Education and Training are the Keys to Prevent Dog Bites
Dogs can be a wonderful addition to your family. However, certain steps need to be taken in order to keep them from injuring someone you love.
Believe it or not, a shocking 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Many of these bites are serious enough to require medical attention and, of course, some of the bites can be catastrophic, especially for young children or the elderly. In 2006, according the United States Centers for Disease Control (the CDC), more than 31,000 people required reconstructive surgery after having been attacked by a dog. Everyone is vulnerable. Children ages 5 to 9 are the most likely to be bitten. Adult males are attacked more frequently than women. Postal carriers have refused to deliver the mail to certain homes because of dangerous pets on the premises. Is there anything you can do to reduce your chances of being bitten by an animal, or having your pet bite someone else?
How to Choose a Pet
Choose a breed that is known to have a pleasant disposition, such as a golden retriever, a chocolate lab, a border collie or any of the other similar breeds. If you are unsure, ask your vet for a recommendation. Within your chosen breed, do not choose a dog that has a history of being aggressive. If your child is frightened about being around dogs, do not force the child to be around them! Take it slow. A hysterical, screaming child who is hitting or pushing any type of pet away is more likely to get bit.
Teach Your Your Pet to be a Good Member of Your Family
Spaying or neutering dogs seems to reduce their aggressive tendencies … although not always. Don't wrestle with your dog or teach them to play aggressively. They may accidentally bite you, or someone else they think is playing with them. Get your pet trained. Take him to an obedience class where he will learn to submit to you. Your pet should allow you to rub his belly and take food out of his mouth without growling. If your dog becomes aggressive despite taking all the above steps, talk to your vet or trainer. Do not leave an aggressive dog alone with children, or people who may be strangers to the animal.
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Safety Tips for When Kids are Around Strange Animals
Teach your children that they should never approach a stranger's dog, and should never pet someone else's animal unless the owner is present and has invited your child to touch it. Even then, your child should behave calmly, letting the dog look at them and sniff them before the child begins to pet the animal. If a dog does attack them, they should roll into a ball and lie still. They should not run screaming away from it. The dog may become even more excited. Children should also be taught not to stare into a dog's eyes. Some animals perceive this is an aggressive act, and they may respond with aggression. Children should also be taught to be aware that if the dog is sleeping, eating or taking care of puppies, it may growl or snap at anyone who interferes.
Dogs are a wonderful addition to most families. However, they need to be treated with love and with respect, so that everyone can be comfortable around them. Your family can enjoy these delightful animals for many years.
You may also want to read:
The Perfect Guide to Help You Properly Train Your Dog
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