Every year, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. This translates to more than 12,000 bites per day, with children being the victim in most cases. Clearly, dog attacks are a common occurrence and more should be done to reduce this startling trend.
One of the best ways to reduce the number of dog bite injuries is to understand what makes dogs bite in the first place. While not all dog bites are completely preventable, they are often the result of someone behaving in a way that agitates the animal. Dogs are incapable of outright telling you that they do not like the way you’re behaving, but their body language can help you decipher how they feel before they show you by biting.
Dogs typically bite after being annoyed. For example, they don’t enjoy being hugged, but children like to hug dogs. This positions their faces right next to the dog’s jaws, making it the easiest target for a bite should the dog become adequately upset. Dogs who are protecting something, such as food or a toy do not like it when their belongings are taken away and will sometimes protect what is theirs. When a dog is sleeping, it is best to leave it alone since they don’t take to kindly to being startled.
When teaching a child how to interact with a dog, it’s good to teach them that animals are living beings who are worthy of respect. Children should try to be mindful of how the animal feels rather than giving in to the urge to handle the dog however they want. When confronted with a new dog, kids should always ask the owner for permission to pet it first and make sure the dog is alright with being touched by letting it sniff their closed hand.
Responsible dog owners will do what they can to train their pets to be accustomed to being around people, but sometimes dogs bite without warning. When this happens, the dog’s owner can be accountable for any resulting injuries. A dog bite lawyer can help people who have been attacked by someone’s dog secure such compensation. Of course, doing everything you can to not be bitten in the first place is ideal, but that simply cannot always protect you in all circumstances.