National Dog Bite Prevention Week is in May but this it’s an important topic to discuss all year long. We’d like to take this opportunity to help educate you on ways to avoid being bitten. Being aware of your actions is the best way to make sure you stay bite free!
- Keep Your Fingers. Your dogs may be fine with you touching their food, bowls, treats or toys, but that doesn’t mean all dogs feel the same way. You should avoid touching dogs or their items while they are eating or chewing them, especially if they begin growling or showing their teeth.
- It’s All in Your Body Language. As humans, it is natural for us to approach each other square – face to face, so we tend to approach dogs the same way. What most people don’t realize is that this behavior in the dog world could be likened to smacking someone in the face. It can be very confrontational and cause a dog to react negatively. Make sure you approach a new dog from an angle, with your hands to your sides.
- Watch Their Body Language. If you notice a dog becoming stiff, the hair on its back going up, a lip curl or a growl that means the dog isn’t comfortable and these are the warning signs. Don’t push the dog’s buttons. Unless you are trained in handling fearful or aggressive dogs, you shouldn’t put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Dog bites are painful and take a long time to heal.
- Kids & Dogs. It is said time and time again that children should never be left unattended with dogs. This is definitely something we tell our clients. You need to monitor all interactions with your kids and dogs. Children move very quickly, have an awkward body language, and make strange noises; these factors may make dogs uneasy about having children around them. You also want to make sure to teach your children how to approach and treat dogs. They should always ask the dog’s owner if they can pet the dog. They should never just run up and hug or pick up a dog. Teaching your children to pet dogs nicely, making sure to stay away from their faces will help your children stay safe.
- Breaking Up a Dog Fight. If you are ever in the situation where you need to break up a dog fight, NEVER reach into the middle of the fight. Stay clear of their mouths, collars, and front ends. If you need to, pull their tails to help steer them away from the other dog. If the attacking dog has a leash on, you could use the leash to lift the dog up, off the ground and away from the other dog.
- Dogs are Pack Animals. A lot of undesirable behavior comes from your dog not being convinced that you or your family members are above them the pack structure. Many aggressive dogs, or biters, think they are the boss in one way or another. The biting is typically a way of them asserting themselves.
As a dog trainer in Toms River, NJ we hope these tips are helpful to you. If your dog shows any aggressive behavior, please take it seriously the first time. Bad behavior can escalate quickly when it’s not addressed immediately.