Dog Bite : According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S., around half of those being children. Even the friendliest dog in the world can bite when put in a threatening situation.
Through training and socializing, you can reduce reactiveness and minimize the risk of your dog biting someone. However, you must educate yourself on dog bite prevention to avoid being in this difficult situation.
Likewise, understanding proper etiquette around dogs is crucial to staying safe, especially children. Regardless of if the child is around dogs often, they should learn what to do when interacting with a dog in public.
Here’s how you can prevent a bite as either an owner or someone greeting a dog.
Usually, dogs bite as a reaction to something. Either they feel scared or stressed or are being protective of something around them.
All dogs can bite and injure someone, regardless of their breed. However, some breeds are more likely to injure people than other breeds, depending on their size and strength. Based on prior dog bite cases, the most dangerous dog breeds are more likely to cause serious injury.
Dogs with a negative history, such as neglect or abuse, are more likely to bite, regardless of breed.
Most dog bites are preventable. With proper training and care, you can greatly reduce the risk of your dog biting someone. This may be more difficult for owners of rescue dogs unfamiliar with their pet’s background. But, with time and patience, a reactive or aggressive dog can become calm and friendly with these three tips.
Socializing is the process of meeting and greeting new people and animals in various places. This will help your dog be more comfortable in public and around new people. This comfort reduces how stressed or frightened they may feel and greatly reduces their risk of biting.
It is important to go slowly and not force your dog into situations they seem fearful of or uncomfortable with when socializing. We recommend socializing as a puppy or as young as possible.
Positive reinforcement is the act of rewarding something for good behavior. In dog training, this is done with food, toys, and love.
A neglected and abused dog is highly more likely to be aggressive and reactive. This is because they lack trust in humans and are fearful of new people and new places.
Even trained dogs can act differently when being introduced to a new situation or new people. Always be with your dog at these times, and do not leave your dog unattended in public.
These tips apply to both adults and children. But it is especially important to teach children proper etiquette around animals to make them comfortable and not fearful of animals, therefore reducing their risk of danger.
If you see a dog that you wish to pet in public, always make eye contact with the owner and ask if you may say hello to their dog. Never walk up to a dog and immediately touch it without permission from the owner.
When you greet the owner and ask permission, the dog sees you interact with its owner and will use this to establish you as a safe person.
Be mindful of any service animal or “do not pet” vests on the dog and do not interact with them.
Always approach a dog slowly and gently to let the dog know you are friendly and non-threatening. Startling a dog could prompt it to be aggressive.
Do not approach a dog that is eating, chewing on a toy, or caring for puppies, as they could be protective.
Preventing dog bites protects people and children and protects your dog from the consequences of injuring someone. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to keep your dog and the people around them safe.
Keep these tips in mind to avoid your dog harming others and being harmed by another person’s pet.