Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bite Prevention

When we are invited to visit schools and libraries with The Love Shack Pack, we never leave without teaching the children about bite prevention.  This information is not just for children.  We believe that if more people were given these basic facts, it could prevent these incidents from occurring at the rate they currently do.

And after our incident in our own yard last week (People that own dogs that kill people, kill people), we wanted to share this with you too.

There are two different types of situations in which people are typically bitten.  The first is when they approach a strange dog.  So, let's dog about the proper way to do that first.

Assuming the dog is with its owner and on a leash, the first step is to ask the owner's permission before touching the animal.  Should the owner say "no" simply accept their answer and move on.  If permission is granted, you should roll your hand into a fist and allow the dog to smell the back of your hand.  People identify by sight.  Dogs identify by smell.  This is just a courtesy and basic way to say, "hello".  Should the dog appear afraid, back away.  Otherwise, it is ok to pet the dog.  You should, however, give it a friendly scratch on its chin, chest, or just behind its front leg.  You do not want to quickly lift your hand above the dogs head as it may become startled and bite.  Sound simple enough?  Good.  It is!

The second circumstance in which people are most usually attacked is when a loose dog approaches them.  Make yourself aware.  If, for example, a Golden Retriever is running towards you, usually its purpose is to lick you to death (and if it is one of mine, possibly knock you to the ground in excitement).  However, if the dog is snarling, showing teeth, or growling, its intentions are not good.  Know the difference between friendly and threatening.

If the dog appears to be threatening - DO NOT RUN.  This is the most important thing to remember.  If you run, the dog will pursue.  You should NEVER turn your back on a dog that you think will attack you.  Instead, stop in your tracks and "be a tree".  Place your hands in front of you and look at the ground.  Slowly back up towards your home or vehicle - but again, never turn your back.  Chances are after a minute, the dog will become bored and go on its way.  Do not make eye contact with the dog.  This is important because the dog could see eye contact as a challenge.  Do not hit, kick, swing at, or throw things at the dog.  Again, these things could be taken as a challenge causing the dog to attack.  If you are holding something in your hands (a jacket, book, toy, food, anything), try throwing it to your side.  There is a good chance that the dog will choose to check it out giving you the opportunity to back away.

Should the dog knock you to the ground, be a rock.  Roll onto your stomach, pull your knees in under you, put your forehead to the ground, and cross your hands over the back of your head.  This way your body is in a compact position not leaving your limbs or neck exposed for the dog to latch on to.

These simple tips could save a life.  Please share them with the children in your life and other adults, as well.  The more educated we are, the better equipped we are.



  1. These are good tips! I always get a little nervous about meeting new dogs. I usually let them sniff me before I pet, but I sometimes forget to ask the owner if it's ok.

  2. These are great tips-I've always tried to teach my kids/grands this info but I am forwarding on the post to them. With nine grands, many of whom love dogs, I want to prevent any accident from happening. When I was in grade school, I saw two Dalmatians maul a little boy and he did all the wrong things. Hopefully these tips will save a life.
    Hugs, Noreen & Reggie

  3. What great tips! Passing along to children is especially important!

  4. I'm surprised you left off THEIR OWN DOG. Most dog bites happen in a child's own home, or in the home of their friends or family. Of course, it's very hard to convey to children that their own dog is a risk, and I use various strategies in classroom environments... "You know how mum and dad get grumpy if you wake them up?" and "Just like you feel sick sometimes, your dog can feel sick too" to try to convey that it's possible for their dog to feel something other than happy (or tolerance, in all likelihood).

    In the dog safety program I teach, I do teach the strategies you've outlined for patting a strange dog and if approached by a strange dog - but I also try to convey to children that their own dogs are dangerous, too. Statistically, their own dogs are the greatest risk.

  5. That is a great thing to teach people!!!

    Southern Jewel and Rosebud

  6. Great post. I always do what you teach in #1, but I really never thought about what I'd do if a growling snarling dog came running to me. I would have probably tried running away. Now I know what to do, thanks.

  7. Hi Y'all,

    That was a great post. Funny you post this today and the post I have scheduled for Monday deals with a growling stranger in the woods.

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  8. Wow, great article!!!!! I was bitten on the face as a child and have tooth scars by my eye and underneath my chin... needless to say I have always tried to be aware of other dogs and their temperament when first meeting them. I love your be a rock suggestion!!!

  9. Excellent tips!!! It is always amazing to me when parents let their kids RUN up to my girlz without saying a word!! Not that I think there would be a problem...but it is certainly not a good idea to startle them either!! Thanks for sharing these important lessons!!

  10. Very good advice. My husband was bitten by a dog once who appeared out of the blue and charged him. Never saw him coming so difficult to avoid. But you advice is good in most cases. :)