Everyone loves man’s best friend, but do you know how to “speak dog?”
This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, a week dedicated to educating people about safe dog interaction. Here at HSNEGA we know you love your canine kids and don’t want to see anything bad happen to them, so learn how to “communicate” with your dog, respect their space when needed, and teach others how to properly interact with them. Here are a few simple steps you can take as a dog owner or parent to prevent a dog bite.
Step 1: Know the Facts
- More than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year .
- Approximately half of all dog bite victims are children under the age of 12.
- Most dog bites to children come from a dog that they know.
Step 2: Learn Prevention Tips & Tricks
The best way to prevent a dog bite to yourself or your children is to learn how to communicate with dogs and teach your kids to respect a dog’s space. Many families have children and dogs growing up together in a home. Dogs absolutely love it when you pet or play with them; however, sometimes they also want their own space and to be left alone in peace.
Children will sometimes interact with your dog in an unsafe way that could cause your dog to become aggressive. Since half of dog bite victims are children under the age of 12, it’s important to teach them safe dog interaction and the ability to read a dog’s body language.
- Pay attention to a dog’s body language (see graphic). If you think a dog may attack, do not scream and run away. Stay motionless with your hands by your side and avoid eye contact. Slowly back away once the dog loses interest in you.
- Never leave infants or children alone with ANY dog
- Teach your kids safe animal interaction.
- Ask the owner’s permission before approaching any dog.
- Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, caring for puppies, or playing with toy.
Tips for Dog Owners:
Everyone loves their dog, but cringe at the idea that their best friend would ever act out and bite a person. Here are a few simple steps to prevent the risk of that scenario happening to put your mind at ease.
- Know your dog’s temperament especially around other animals and children.
- Socialize your dog so it is confident and relaxed when encountering new animals, people, and situations.
- Keep your dog up-to-date on vaccinations.
- Keep your dog on a leash during walks.
We all enjoy spending time with our dogs… they love us unconditionally and love us more than they love themselves, but sometimes dogs are just having a bad day and have their own way of telling us so. It’s our job to make sure that we know how to communicate with them in order to prevent anyone getting hurt. Just remember, there are 70 million nice dogs… but any dog can bite.
Sources: aspcapro.org; humanesociety.org
Written by Leah Hodges, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern