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12 Tips for Dog Bite Prevention

By Essential IT

dog aggression, dog bite“Every year, more than 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs, with more than half of all victims younger than age 14,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.   Many children are bitten in the face when they try to pull the dog’s face to their face to kiss them. The dog instinctively pulls back as an opposition reflex or bites the face to make the child go away.  Other bite situations may occur when the dog attempts to obtain or retain a resource such as food or a toy or when the the dog feels threatened.  Below are some dog bite prevention tips.

  1. Select a puppy or dog that will be a good match for your family, especially for your children. Learn about breed characteristics including it’s normal activity level.
  2. If selecting a puppy from a reputable breeder, visit the pup’s parents and learn about their health and behavioral background.  Visit the litter at least twice to observe and play with the puppies.  Pick a puppy that is neither fearful or off standish nor overly dominant with it’s littermates. If selecting a dog from a shelter, ask to see the written behavioral temperament test done on the dog.  Determine if the dog has any fearful or food resource guarding issues by consulting with a professional dog trainer or dog behaviorist.
  3. Socialize your dog to as many positive experiences as possible, gradually over time. In more challenging situations, expose the dog to the situation with appropriate distance from the stimuli and pair the dog’s experience with with tasty treats, play and/or affection.
  4. Enroll your puppy in early socialization classes. These classes will allow appropriate puppy play, expose puppies to new sights and sounds, and introduce puppies to friendly strangers.
  5. Use Prevention, Management and Education. Don’t place your pup or dog in situations they are not ready for, manage their environment for situations they are ready to experience (e.g. utilizing a leash, baby gate, etc.), and teach them desired behaviors such as sit, down, come, etc. via Michael Burkey’s in-home or group dog training instruction.
  6. Play appropriate games with your dog such as fetch, trick training, etc.  Don’t play rough housing games such as wrestling, playing tug with a pant leg or arm, etc.  A low intensity level game of tug with a toy can be played provided it is taught properly to the dog utilizing a release command.
  7. Vaccinate your dog against rabies and other diseases.  Neuter your puppy between the age of 6 months to 1 year of age or as recommended by your veterinarian.
  8. Never leave a baby, small child, or young children alone unsupervised with a dog.
  9. With babies and small children, use appropriate management techniques to control your dog’s environment such as an x-pen or baby gate or train your dog to remain in place on a dog bed.  Using proper management techniques, dogs and children can spend supervised time with each other safely.
  10. Teach your child to obtain your permission and ask the owner’s permission before attempting to pet a dog. Teach your child what a scared or unfriendly dog looks like and therefore not to pet the dog at that time.  A wagging tail does not indicate friendliness, only arousal which could be good or bad.
  11. If the child receives parent’s and owner’s permission to pet and the dog looks friendly, teach your child to allow the dog to approach them instead of them approaching the dog. The child should allow the dog to sniff the child’s closed hand (fist to protect fingers) prior to petting.  Once the dog has sniffed the child and still appears friendly and calm, teach your child to place the fist on the dog’s chest or side of it’s body rather than trying to pet by placing the hand above the dog’s head which may cause the dog apprehension.
  12. Tell your child not to give dog kisses, pet or play with a dog that is sleeping, eating, chewing a bone, playing with a toy or caring for puppies.


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