Dogs that are well-behaved and happy can make a huge difference in our lives and our families. Dogs provide companionship, physical and mental exercise, as well as the opportunity to teach children responsibility and caring about others. Dogs are happy, loving family pets. However, there are certain situations that can cause fear or anger in even the most gentle of dogs. Their natural defense is to bite. Dogs can behave differently depending on their circumstances. Your family, friends and community can all take small steps to reduce dog bites. These are ways to ensure that your community’s families and pets are safe.
Dogs are safe
- Before touching or petting a dog belonging to another person, always ask permission.
- We often encounter friendly, wiggly dog in public. You should be careful if your dog becomes stiff or wagging unfriendly in public.
- Do not approach a dog. Dogs have their own sense of privacy, so be aware of how they react to your approach.
- If a stranger dog approaches you, please remain calm, keep your hands on your sides, and avoid eye contact. Dogs are naturally inclined to chase so avoid eye contact. Keep your eyes on the dog and do not turn your back.
- Dogs should not be approached in cars, on chains or ropes. Dogs may be more protective of their territory than normal and feel vulnerable or defensive. Dogs who are tied up know that they cannot run away, so they will fight to defend their territory.
- Avoid touching or touching dogs while they are asleep, fixed on something, or playing with puppies.
- Do not get in the way of fighting dogs and do not touch their heads.
- Dogs should be left alone while they eat, regardless of whether they are chewing food or eating out of a bowl. Dogs don’t like people getting in their way of food.
- Do not reach for or through any fences or barriers to touch or pet a dog.
- Never harass, chase, or tease a dog.
- If you are not with the dog’s owner, don’t go to a property that has a dog. Dogs may be protective of their territory and family members and believe it is their duty to do so.
The dog-safe family
- Children must always be accompanied by dogs, even the family dog.
- Children around dogs can be supervised to prevent accidents and protect the dog from being harmed by curious children who may not know how touching them could cause injury.
- Do not leave your baby unattended with dogs. Dogs might not be aware that babies aren’t as strong or know what a baby looks like.
- Start early if you are expecting a child to help your dog adjust to the changes in your life and that of your baby.
- Do not allow your children or pets to try to take toys, food, or other objects out of your dog’s mouth. Instead, offer your dog something of equal or greater worth as a trade.
- Early education about dog safety is important.
- Consider your family’s needs and preferences before you consider bringing a dog to your home. Next, you can consult your local shelter staff for information about the best breed of dog for you.
- Familypaws.com has more information on how to establish a healthy relationship with your dog and your kids.
Good dog habits
- Make sure to socialize your dog early and include him in family activities. Dogs need to be socialized outside of your home and family. They need to feel at ease in the world.
- Learn about positive reinforcement techniques and involve your entire family.
- Refer your dog to a trained trainer. They can teach you appropriate behavior in a humane and effective manner.
- You can make a game with your whole family to reinforce good behavior and spot dogs.
- Children shouldn’t play rough with your dog. They can inadvertently hurt your dog or encourage him into a sexy mood. You shouldn’t allow your dog to play tug. However, teaching him to play with healthy rules will teach him self-control.
- Avoid hitting your dog with a stick or using any other form of punishment. It can cause fear, aggression, resentment, and even aggression.
- Encourage your dog to play fetch, and go on walks often. Walking or hiking is a great way to exercise your dog. Regular exercise not only helps to burn excess energy, but also reduces the frustration level in your pet. Interaction with your pet can also increase the bond between you.
- Your dog should be spayed or neutered. Intact (unneutered), dogs accounted for 92 percent of fatal dog attacks over a six year period. Spay/neuter reduces the risk of expensive medical conditions and the number of pets that end up in shelters.
- Your dog should have lots of interaction with people every day. A happy dog makes a happy dog. Dogs are social creatures and thrive on being loved by their family.
- Avoid tethering your dog. This will make him/her feel more vulnerable and less able to flee. The only way to escape from a perceived threat is to attack. A study by the CDC found that tethered dogs have a 2.8-fold higher likelihood of biting.
- Never let your dog roam free. Your dog’s chances of being injured or killed by cars, other animals or people greatly increase if he/she is allowed to roam freely. An aggressive dog that is allowed to roam may be confused or scared by its surroundings.
- Be cautious when you introduce your dog to new people, dogs, or situations. You want to give your dog a series of happy experiences that will help him/her improve their social skills.
- Your vet should be consulted if your dog exhibits any behavior problems, such as irritability or aggression. Sometimes behavior changes are a sign of a medical problem.