Each year in the US, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs.
One in five of these bites require medical attention.
Children are the most common victims of dog bites- primarily from familiar dogs.
Injuries to children usually occur to the face and hands. These injuries can lead to life-long disfigurement or disability. Tragic events, like this, can be avoided but not intuitively.
Here are 3 steps to help prevent dog bites in your family.
Dog behavior interpretation is a learned skill. It can be difficult to tell what your pet is “saying” with his non-verbal skills. Pet owners should seek advice and training from Behavior professionals and utilize online resources to research pet behavior ques.
|by Lili Chin|
Train your Pet.
A well-trained dog is a happy dog.
Training increases a feeling of self-worth, sets a clear expectation, and shows the pet that you are the person they can trust. All pets young and old should attend basic training classes. These classes not only help set the rules for the home, but can also uncover the need for professional guidance and intervention for fearful or more challenging personalities.
Remember, while it is fun to play roughly with your new pup those little teeth turn into big teeth. Your pet won’t understand why that play is no longer desired once he or she is older.
Train your children.
Begin your discussion of proper pet etiquette with your children early. It should be a regularly occurring discussion that extends for years.
Don’t leave young children alone with your pet. Kids are curious and learn by touching, pulling, and biting. Your pet shouldn't be the recipient of this kind of attention. Spend time modeling proper touching of your pet.
|The Blue Dog|
Use books and graphics to help your child understand how to treat pets.
Educate your child to always ask the pet owner if they can touch their pet.
Don’t assume that just because an owner says ‘yes’ that the pet will behave. You should pet the dog first to see if there are any signs of fear or avoidance. If so, redirect your child away from the dog.
Practice with your child what to do in the event of an aggressive dog encounter. Stand like a tree… or lie like a log…avoid eye contact with the pet…..and DON’T run!
The most common types of in-home dog bites occur due to fear and food aggression.
Training your pet can help identify these issues so you may work with a behavior professional to rehabilitate your pet.
Never allow your child around your pet during feeding time.
Never leave your child alone with your pet and interrupt rough touching of your pet.
Remember: Pets in the home with children need some quiet time too! Give your pet a “safe” place where they can go when they need a break. Teach your children that your pet is not to be touched when they are in their special place. You can designate a crate, bed, or special corner as your pet’s safe place.
I hope this helps,
Brittney Barton, DVM