Teach Children WAIT to Prevent Dog Bites

August 7, 2013 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. 800,000 of those people seek medical attention. Preventing dogs bites is not just a human safety issue, preventing dog bites is vitally important for the safety of dogs.

The first thing to keep in mind is that any dog with teeth can bite. There is no scientific evidence demonstrating that any one breed is more or less likely to bite. Even the gentlest dog that is in pain or feels threatened may bite.

A study out of the University of Colorado found that the people most likely to be bitten by dogs are younger children when left alone. To prevent these types of bites, the American Veterinary Medical Association advocates teaching young children W.A.I.T.
• Wait: Wait and see if the dog is friendly, on a leash, and with its owner. If a dog is not on a leash and with its owner, teach young children to ignore or avoid it.
• Ask: Ask the owner if you may pet the dog.
• Invite: Invite the dog to be petted, but not by reaching out. Curl your hands into fists and keep them at your sides. Encourage the dog to approach you.
• Touch: If the dog accepts your invitation, touch the dog on its back, in the direction of fur growth.
Again, this method is for young children.

Neutered dogs are less likely to bite.

Many dog bites revolve around some type of patterned aggression such as protecting food, fear of strangers, protecting a specific toy, etc. If your dog has basic obedience training and if the owner knows the basics of dog training, these types of aggressive behaviors can often be replaced with positive behaviors.

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