The Center for Disease Control estimates that about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. It’s summer time, more dogs are outside, and more people are interacting with dogs as it’s the social time of year. So how can you prevent a dog bite and help educate others to do the same? Like this.
Always ask the dog’s guardian for permission before approaching and interacting with a dog. Never reach into a car window to touch a dog since some dogs will behave aggressively in small, enclosed spaces. Never approach a dog that is behind a fence or tied up, whether in a yard or outside a shop. The dog may feel trapped and react defensively. Think like the dog. You also don’t know that dog’s life and circumstances.
In five years, I’ve rescued 12 dogs found roaming the streets. How I haven’t been bitten (well at least yet) is in following the rules I was taught. If you encounter a loose dog on the street, call Animal Control or whomever is the authority in your area. If the dog is not super friendly to you, be cautious in your approach. Speak to the dog in a friendly manner. If the dog comes up to you, hold your hand in the shape of a fist and extend it for the dog to sniff. Then stroke him on the neck, under the chin. Avoid reaching over his head or looming over him. If the dog does not come up to you, follow the dog at a comfortable pace. There have been times I’ve coaxed lost dogs into the foyer of my house and then shut the door. At least I was able to lure them and not have to worry about being bitten.
Kids are the most likely dog bite victims. Teach kids how to behave around dogs. Teach them not to approach, touch or play with any dog who’s sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or bone, or caring for puppies. Animals are more likely to bite if they’re startled, frightened or caring for young.
Body language is important. Learn what certain dog movements really mean. A great place to see examples of dog communication is by typing in “dog body language” at ASPCA BEHAVIOR. A wagging tail does not mean the dog is happy to see you.
Prevent your dog from biting by NEVER EVER EVER HITTING him or her. Socialize your puppy so aggression does not form. Puppies go through a period of development, typically between 7-16 weeks of age, where they tend to be highly social and out-going. If they experience all sorts of people (different ages, races, genders, etc) along with being around other animals, they are less likely to be startled to bite at other times in their life. Seek the help of an animal trainer or puppy kindergarten class.
If your dog is already an adult or if you’ve adopted a mature dog, it’s still crucial to socialize him throughout his life. In addition to walking the dog and taking him places with you, continue with his obedience training so he learns good manners and knows how to behave when he’s around people.
Dog bite laws vary by state so be aware.Visit ANIMAL LAW INFO
In the event you are bitten by a dog: Don’t freak out and try and remain as calm as possible. If you stay still, many dogs will lose interest in you and leave. If the dog does not leave, confidently back away from him. Face him but keep your eyes slightly averted so you’re not making direct eye contact with him. Try yelling at him in a firm voice to “go home!” or “go away!” If you are carrying a bag or knapsack, place it between you and the dog to serve as a shield. Be sure to report a dog bite
Have you ever been bitten by a dog?