The dog in the Picture, Outlaw has never bitten anyone. Any dog can bite regardless of size or breed, and sometimes it’s the smallest dogs that will surprise you. With all the dogs I have been with since childhood, I’m happy to say the only ‘bite’ I received was a total accident when playing where a tooth got caught on my clothes versus an intentional bite.
I’ve heard several stories where a person will get bit because the dog was suddenly scared or frightened by that person or situation and the dog just reacted. Once, a client told me about a trainer who was ‘working’ with their dog doing the ‘I’m alpha’ over the dog, with the dog on their back. That trainer got bit in the face because the dog was scared for its life. I do not support these training methods.
General guidelines for working with dogs, for training and statistics speak to dog- bite situations. I stress the “general guidelines” statement as every dog has its own unique personality, life experiences and reactions to its environment, so what works with one dog does not necessarily work with another. They are as unique as we.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 50 percent of children under the age of 12 will be bitten by a dog they know. Children should not be left alone with dogs (or any animal) as children have a tendency to do what seems logical to them which may be very painful or frightening to an animal. For instance, children poking a dog in the eye, pulling its fur, tail and ears may lead to undesirable results. Live animals are not stuffed toys.
As with any animal, proper socialization is essential in raising a well-adjusted pet. With dogs, socialization helps reduce the likelihood they will react to a situation by biting. While socialization is a lifetime lesson, the best time to socialize puppies is between 7 and sixteen weeks of age. Take your new puppy to family parties, on walks, to work, to school and everywhere it can experience life, people and other animals. Get them used to riding in the car and make it a positive. The steps you take early on will create a lifetime companion who enjoys accompanying you on adventures.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is May 19 to May 25 this year. I will continue writing about various dog bite situations, what to do, how to prevent getting bit, training and other topics to help make your dog, you and others safe.
Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, PawQuatics, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available directly from her. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.