Nationwide statistics underscorethe need to raise awareness around the dangerous problem of dog bites, and to educate the public about what can be done to prevent them. According to the American Veterinary Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.7 million Americans suffer from dog bites each year. The severity of the bites varies, but over 800,000 people are injured seriously enough each year to require medical attention. On average, 12 people die annually due to mortal wounds.
While these numbers are both staggering and alarming, some of the most surprising facts may be that 61 percent of dog bites occur within pet owners' homes, and 43 percent of all dog bites involve children being bitten by the family dog. As such, parents can lower these high incidence rates simply by learning some basic guidelines that will help their children avoid getting bitten by their own dogs.
For example, under no circumstances should a baby or child be left alone with a dog, and young children should never walk or feed the dog unsupervised. Parents should never allow a young child to discipline their dog, pull on the dog's collar or play aggressive games with them. What parents should do is teach their dog to be respectful and respond to verbal commands.
To help reduce the number of dog bite incidents involving children by teaching them to make the right decisions around strange and familiar dogs and treat all dogs with care and respect, Bark Busters Home Dog Training has created the Bach & Buster Buddy Dog Safety Program. Visit BarkBustersBuddy.org, where your kids can find fun, interactive activities and take a Dog Safety Quiz; after passing the quiz, your child will become an official Bach & Buster Buddy club member and receive a personalized, printable certificate.
Of course, dog bites are not restricted to children. The following tips can help reduce the chances of adults being attacked by an approaching dog:
--Don't try to make friends with a dog.
--Stand still, stand tall and don't move a muscle until the dog loses interest in you--don't try to run away.
--Allow the dog to smell you but don't put your hand out--let the dog come close to you on his own terms.
--Face the dog at all times but don't make eye contact with the dog or stare--it can be perceived as a sign of aggression.
--Back away slowly, watching the dog from the corner of your eye.
--If the dog knocks you down, roll up into a fetal position with your arms covering your head and neck and play dead--don't fight back.
Dogs can be wonderful, loving companions. To keep yourself and your dog happy and safe, act responsibly. By following the above tips, you can help reduce the risk of your dog biting others, or getting bit by a strange dog yourself.