We encounter strange dogs daily while walking dogs around Miami, so we have a tip or two to prevent dog bites. It’s important to know that every dog can and will bite under certain circumstances. Sometimes the pet is in pain; sometimes they are possessive of toys… You can be prepared and prevent dog bites by following what we write about in this post. We hope it helps!
Responsible pet ownership and education are the keys to preventing dog bites. The first step is choosing the right dog for your home. Second, and just as important: the way you raise your dog, the way it lives, has as much to do with its personality and behavior as its breed (some would argue it’s all about nurture!). If your only wish is to adopt a Malinois, for example, make sure you are ready to give it the exercise and mental stimulation it requires. Some dogs really do NEED exercise; if you prefer to spend your nights on the couch (and we’re not judging- because sometimes, that sounds fabulous!), an active dog is simply not for you.
Other ways to avoid dog bites include:
- Socialize your dog at an early age so they’re comfortable around people and other animals. Puppies should be touched and held often to get them used to human contact.
- Teach your children that not every dog is friendly or open to approach and that they should ask permission before petting a strange dog.
- Don’t put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased; especially don’t take a leashed dog into a leash-free dog park!
- Train your dog! They need to know what is expected of them. The training is fun for the dogs, who need to work, and it will build a beautiful bond between you.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise: do it regularly to maintain great health and mental stimulation
- No Wrestling! Avoid highly excitable games like tug-of-war or wrestling, which put your dogs in the position of potentially biting.
- Always use a leash in public.
- Neuter or spay your dog.
- Never, ever tie your dog up in your backyard. This creates intense frustration and pent-up aggression. Tragedies can occur when this poor dog finally breaks loose. Aside from that, tethering your dog is illegal in Miami-Dade County unless you comply with a lengthy list of criteria.
- If you keep your dog in a fenced-in yard, secure the gates and fences.
This list is just a cursory overview to get you started. We will be covering what to do with an aggressive dog in a later post, as well as specific behaviors you can look out for in pets that may warn you before a bite occurs.
In the meantime, some great reading material includes “Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution,” by Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, as well as “How to Speak Dog” by Stanley Coren.
We hope this information helps! Have you ever been bitten by a dog or avoided being bitten by using some of these precautions? Let us know in the comments, below!