When Man’s Best Friend Bites

Dog bites can be serious – sometimes even fatal. Here’s some good advice for protecting yourself and your children from injury from dog bites. They’re man’s best friend; most of the time..

Every year, there are nearly 800,000 dog bites in the U.S. serious enough to require medical attention. Most of these bites involve children. And many of these kids are left with physical and mental scars.

They can become deathly afraid of dogs and go out of their way to avoid ever coming into contact with one again.

It’s important to know that most dog bites can be avoided by teaching your children to follow these simple tips:

1. Never approach a stranger dog. This includes those that are tied up and/or behind a fence. These dogs can get loose. No matter how cute a dog is, big or small, be smart and stay away! Always assume that a dog you don’t know will see you as an intruder or a threat.

2. Don’t pet a dog without letting him see and sniff you first. This also applies to your own dog. The best way to let a dog sniff you is to place your hand under his nose. Be sure that your hand comes from below and not above the dog’s head, otherwise the dog may feel threatened and become aggressive.

3. Never scream, or turn your back to a dog and run away. This is a common mistake children make. They get scared and their first instinct is to run away. Little do they know that the dog’s instinct is to chase. If a dog frightens your child, tell them not to scream and run.

They should stop in their place and avoid eye contact with the dog. Once the dog is no longer interested in your child, they can back away slowly until the dog is out of range. If the dog still attacks, they should give him their backpack, jacket, or whatever else that’s available.

4. Don’t disturb dogs while they’re eating, sleeping, playing with a toy or caring for their young. You never know how a dog will react to these disturbances, or how aggressive a dog is, so it’s best to leave them alone.

5. Never tease or torment a dog. This can lead to aggressive behavior that gets quickly out of hand.

It’s just as important for dog owners to be responsible for their dogs. Nearly half of all American households own a dog, and every dog owner should be aware of these tips to prevent biting:

1. Socialize Your Dog It’s important to familiarize your dogs with many different types of people, dogs, situations and places. The more you socialize dogs, the less likely they will become scared under new circumstances. Remember, when dogs bite, they often do so out of fear.

2. Train Your Dog Make sure you invest the time necessary to properly train your dog. Your dog should listen to you and come when called. Every member of the family should take part in the training and all commands should be consistent.

A dog that obeys will be easier to control should a dog bite situation occur. Teach your dog not to be aggressive and stay away from aggressive games, such as the infamous “tug-of-war” game.

3. Spay Or Neuter This procedure lessens a dog’s desire to roam and fight with other dogs. In fact, dogs that are spayed or neutered are reported to be three times less likely to bite.

4. Take Full Responsibility Make sure you keep your dog confined to your property and on a leash where required. Never allow your dog to roam free, especially in metropolitan areas.

Supervise your dog carefully and reprimand aggressive behavior, especially around other dogs and people.

Kids and dogs sharing a distinctively warm relationship is a common theme in some of our best-loved books and movies.

If we teach our children how to properly handle dogs, and teach our dogs how to behave around children, that special friendship will always be a reality for them.