According to State Farm's national annual claims report, California has the most dog bite claims in the United States. Following California are Illinois, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New York, and Indiana. Although most of our pets would never intentionally hurt someone, every dog, big and small, has the potential to bite. However, dog bites are highly preventable with proper education and care. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention provides various tips on how to stay safe around dogs - let's take a look at some.At Home
Having one or more dogs in your home increases your risk of being bit. Does this mean you shouldn't welcome a dog into your family? Absolutely not! You just need to take appropriate precautions and train your dog.
Spaying or neutering a dog often helps to reduce aggressive behavior, however, this alone is generally not enough. Training is an important step in getting rid of aggressive tendencies as well as preventing them from developing in the first place. Teaching submissive behaviors, such as allowing you to take away a food bowl without growling, can be a good place to start. You should also never play aggressively with your dog or encourage it to snap at you or anyone else.Children
Even if you don't have a dog, it is very likely that you or your children will occasionally run into one outside your home. Therefore, it is important to know basic bite prevention strategies and to teach these to your kids.
• Never approach an unfamiliar dog. If it is with its owner, it is both courteous and safer to ask to pet the dog before touching it.
• If an unaccompanied dog approaches you, don't move. Teach your child down to lay in the fetal position and remain still if knocked down by an overexcited or aggressive dog. Tell your child to inform an adult right away if they find a stray dog. You should then contact your local humane society or animal control center.
• Always remain calm. Never run from a dog or scream because it may think you are inviting it to chase you.
• Never leave children with a dog unattended - even if it's your own dog. It only takes one accident on the dog's behalf to seriously injure a child.
• Avoid eye contact. Direct eye contact with a dog can be taken as a challenge of dominance and ultimately lead to a bite. It's also important to teach kids to leave dogs alone while they are eating, sleeping, sick, injured, or caring for puppies because these can be high-stress times for dogs and they may bite out of fear or agitation due to being disturbed.
Through education and training of dogs and humans alike, dog bites can largely be prevented. If you are having difficulty training your dog or if it has developed some unwanted behavior, contact a professional such as a trainer, breeder, or veterinarian for advice. Even though dogs may bite, a well-trained dog can also bring many benefits to a home such as increased exercise, increased feelings of security, relaxation, and unconditional love. If you're thinking of improving your life by finding a dog to welcome into your family, visit your local shelter today.