention Tips:
- Learn how to read a dog’s body language. One of the main reasons people get bit is they do not pick-up on the signs that a dog is stressed or fearful.
- Be careful around strange dogs. Do not approach a dog that is behind a fence or in a car. Always ask the owner permission to pet their dog and make sure the dog sees and sniffs you first (do not put your hand in their face, allow them to approach you to sniff). When you reach to pet the dog, start with their chest, not their head.
- When approaching a strange dog, avoid approaching straight on, giving direct eye contact, or bending over the dog, all of which can be threatening to a dog.
- If you come in contact with a dog that is fearful or showing signs of aggression, do not turn your back on them or run away. Instead, stand still with your hands by your side and do not give the dog direct eye contact. When the dog loses interests, lowly back away.
Avoid running, skateboarding or riding your bike close by a strange dog.
- Teach children how to properly approach and interact with dogs and to never chase or tease them.
- Never, ever leave a baby or child alone with a dog, not even for a couple of minutes.
Lowering Your Dog’s Risk of Biting:
- Properly socialize and train your dog using positive reinforcement methods. Socializing and using force free training methods are the most important things in helping prevent dog bites.
- Provide your dog with daily exercise, playtime, and mental stimulation. All of these are crucial for a happy and well balanced dog.
- Neuter or spay your dog. Unaltered dogs are more likely to bite than a neutered dog.
- Be a responsible dog owner. Never let your dog roam. When out in public, always have your dog on leash. When at home, be sure your fence is secure and gates are locked. Dogs that are well supervised are less likely to bite.
- Spend quality time with your dog. Do not leave them in the yard for extended periods of time or tied up. Backyard dogs and dogs that are chained-up are more likely to become aggressive.
- Never scold or punish your dog for growling or showing signs of fear. This is how dogs communicate that they are uncomfortable with the situation and for us to back off. When we take that away from them they will skip the signals and just bite.
- Take your dog to the vet annually for an exam and anytime you suspect they are in pain or not feeling well. It is not uncommon for a dog to bite when they are in pain or not feeling well.
- Be cautious. If you do not know how your dog is going to react in a certain situation, it is best to err on the side of caution. Leave them at home, if you are not sure how they will react during a certain outing. If your dog shows signs of fear or aggression with new people or children, put them in another room when you have service or delivery people come or new visitors your dog has not met yet.