May 18 2014

                                                    DOG BITE PREVENTION WEEK IS MAY 18th thru MAY 23rd

FACTS:

  • More than 800,000 Americans receive treatment for dog bites annually – half of them are children
  • Over 4.5 million people are bitten in the U.S. every year.
  • Children are the most common victim and the most severely injured next to seniors
  • ANY DOG CAN BITE!  Biting is NOT BREED SPECIFIC

READING THE BODY LANGUAGE OF A DOG

Because dogs cannot speak, it’s our job to learn their various body signals…we can guess when they are happy to see us, or afraid of storms…but when a dog feels stressed or threatened, what we think we know may not apply. Growling and barking should NEVER BE IGNORED. Remembera WAGGING TAIL can mean anxiety as well as happiness. The mistake is made when we transfer what we believe about our own dog’s behavior, to another dog that we don’t know. If a dog is in pain or protecting its food or a toy, things can change very quickly. AWARENESS AND EDUCATION IS KEY IN PREVENTION!

“Dog bites are not a breed issue.” “They are an economic, cultural and very human issue. We need to educate the public about safety. Not only is it important to understand how dogs behave, it is important to understand how our own behavior may be interpreted by a dog.” (Dr. Ilana Reisner)

Many people believe that only ‘certain’ dog breeds are prone to aggression. This is a misconception. A study based on behavioral assessments and surveys showed that the more aggressive breeds were small to medium-sized dogs. In one Canadian study, it seems that the Lhasa Apso, Springer Spaniel and Shih Tzu’s were the most likely to bite. Many years ago when Dalmatians became popular and were over-bred, you heard about how mean Dalmatians were… And then, of course, the Doberman Pincher was the breed to fear for many years – well, they were used primarily as guard dogs, so what would you expect? Many dogs are just bred and bred, with no thought given to behavior issues inherent in the breed. Now the greatest stigma is on Pit Bulls…and they have rightly earned their reputation – their powerful jaws make their bites especially devastating but, again, they are a very popular breed and not much care is taken to breed out unwanted personality traits. Unfortunately, many are bred, trained and tortured for aggression…Many people fear them just because they are Pit Bull’s – and Pits are some of the most loving dogs out there – but every dog requires respect.

 

TEACHING CHILDREN HOW TO PREVENT DOG BITES

A few tips…

  • Younger children and babies should always be supervised around dogs – and this is your chance to assess both the child’s behavior and the dog’s reaction to that behavior. A child must be properly taught to respect a dog’s space, especially when food is around.
  • Teach your children to AVOID UNKNOWN DOGS and tell them why. This is especially important if the dog is off leash and just wandering through the neighborhood.
  • When meeting a new dog, offer the back of your hand to a strange dog…try not to tower over them or reach for them too quickly. Teach your children this. And teach them to pet gently, speak quietly, and not to scream or laugh loudly.
  • Respecting a dog is important. Teach your children not to pull their tails or ears…not to try to ride them…not to pinch them or slap at them. Never bother dogs with puppies or dogs that are playing with or guarding toys, eating or sleeping. Remember “Let sleeping dogs lie”
  • If you or your children see a dog behaving aggressively, try to calmly walk away if there is some distance between you. If not, stand very still and DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT, which can seem very confrontational to a dog. If the dog attacks, curl up on the ground and cover your head. Teach your child this. RUNNING BECOMES A GREAT GAME FOR THE DOG – and yelling can aggravate the situation, talk in a soft, firm voice.
  • Teach children to recognize when a dog wants to play, and when he doesn’t. And teach them not to take their toys or go around their food bowls.
  • If you are a dog owner, teach your dog to sit when petted…and YOU pay attention to your dog’s body language. Keep your dog close to you – and not on a long leash so you are in control.
  • If you have a small breed dog or a puppy, teach your children the proper way to carry them…and if the child is too young leave that to an adult.
  • When you see a stray wandering around your neighborhood, call the authorities.
  • Teach your children NOT to approach a dog in an unfenced yard…and not to stick their hands through fences to pet an unknown dog.

RESOURCES

            Below are some links you can follow to learn more about what you can do to help protect your family and others, and get a better understanding of everything. Hold the ‘Control’ key while selecting the link.

            https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/Dog-Bite-Prevention-Week.aspx

Here are two very interesting podcasts – please listen as a family…

http://www.avmamedia.org/display.asp?sid=526&tid=207&NAME=National_Dog_Bite_Prevention_Week_2014_%28May_18-24%29

http://www.avmamedia.org/display.asp?sid=78&NAME=Canine_Aggression_Toward_Children

 

drkclark | Uncategorized

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