May 19-25: National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Posted on May 21st, 2013

Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Every year, the USPS designates a week for dog bite prevention awareness and education. As a trainer, I receive many inquiries about this topic. Below are some tips to preventing dog bites.

1. Dogs aren’t humans, they don’t appreciate hugs and kisses. Hugging a face-to-face contact is one of the most common reasons bites to the face occur. Teach your children how to show appropriate affection to a dog by scratching on the side of the neck instead. Teach your children to take extra precaution with strange dogs, always ask the owner if the dog is friendly and likes children. Have your child extend a gently close fist, knuckles down, to the dog to come and sniff. If the dog shies away or doesn’t want to say hi, do not push the dog. This is the dogs way of saying he’s uncomfortable.

2. Dog Bite Statistics can be misleading. Variables include, commonality of breed, incidences reported, fatalities vs. bites, etc. We refrain from speaking out against any ‘breed’ being more dangerous than the other. ALL DOGS BITE.

Obviously the bigger the dog, the worse the bite can be. Learn how to read common dog behaviors which are their way of communicating that they are uncomfortable and feel threatened. Understanding simple cues and training your own dogs are 2 of the biggest ways to prevent a dog bite. Remember. ALL dogs have teeth, all dogs can bite.

 

3. Socialize and train your dog. One of the most detrimental myths still being perpetuated today is keeping your puppy home until all vaccinations are complete. Puppies that are not exposed to the world until 16 weeks or longer are significantly more likely to be fearful or aggressive. Educated Veterinarians will explain vaccine schedules and common places to avoid (dog parks, pet stores, parks etc.) Puppies’ immune systems are still developing during early weeks and months. Be sure to look for a training facility that understands the risks, and takes appropriate care to minimize dangers.” The risk of behavioral issues later on far outweigh the minimal risks of infection.”

 

4. Most dogs give warning signs that they are uncomfortable, or about to bite. Can you name some of the more common warning signs? (Yawning, licking of lips are most common signs that a dog is uncomfortable or coping with stress. Bite warnings are Snarling, baring teeth, avoiding eye contact, snapping, hackles showing, body stiffens, etc)

 

Remember, all dogs are different and respond differently to stress. The best way to prevent dog bites is continued training and education. We welcome any specific questions or comments you may have. We look forward to training with you!

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