Dogs love us unconditionally. They cheer us up when we’re having a bad day and make us feel better when we’re sick. It is no wonder 36 percent of households in the U.S. own a dog. Keeping a dog as a companion can reduce your stress levels, increase your activity levels and they also make wonderful playmates for kids. For all the love and entertainment they give us, they can also bite. A dog bite injury can be serious, and at the very least it is very scary. Once you bring a dog home, it is important to start taking the proper steps right away to prevent bites.
Socialize Your Dog
Your dog loves you and probably never shows any aggression towards you and those in your household or those who regularly visit. But, if a stranger comes to the door your dog might feel threatened and ready to defend his territory. He may see strangers as threats and feel that it is necessary to protect his people and his property. This can quickly turn into a situation where you’re dealing with a dog bite. Avoid this scenario by properly socializing your dog. Introduce him to as many people as possible so that he doesn’t always see unfamiliar people as a threat.
Read Your Dog’s Body Language
You need to pay attention to your dog’s body language. You know your canine companion better than anyone and should be able to recognize any signals that he is uncomfortable and feeling the need to bite. Some obvious signs your dog might bite someone are:
- Intense Stare
- Stiff tail
- Flicking tongue
- Backing away
- Tense body
- Whites of eyes are visible
- Furrowed Brow
- Hair raised on the back
- Pulled back head or ears
If you think your dog is getting ready to bite, you must put some distance between your dog and the other person. If your dog is standoffish, it is a good idea to keep your dog on a leash when strangers are around.
Use a Training Program
The great thing about a dog is that they are usually easy to train. Utilizing a proper training program will allow your dog to learn basic commands quickly. Use such commands to control your dog’s behaviour. Dogs thrive in training programs that use positive reinforcement. Training a dog right from puppyhood is best, but you can train older dogs too. Basic commands, such as heel, sit and stay, can stop your dog in his tracks which can be an important tool in stopping a dog from biting.
Keep Your Dog Away From Stressful Situations
Learn what your dog’s stressors are. Strive to keep him away from situations that make him uncomfortable. Some dogs get upset around large crowds. Others are fearful of loud sounds. Some dislike children. If you’re approached by a child who wants to pet your dog and you know your dog isn’t a fan of kids, politely tell the child that your dog isn’t really in the mood for a pet today. This keeps your dog and everyone else safe and avoids a potentially hazardous situation.
Because your dog is your best friend, you want to ensure he is kept away from situations where he feels the need to bite. It is your responsibility to take care of your best friend. He depends on you for his safety and it is also your responsibility to ensure others are safe around your dog.
Laurence Banville. Esq is the managing partner and face of Banville Law. Laurence is licensed to practice law in the state of New York. Originally from Ireland, Banville moved to the United States of America where he worked at law firms, refining his litigation and brief writing crafts. He is also the recipient of the Irish Legal 100 and the Top 40 Under 40 awards.