National Dog Bite Prevention Week is April 11th-17th, 2021. This week focuses on safety around dogs for all those who interact with them. Even though dogs are our best friends, it doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t bite when put into a situation that makes them uncomfortable. As dog-lovers, it’s up to us to learn how to keep them and us safe!
Dog Bite Facts
- 1 in 5 dog bites require medical care
- Children are the #1 dog bite victim
- Most child victims are bitten by a familiar dog during routine activities
- Individuals under 16 years of age account for over 56% of dog bite incidents
- ANY dog can bite
- Most dog bites are preventable!
Why Might a Dog Bite?
- When social cues and body language warnings are ignored
- When feeling threatened, trapped, panicked, or startled
- When protecting something or someone
Dogs don’t want to start an altercation. Instead, they will try to ward off any altercation through body language. However, a bite may occur as a last resort to ward someone off. Most bites are singular (one bite, not many) and provide the dog a chance to get away, however, that one bite can be damaging.
Dog Bite Prevention
In order to keep yourself, your dog, and those around you safe, there are several key aspects of owning or being around dogs that can help prevent bites.
Learn to read dog body language!
- Understanding how a dog communicates and what it means can help alert you to situations that make a dog uncomfortable so that you can stop it.
- Dogs communicate primarily in a nonverbal way, meaning through the way they hold their body and their actions.
Take part reward-based, force-free training.
- Keep training throughout dog’s life!
- Training that Camp Bow Wow promotes and provides establishes good, healthy relationships, helps set boundaries, and is a vital part of keeping dogs and people safe.
- If you’ve gone through training with your dog before, consider a refresh to help keep your communication lines open, engage is fun and safe activities with your dog, help keep your dog looking to you for guidance and support, and also supports mental health and dexterity for your dog.
Be your dog’s champion.
- Sometimes you have to be your dog’s voice and step in to protect him/her.
- You are allowed to ask for boundaries and space when it comes to your dog’s well-being.
- Your dog is also allowed to say no to interactions that make him/her uncomfortable.
Avoid risky scenarios.
- Prevention is key, particularly with children involved.
- If you know your dog does not do well in crowds, it’s best not to put him/her in that situation.
Promote humane, safe, and responsible dog interactions with children.
- Teach a child to ask to approach or pet any dog (asking the parent AND the dog’s owner).
- Practice calm, gentle, and brief contact with a dog.
- Keep interactions with children positive.
- Always supervise children around dogs (even family dogs).