Man’s best friend - to many that is exactly what their dog is to them - not merely a pet, but a friend, a companion, a part of the family. Many people can’t imagine that their dog would ever bite or attack anyone, but no matter how confident you are in your dog, it is still important to do your part to help prevent dog bites and attacks. Even the most docile dog can be provoked to bite under the right circumstances. Why? Because it’s their natural instinct.
There have been cases of dogs who tolerated minor annoyances for years before finally snapping and feeling like they had no choice but to bite. It’s something people don’t want to think about, but it happens. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association:
- Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
- Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
But enough with the scary stories and statistics, our goal isn’t to frighten you, but to educate you on how you can help to protect yourself from becoming a part of these statistics. There are many things that you can do:
- Don’t let strangers pet your dog or if you do make sure that the dog has the opportunity to see and sniff them first. It is important to not surprise the dog, so they do not feel threatened.
- Make sure that no one disturbs your dog while they are sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy, or taking care of their puppies. These are times when dogs do not want to be bothered, and they may be more likely to bite if approached.
- Pay attention to your dog’s body language. Watch for a tense body, stiff tail, ears flat to the head, backing away, or other signs that your dog is not happy. If you see any of these signs, it’s best to leave the dog alone.
- Make sure that those who pet your dog do so correctly by scratching the dog on the side of the neck or back as opposed to giving hugs, pulling a dog’s tail, or being right in the dog’s face.
- Teach children who will be around the dog what to do if a dog seems like it might attack or bite. Tell them not to run or scream, but to stand motionless and avoid eye contact with the dog. Then once the dog has gotten bored, they can slowly back away. If they get knocked down make sure they know to lay still in a ball with their arms protecting their face and neck.
- Make sure that your dog is properly trained and socialized using positive reinforcement methods, so that they can be as trustworthy as possible no matter the situation.
- If you have a dog that you fear could bite someone, you may want to consider rehoming them to somewhere that they will not have to interact with strangers and children on a frequent basis.
Even if your dog has never bitten anyone and seems to be great with kids, it is still important to take precautions to protect yourself and your dog from the legal ramifications of a dog bite incident. We hope that these tips will help you to be more aware of what you can do to prevent dog bites and attacks, and we encourage you to contact the Boughter Law Office if you or your dog are ever the victim of a dog bite or attack.
For more information on preventing dog bites, visit the following websites: