Dog Attack Prevention
Recently, I was invited to be on Primetime News to discuss a dog attack that happened in our city. Once again, the focus was on the breed, a Pit-Bull, that attacked a teenager and sent him to the hospital. The teenager is going to recover, however the Pit-Bull was shot by a police officer.
As a dog trainer, this story really saddens me as the focus was on the breed. I want to reiterate as I did in the news segment, that all BULLY breeds need obedience training. If you decide a bully breed is one that you wish to have, GREAT! Seriously I mean that. They can be great dogs, but obedience training and socialization for these breeds is an absolute MUST.
These breeds are bred to be strong-willed, stubborn, never-back-down, go-getters and while some of these traits are great, if not trained, they can be dangerous too! Once again it should go without saying, but SPAYING and NEUTERING is just as important in all pets, but a MUST for a bully breed. They don't need any additional hormones releasing to encourage any aggression to surface.
I wish the media would start questioning the owners of these dogs that attack other dogs and humans to ask if they are spayed or neutered and whether they obedience training and had been socialized to other dogs and people.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and one in five dog bites results in injuries that required medical attention. As a dog trainer, I take all dog bites very seriously. I want to share some important safety tips to safeguard yourself, your children, and your pets from a dog attack.
RULES FOR CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS
- Teach children to "always ask before petting" a strange dog.
- Teach children how to pet gently, I recommend under the chin, not on top of the head.
- No more than 2 children at a time should be petting a dog, more than that a dog can get stressed and overwhelmed.
- A child or adult should never shove their face into a dog's face to say "Hello" - and trust me this happens way too often.
- Children should never ever wrestle, taunt, tease, or rough house with a dog.
- Never Run Away: Dogs are naturally prey driven, if you run, they chase, and most dogs can outrun a human. Walk away slowly, absolutely no sudden movements, never turn your back on the dog
- Never Yell: Screaming and yelling can sound like a wounded animal and a dog that is the mental state of mind of "attack" doesn't pause to consider anything other than that. Instead, depending on what the mental state the dog is in, you can stand your ground facing the dog with hands on your hips and legs spread out (as this gives them the impression that you are bigger) saying in a very stern voice "Back Off."; or try to put the dog in a command such as; "Sit." and "Stay."
- Never Make Direct Eye Contact: Making eye contact is seen as a challenge. In dog language, you're saying "Bring it on!" - never a good idea. Look above the dog's head.
- Take a walking stick or carry pepper spray on walks: Although not a sure proof way to prevent and ward of a dog, but a walking stick can be a weapon and when dogs see you have a weapon, they will sometimes back off. Using pepper spray to deter a dog is legal, if your life is in danger.
- Use any type of object between you and the dog: Give the dog your coat or purse - even barricading a bike between you and the dog can help.
- Remain Motionless: First try to stand still with arms down by your side and remain motionless, if the dog proceeds to attack you, immediately drop to the ground, roll in a ball with your head tucked into your knees, and cover your ears and the top of your head with your arms and hands. Don't move and try your best not to scream. Play dead.
- If bitten immediately seek medical attention and report the incident. The dog will need to be captured and quarantined to check for rabies.
I truly believe it is NOT the breed, but the owners who again need to take responsibility in raising a healthy, obedient, and socialized dog.
I hope these tips help keep you, your family, and your pets safe from a dog attack.
Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005