Yes, many of us dog owners and dog lovers, are in denial that our precious fur babies could ever hurt us or our loved ones. According to the AVMA, it is estimated that amongst the 90 MILLION dogs in our homes today, there are reportedly 4.7 million dog bites per year; 800,000 of bites, resulting in medical assistance. Sadly, the vast majority of the victims, are our human babies and young children! This is truly sad for both involved. However, dog bites can and should be prevented and there is a light at the end of the tunnel: EDUCATE. INFORM. KNOW THE SIGNS.
There is a common misconception when it comes to certain breeds that are subject to bite! Any dog CAN bite – from chihuahuas to pit bulls and everything in between. Common reasons for dog bites:
- Failing to spay/neuter
- Abuse or neglect
- Keeping dogs separate from a family life indoors (chained, tethered or in a separate gated/enclosed area)
- Improper socialization
- Poorly mismanaged dogs
Interesting dog bite stats according to the Canine Journal: https://www.caninejournal.com/dog-bite-statistics/
- 47% of children 4 years of age and under, were bitten by the family dog.
- Kids aged 5-9 years old are the highest risk of being injured due to a dog bite.
- 80% of dog bites happen right in the home.
- 25% of fatal attacks are by chained/tethered dogs.
How can we prevent dog bites from occurring?
- Supervise our children! Any dog can bite, at any time, even that sweet tiny fluff ball!
- Do not approach a strange dog.
- Utilize positive reinforcement training. Pain and fear is counterproductive and unnecessary in training your dog.
- Proper and regular socialization, before your pup even turns 4 months old, is essential in getting him set up to be a confident and well rounded adult dog.
- Teach your children boundaries when interacting with dogs! It is never too early to show them how to be respectful: do not allow a child to sit on top of, or ride a dog, hit or pull on a dog, harass or corner a dog – under any circumstance. All dogs should be allowed the right to walk away in an uncomfortable situation.
- Learn canine communication – dogs communicate with us all the time! It is our job to learn and educate ourselves, to keep them, and ourselves safe.
Dogs do not just bite out of the blue. Your dog will give you warning signs prior to biting: whale eye (whites of the eyes are showing), lip licking, shaking, scratching or snigging out of nowhere, tail tucked between legs, hard stare, lunging, growling and a tense body.
If your dog is showing signs of fear or aggression, please contact a dog behaviorist to help! For a list of positive reinforcement trainers in the area:
Gone to the dogs training (Peabody): https://www.facebook.com/gonetothedogstraining/
dogsmith of boston north (lynn and surrounding): https://www.dogsmith.com/dogsmith-boston-north/
Bark N’ Roll (north reading): https://bark-n-roll.com/bios/
Walk A Pup (Salem area): https://www.walkapup.com/