Reports of dog attacks or dog bites generate a lot of attention when they make the news, but the truth of the matter is that dog bites occur nearly 4.7 million times a year. Children between the ages of four and nine are the most common victims of dog bites, but postal workers are also a common target. The week of May 20-26, 2012 has been designated as Dog Bite Prevention Week.
It is sometimes difficult to make children understand that not all dogs are as friendly as the family pooch they’ve known their whole lives. Parents should teach their child the following rules in order to decrease the likelihood of being bitten by a dog:
- Never walk up to a dog you don’t know.
- Don’t play with dogs without parental supervision.
- Dogs that are eating, caring for puppies, or sleeping shouldn’t be disturbed.
- Teasing a dog with a treat or toy, or chasing a dog isn’t allowed.
- Always ask permission before petting a dog.
- Allow a dog to see you and sniff your hand before you touch him.
Dog owners are held responsible for the actions of their pets. No owner wants to learn that his pet has harmed another person or animal. As a pet owner, keep these things in mind to avoid dog bites:
- Don’t chain up your dog and leave him alone for long periods of time. Poor socialization lends itself to bad behavior when an unknown person appears.
- If you have children, under no circumstances should you house an animal with a history of aggressiveness.
- Children should never be left alone with a dog, especially infants and toddlers.
- If you’re expecting a new baby, begin to ready your dog(s) for the big event early on.
- Do not accept deliveries with your dog in the room. Dogs should be kept inside or in another room during any type of delivery, including mail.
- Enroll your dog in obedience training. Not only will your dog learn socially acceptable behaviors, you will learn to better control your dog in various situations.