How to Prevent Dog Bites
Every year, nearly 4.5 million people across the country are bitten by dogs, and over three-quarters of children who receive these bites are caused by dogs that they are very familiar with. Over half of all dog bites happen to children between the ages of five and nine years old, so educating parents and children alike about how to avoid dog bites is imperative. As part of Dog Bite Prevention Week, experts in the area of dog bites shared their advice for preventing dog bites among children.
Reactions to Stressful Situations
In many cases of dog bites, the parent or victim of the accident tells the doctor that the animal “just snapped.” However, this is rarely, if ever, the case in dog bite situations. Dogs lash out when they feel stressed or placed in a fight or flight situation. It is also important to remember that many normal human behaviors can come across as frightening, stressful, or threatening to a dog even if we associate the activity with being playful, nice, or showing affection. Here are the most common behaviors of children that dogs can perceive as threats:
Hugging and Kissing
Children love giving hugs and kisses, and their parents teach them that these are signs of affection. It makes sense to kids that they should show affection to their dogs, as well. However, these actions are not normal for canines, and hugging around the neck for a dog is usually followed by being taken down by another animal. Furthermore, a kiss can be seen as a person attempting to bite their face. As a result, these actions can leave a dog anxious and stressed.
Similar to hugging and kissing, children are taught at an early age that sharing is caring and that you should share things with the ones that you love, including your dog. However, many young children are bitten by dogs because they expect that kindness in return from their pets and expect to share their toys or treats. Known as resource guarding, dogs will attempt to bite any person or animal that attempts to take what they believe is theirs.
When a child is bothering a dog, most of them will simply walk away. However, if the child does not allow it or attempts to chase the dog it can lash out in response. While this behavior may be rude as people, it is important to teach your child that if a dog walks away you need to leave it alone.
Staring also means different things for people and dogs. In the animal world, staring at an animal means that you are about to attack and kill the intended target. While this isn’t as big of a problem for children, babies often stare without meaning to. However, a dog may take this as an impending attack and bite first. It is important to never leave a baby alone with a dog, even for a few seconds.
Contact Our Office Now
At the Pendas Law Firm, we understand the trauma that can come from a dog bite attack, especially if the victim is a child. Call the office or contact us now if you or someone that you know in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, or West Palm Beach has suffered from a dog bite attack for a confidential and free review of your case.