The vast majority of interactions between people and dogs are
happy and benign. But the reality is, dogs do bite. It's a dog's
natural defense and protection mechanism. Knowing this, we all need
to be aware and understand how and why dog bites occur and how to
In an effort to focus on understanding and avoiding dog bites,
the third week of May has been designated National Dog Bite
Information is one of the best cures so be sure to follow these
general tips to reduce dog bite incidents:
- Use caution when approaching any dog who is sleeping, eating,
or caring for puppies.
- Always ask permission to pet unfamiliar dogs.
- When approaching a dog, begin by letting the dog sniff your
- If a loose dog comes toward you, avoid eye contact with the
animal and stand very still, "like a tree," until the dog gets more
comfortable or moves away.
- If you believe you are in danger from a dog, try to place
something between you like a backpack or a bike.
- If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with
your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream
or roll around.
As a dog owner, you can work to reduce dog bite incidents,
Teaching your dog well
Teach your dog appropriate behavior. Don't teach your dog to
chase after or attack others, even in fun. Your dog can't always
understand the difference between play and real-life situations.
Set appropriate limits for your dog's behavior.
Be a responsible dog owner
License your dog as required by law, and provide regular
veterinary care, including rabies vaccinations. For everyone's
safety, don't allow your dog to roam alone. Make your dog a member
of your family. Dogs who spend a great deal of time
alone in the backyard or tied on a chain often become dangerous.
Dogs who are well-socialized and supervised are much less likely to
Err on the safe side
If you don't know how your dog will react to a new situation, be
cautious. If your dog may panic in crowds, leave him at home. If
your dog overreacts to visitors or delivery or service personnel,
keep him in another room. Work with professionals to help your dog
become accustomed to these and other situations. Until you are
confident of his behavior, however, avoid stressful settings.