If you believe all media reports, you might also believe dog attacks are just a part of their nature. However, studies by researchers and expert dog trainers say otherwise. Dogs can become aggressive because of stress, fear, or a need to be dominant.
It’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and BYOD is sharing our best tips and advice when it comes to dog bites.
Before A Dog Bite
One solution dog owners need to take to prevent biting is to start proper training, and this process entails getting to the root of your dog’s aggression. The behavior comes from fear, a lack of confidence, or a need to be dominant, and these problems can come from how they have experienced the world.
If you have an aggressive dog, consult a professional trainer or dog training material to start identifying the problem. Once you find the cause of aggression, be consistent with your training and have patience. Learning is a process that can take time, but practice is the key.
If you are the owner of an aggressive dog and don’t want to train, you need to be prepared to face the consequences, but you also need to get to know your dog, find out any triggers, and be aware of your dog’s environments.
Also, there are signs you can spot to let you know you should back down or take your dog away from the situation. Growling, snarling, baring teeth, excessive barking, and lunging are some common signs, but other signals include whale eye, excessive licking, hairs rising, and tension in the body. If a dog is stiff from head to toe, is tense, then there is a possibility of them lashing out.
If a Dog Bites a Dog
There are important steps to take if you and your dog are ever out and find yourselves in a dog fight.
First, do your best to watch out for the aggressive signals of your dog and the other dogs around. Hopefully, all owners are keeping an eye out on the situation because dog fights can start suddenly but can happen to anyone.
If a fight breaks out, do not grab your dog or the other’s collar or put your body into the fight; you risk getting bit. In fact, if your dog is leashed, drop the leash.
An important note: do not scream at the dogs. That can further provoke them. If none of the dogs in the fight are responding to any verbal communication—commands, air horns, cans filled with coins—try stopping the fight with water. You can use a spray bottle, a hose, a bottle of water, etc.
If all this fails and you need to physically intervene in the situation, grab another owner and try the wheelbarrow method.
Physical intervention is the last resort because then you risk getting attacked yourself.
Sniff out the following video created by the educational site, Leerburg.com:
If a Dog Bites a Human
If you find yourself in a situation where you think a dog is about to attack you, make yourself as boring as possible. Don’t talk softly, avoid eye contact, move slowly, cross your arms, turn away from the dog, and completely ignore the dog.
The best thing you can do before or when a dog lunges to attack is to find a barrier, e.g. a purse, a rolled-up jacket, or a stick. Try to direct the dog’s bite to your barrier. Other tips are to get yourself in a higher position, making it harder for the dog to bite, and try to block the dog’s eyesight with material like a shirt or blanket.
Do not scream or hit the dog. It will only antagonize the dog and possibly provoke them to attack further.
If you find yourself in the rare situation of a dog mauling you, drop into a curled position (fetal), protecting your head and neck, and wait for help. If there is no one around, as long as you keep calm in this position, the dog will lose interest.
After a dog bite attack, asses the human or the dog victim and give them first aid, or if the attack was serious, bring them to the nearest hospital.
It is important to remember dogs do not attack for no reason; something in the environment provokes them to lash out. As dog owners and lovers, it is up to us to beware of the signals before an attack and use our knowledge when things do go wrong.