There is one thing that all DoodyCalls technicians have in common, and that is a love of dogs. We enjoy playing with them, feeding treats to them… we even enjoy picking up their poop! DoodyCalls technicians also share a deep respect and awareness that our presence will not always be welcome by dogs in the yards we enter. Given that we have armed all of our technicians with the knowledge of how to avoid dog bites and be on guard for potential hostility among our four-legged friends. No animal lover should ever have to suffer through a painful dog bite encounter, with help from the experts, DoodyCalls would love to share with you what we’ve learned about dog bite prevention during our over 16 years in the field.
Doctors Foster and Smith from PetEducation.com believe that dog bite prevention is everybody’s responsibility, whether you are a dog owner, animal lover or parent. Each person plays a huge role in preventing dog bites. The CDC estimates that over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S., with children representing a large portion of those victims. To protect your family from potentially risky situations, teach your children early on to be cautious around dogs. It’s a good idea to never approach an unknown dog without first asking permission from the owner, and then also offering the new dog your hand to smell. Doctors Foster and Smith recommend that all pet owners socialize their dogs in all kinds of situations, as well as ensure they are neutered or spayed, as they state that neutered dogs are 2.5 times less likely to bite than their intact counterparts. They state that if you do feel at risk around a dog, do not turn your back and run. Instead, remain calm, with your hands by your side and avoid eye contact. Once the dog has lost interest, back away slowly.
Doggone Safe is a U.S. based non-profit organization, invested in the prevention of dog bites through education and awareness. Just as Drs. Foster and Smith encourage their readers to remain calm with their hands to their side if a dog approaches, Doggone Safe takes this idea a step further and encourage children to “be a tree” in an unsafe dog situation since “trees are boring and the dog will eventually go away.” They also stress the importance of never provoking a dog, especially while a dog is eating, sleeping or guarding something. Doggone Safe also encourages dog owners to train their dogs through positive-reinforcement and not physically aggressive cues. Both Drs. Foster and Smith as well as Doggone Safe believe that dog-training should be a family affair, but Doggone Safe encourages owners to leave any puppy punishment to the adults so that dogs only recognize their time with children as positive experiences.
Utilize the following tips to prevent you, and your loved ones, from becoming the victim of dog bites.
- Be a responsible dog owner – Spay and neuter your dog to help eliminate their desire to roam and get into potential dog fights. By keeping your dog home and under observation you will know exactly who they are around and under what circumstances they feel threatened and are at risk of attacking.
- Make your presence known – Always ensure that you first obtain an owner’s permission before approaching a dog. Additionally, ensure that the dog both sees and smells you before you ever reach out to touch the dog. Finally, if the dog looks tense and is emitting warning signs, do not turn your back, but instead stay calm with your hands by your side and back away slowly as the dog grows bored.
- Do not tease dogs – Teach your children to have a healthy respect for dogs and encourage them to never interact with a dog while they are eating, sleeping or guarding something. Likewise, it is always a good idea to give them examples of appropriate and inappropriate contact. Hugs and kisses may be welcome by most family members, but your dog may not appreciate this form of affection.
You don’t make it through over 16 years of business in the pet industry without learning a few lessons regarding dog bite prevention. We hope that our expert information, and lessons learned through personal experience, will help to guide you in keeping your family safe.