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Dog Bite Prevention Week Tips

By Ken Grey, Leeds Branch Manager

dog-angry-webA dog may be considered man’s best friend, but unfortunately, dog bites do happen. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites accounted for more than $483 million in homeowners insurance liability claims paid out in 2013 in the United States.

One good approach to interacting with dogs is to treat them like you would a human. Would you get in a strager's face and start grabbing or touching them without calmly greeting them first? Would you take someone's food or toy out of their hands? Probably not - so why do we do it to dogs? If you wouldn't like it, the chances are a dog won't either, and may lash out with a nip or bite to tell you so. Follow these tips to lower your risk of getting bitten:

  • Never pet dogs without allowing them to smell you first.
  • Do not approach a dog that you do not know.
  • Avoid disturbing a sleeping or eating dog, as it may bite out of fear.
  • Always leave dogs alone if they are playing with toys or caring for their young.
  • Do not turn your back to a dog and start to run away if you feel threatened. A dog's natural instinct is to chase and catch you.

If you are in a situation where you feel threatened by a dog, do not run away. Instead, do not look the dog in the eye and remain motionless with your hands at your sides. When the dog loses interest in what you are doing, slowly back away.

Should a dog try to bite you, place an object between yourself and the dog, such as a jacket or purse. If the dog forces you to the ground, curl up into a ball and cover your ears with your hands until someone comes to assist you.

Tips for Your Own Dog
Even if you think your dog is about as ferocious as Snoopy, it’s wise to minimize your risks.

  • Spay or neuter your dog to reduce its desire to roam and become aggressive with other dogs and humans.
  • Introduce your dog to various situations and people so that it will not be nervous in new social circumstances.
  • Accompany your dog to training courses to learn how to respect humans and the rules you establish in your home.
  • Teach your dog to act properly at all times. When the dog exhibits signs of aggression, even in a playful manner, put a stop to it. Your pet does not understand the difference between playtime and a real life attacking situation.
  • Provide your dog with regular veterinary care, vaccinations and licensing.
  • Do not bring your dog into social situations if you are unsure how it will react. This will reduce the chance that something could go wrong.

Think you can judge a dog's body language? Take our Quiz to find out!

This is for informational purposes only and is not intended as professional advice. © 2008, 2012-2013 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.