In our society, where dogs are such a huge part of our lives, we hear stories every day of people who are bitten by family pets. As dog owners, it is our responsibility to keep our dogs, our families, and the public safe. We have to set up our dogs for success. Stefani Fortney lists 7 steps to dog bite prevention and responsible dog ownership.
Seven steps to dog bite prevention:
1. Educate! Teach your family members—including children—the proper way to interact with Fido. Every person in your household should treat him with respect. Also, learn how to recognize signs of fear, anxiety, and annoyance in your pup’s body language. Realizing when your dog needs space is the first step in avoiding a bite.
2. Accept! Never assume that your dog won’t bite. Any dog can and will bite if pushed to the point of thinking it’s their only means of defense. Regardless of size, age, or temperament—ANY DOG CAN BITE.
3. Observe! Know your dog’s fears, pet peeves, and anxieties… and respect them. Don’t put your dog into a situation where he feels the need to protect himself. If Rover is scared of toddlers, don’t take him to the family reunion. If Fluffy gets uptight in crowds, leave her at home when you go to the parade. Not every dog should be put into every social situation.
4. Train! Your dog will be less likely to bite out of frustration or uncertainty if he has a solid foundation of basic obedience training. It establishes a relationship of trust between you and your dog—and will help to set boundaries for your canine companion.
5. Contain! It’s your job as his owner to keep your dog safely in a fence or on a leash. Dogs who roam at-large are much more likely to be involved in a bite incident. It’s your responsibility to keep your dog under control and out of trouble.
6. Speak up! If your dog is out with you on a walk or a trip to the vet, let people know that they need to respect his space. If a child runs up to your pup, step between them. Explain that it’s rude to run up to someone you don’t know. If an adult starts to reach for your scared canine, tell them to stop. Explain that your dog is uncomfortable. Don’t be shy. Your dog depends on you.
7. Fly your flag! The Yellow Dog Project is a movement to help reduce dog bites in public by tying a yellow ribbon to your dog’s leash if they need extra space. Whether your dog is anxious, aggressive, sick, old, shy… or any other reason. The yellow ribbon signifies that people need to give your fur baby some space.
Remember—it is your responsibility to prevent your dog from biting.[Tweet “Remember—it is your responsibility to prevent your dog from biting.”]
Stefani Fortney has loved dogs for as long as long as she can remember. At the age of nine, she and her little Beagle mix, Puppy, learned obedience together for the first time in 4-H. As an adult, Stefani became a professional groomer, then later earned her accreditation (ABCDT) as a dog trainer from Animal Behavior College. She uses Positive Reinforcement training techniques exclusively. Stefani currently shares her home with her wife (Melissa), six dogs (Phaedra, Spectre, Mani, Fritter, Poppy, and Opus), and one cat (Pudge).