Dog Bite Prevention Week Helps us focus on Dog Biting Problems
Perhaps not hugely advertised in the UK, National Dog Bite Prevention Week runs each April / May. The idea is great (and sadly needed) - it allows us to give some focus to specific aspects regarding living with our dogs.
Are things worse these days? Or do we just hear about it more? That's an interesting question surrounding a number of topics.
Certainly prevention is key, and here's our advice on how to prevent dogs biting. Most aggression and most bites are fear motivated. So, if we can help our dogs to not be fearful, then that's certainly going to help.
Puppies - Get it right from the start!
- Good puppy socialisation is essential and puppy parties are great, if they are run well. Contact your vet to see whether they have something running, and do phone around if you've not got your puppy yet. Ask if you can attend the current puppy party so that you know what's going on before you take your little bundle of joy with you.
- Puppy socialisation is simple really - but it's a great big world out there, and it really helps to give it some sound consideration - read more about puppy socialisation and training here
- And the 3rd thing to note is that if we don't teach a puppy about bite inhibition, then they simply won't learn that human skin puppy teeth just don't go together - read more about puppy biting and bite inhibition here
- It's difficult sometimes to get the message through to you children. It's very important that they don't provoke the puppy into over-excited play. No running around teasing the dog. Always teach your children to play gently with the dog using a toy rather than their hands, their shoes, or the legs of their trousers
Choose the right dog for you and your family
Cute little puppies can grow into big dogs with big mouths and big teeth very very quickly. It can be a great experience for a child to grow up with and look after a dog. So do take the time to investigate the right breed (or cross breed) for you. Think about what your lifestyle's going to be like now, in 6 months, in a year - will you be able to walk with a pram, will your older children have lost interest? Read more about getting a puppy here.
Train your dog
Part of the reason that dogs have so much difficulty in our human world is because they simply don't understand it. They don't understand us, and they don't understand the surroundings and what's being asked of them. Fear and Frustration are hugely influential when dogs bite. Training is not about obedience!! it's about improving your communication skills - if your dog understands you, then they'll know what's being asked of them; they'll feel more confident and they'll have learned to cope with their frustrations - think how you feel when you continue to try something and just don't get it! Frustrated? Angry? Well, it's the same for your dog.
If your dog understands you, then they'll be much more content and happy.
What if your dog is already behaving aggressively?
Step 1 : NEVER be confrontational - it simply makes things worse - always dissipate the situation. Do not bite your dog back. Do not pin your dog to the ground. Read about Dogs and Dominance here
Step 2 : Contact a qualified behaviourist for help. (Look at the CAPBT here)
- If you can get hold of a Blue Dog CD programme, it's a great way to teach children about dogs.
- Have a look at some dog body language videos, and watch these with your children to help them learn when to leave their puppy or dog alone. Here are some suggestions:
No matter how much your trust your pet - never leave your child alone with your dog