Dogs can be a man’s best friend. But what about those dogs whose bites are actually worse than their barks? In Canada, someone is bitten by a dog every 60 seconds, according to the Humane Society of Canada. What can you do to prevent being bitten?
- Watch for potentially dangerous situations where dogs are present.
- Ask permission from the owner before petting any dog. Let the dog see and sniff you before attempting to pet it.
- Don’t tease a dog with food or toys. And don’t disturb a dog that’s sleeping, eating or protecting something.
- Stand still if a strange dog approaches, or if the family dog becomes aggressive. Try to put an object between you and the dog. Don’t turn your back on a dog and run away.
- Teach children not to approach strange dogs, nor to hug or kiss a dog on the face, even their own dog. And NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
And as a dog owner, what steps can you take to make sure your dog doesn’t bite?
- Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered pets tend to be calmer and less aggressive.
- Use positive methods to train your dog, and prepare him to meet new experiences. Well socialized dogs are much less likely to bite.
- Supervise your dog, especially around children.
- Train your dog. And make sure every member of your household participates.
- Exercise your dog frequently.
- Use a leash when in public.
- Set limits for your dog’s behaviour. Don’t allow him to chase or attack, even in fun.
- Seek help from a professional, like a qualified dog trainer, if your dog displays dangerous behaviour toward anyone.
Your dog is a member of your family. Protect him, your family, and others by being a responsible pet owner. In the unfortunate event your dog does bite someone, be sure to speak to your home insurance provider. The liability insurance included in most home insurance policies may provide you with some protection against a legal action related to the incident.