Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do you know how to prevent a dog bite? – Part 2

According to the ASPCA, “The vast majority of dog bites are from a dog known to the child—his or her own pet, a neighbor's or friends.” A common misconception among people is that because they are around a certain dog a lot they assume that dog must like and feel comfortable around them. But dogs have their own rules of etiquette and they give lots of body language they people don't pick up on, which leads to an "out of the blue" dog bite.  And because children are so close to the dog’s size, their bites are usually worse on the face or neck.  
Dog bites are a problem for children and adults alike. So what can you do to avoid being bitten by the next dog you encounter?

The Proper Way to greet a dog
When meeting or greeting an unfamiliar dog, first ask the owner if the dog is friendly and then ask for permission to pet the dog.  You should then ask the dog for permission to pet him or her but letting the dog sniff the back of your hand before petting the animal. Always pet a new dog under the chin, on the shoulder, or on the chest, but never on their head first.  A dog may misinterpret a person leaning over them as a dominant behavior and feel threatened.
Here are basic tips put together by the U.S. Postal Service and the ASPCA to avoid being bitten by a dog:
·         Don’t run past or away from a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch prey. 
·         If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact because dogs interpret this as a challenge. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
·         Don’t approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
·         Do not tease a dog behind a fence or tethered in a yard.
·         Do not touch or play with a dog that is eating or sleeping.  
·         If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle. Otherwise, you should stand still “Like a tree trunk” with your arms crossed over your chest (closed fists). If you or your child should fall to the ground, you should curl into a ball, with your knees to your chest and your fingers interlocked covering the back of your neck. If you stay still, the dog will most likely sniff you, loose interest and leave you alone.
Corona residents can request to have an Animal Control Officer visit your school, civic organization or church group to give an informational presentation on Dog Bite Prevention.  Visit the City of Corona website
Again, a great tool for children, and adults alike, is this educational video produced by the AKC to help kids avoid being bitten by a dog. Check out the AKC website to view the video or to order a free copy for your school or community group. They also provide a workbook for kids to go over after the video to ensure they understood what they learned. 

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