Monthly Archives: May 2017

Saving Yourself From Dog Bites

So often while I am walking with Maksim, I notice small children approaching my dog. Although I know Maksim would never bite them, they don’t know that. Children should always be wary of approaching a dog they don’t know.

Why?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year with one in five requiring medical attention.

Children are the most likely victims, often bitten by a dog in their own home or a friend’s home. Children (particularly boys ages 5 – 9) are three times more likely than adults to be seriously bitten (mainly in the face or neck), because kids are around the same height as a dog and because they can crawl into small, low places where dogs can reach. Unfortunately, 50% of children will be bitten by a dog before their 12th birthday.

In addition to being physically and emotionally scarring, dog bites can be costly as well. State Farm Insurance, paid nearly $1 billion in accident-related claims involving a dog over the last decade.

Are these bad dogs? Mean dogs? The main thing you need to realize is that dogs generally don’t bite because they are vicious – instead, they do so out of fear, protectiveness or see it as a last resort.

Here are some tips to keep you safe when approaching a dog you don’t know:

  • Don’t face a dog head on and don’t look into his/her eyes. Instead, turn to the side as this will seem less confrontational. A hard stare means a threat in dog language. Children should never put their faces near a dog’s face. Adults who insist on direct eye contact with strange dogs also tend to get bitten.
  • Leaning over a dog can make the dog afraid. When people bend over to pet or cuddle a dog, the dog may become defensive and intimidated.
  • Don’t initially pet the dog on the head. Instead, make a fist, hold it under the dog’s nose to allow her to sniff, then pet the dog on the chest, moving gradually to the sides of the face and other body parts, if the dog is receptive.
  • Never swoop up a small dog. To lift a small dog, crouch down, pet the dog for a moment, then gently slip your hands under her belly and chest, and lift.
  • Never approach a dog who is sleeping, eating or playing with her puppies.
  • Never turn your back on a dog you don’t know or try to run away – he will just chase you.
  • Remind your children that the dog is not a horse or a playground and should not be ridden, prodded or annoyed.
  • Never let your child approach a dog behind a fence or in a car. Dogs can be very protective of their home or space.

 

Just like we teach our children about “stranger danger” you should teach your kids the following if an unknown dog approached them:

  • Don’t scream.
  • Avoid eye contact with the dog.
  • Stand still with your hands by your side. Generally, this will lead the dog to turn away when he realizes you are not a threat.
  • Back away slowly, never taking your eyes off the dog.
  • If the dog keeps approaching, offer him anything you’re holding — a purse or jacket, for example — or anything that may distract him.
  • If you tumble to the ground, curl into a ball, put your hands over your ears and stay still — resist the urge to yell, scream or move around.

We as pet owners have a responsibility to do everything possible to make sure our dog doesn’t bite others. If your dog is aggressive, call me and we will work on a plan to overcome this dangerous behavior. Additionally:

  • Spay/neuter your dog which may reduce aggressiveness.
  • Always supervise your dog – don’t take chances. Remember that any dog can bite if provoked.
  • Train your dog in obedience and never shake, choke, hold the dog down or roll the dog over to teach it a lesson. Negative actions or violence can teach your dog to be aggressive. Dogs treated this way are likely to turn their aggression on weaker family members.

Dog bites can be painful for both the recipient and the owner – the owner may be forced to put the dog down if he bites someone. If you have ANY problems with your dog showing aggression towards you, another dog or food, call Greg Knows Dogs immediately!