The highest number of bites occur in children between the ages of five and nine years old. 30% of these bites are from the family dog and 50% are from the neighbors. With numbers like that it’s imperative that we do everything we can to prevent dog bites from occurring.
What can you do to help prevent bite cases?
It is my belief that the only way we can prevent dogs from biting is to do so through proper management.
Teaching kids the appropriate respect and handling. Most of us have seen all the cutesy videos online between kids and dogs. While some legitimately are cute others leave dog training professionals in a cold sweat. In most cases, dogs do not enjoy being hugged. They do not enjoy being stood and pulled on or messed with in any capacity. Especially when there’s food around or they are resting. Another thing to keep in mind is that you or your child may not know if the dog is not feeling well when an innocent hug is being given. So many times the loving family dog will “snap” when in actuality, it may be in pain and you didn’t know. Unfortunately, the child gets hurt because the dogs knee jerk reaction is to remove the instigator of discomfort. We always want to encourage adults to be present at all times with dogs and kids and making sure they are always handling them with respect and space. We also want to teach kids to never approach a dog that is strange to them without the owner's permission. I would extend this to your neighbor's dog as well. If the neighbor is not present there should be no interactions with the dog.
Kids aren’t the only ones getting bit either. I was surprised to see that dogs attack 5669 postal workers each year. Along with a multitude of adults getting bit.
Why are their so many bite cases?
In my opinion, it’s a combination of lack of training, management, and understanding of the breed/temperament of the dog you have. It’s also the way strangers approach dogs they don’t know. As much as we love dogs, we need to calm down when we see them out and about. Never approach in an overly excited way. Never reach your hand in a dog's face or go to pet them on their head. If the owner asks you to keep a safe distance, please don’t answer with “Oh, but dogs love me!!” and reach anyway. If you love dogs then give them the space they need to be successful!
I truly believe that these numbers don’t need to continue to be this high. Let's teach our children to respect dogs and not climb, pull or leave them unattended. Let's seek out professional help to properly address aggressive behaviors that may be present in our dogs. Let’s also make sure that we have a secure way of managing them in the community as well as our house. Lastly, if you are out and about always respect a dog's space.
Einstein Dog Training