We’ve compiled a list of suggestions to help avoid dog bites. These come from a recent article from researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from animal behavior experts. These suggestions apply to both adults as well as children.
- Never disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, chewing on a bone or toy or that is caring for puppies. Dogs may guard their possessions and may snap when startled awake.
- Never approach a dog that is restrained on a chain or rope or that is cornered in a small space like a cage or under a table. The dog cannot get away and may snap to keep you from coming closer.
- Never run from a dog and in particular, never run screaming and waving your arms. This can stimulate predatory behavior from the dog.
- If approached by an unfamiliar dog, act like a tree remaining motionless with hands next to your sides.
- Don’t stare at or look directly at an unfamiliar dog. Watch it out of the corner of your eye. Direct eye contact can be either intimidating or threatening.
- If knocked over by a dog, roll up into a ball and remain motionless. If bitten, don’t try to fight back or flail around, but try to remain motionless and passive.
Children should report a bite to an adult. It’s always a good idea to talk to a physician regarding even a superficial bite and seek medical attention for more serious injuries. Physicians are required by law to report dog bites to health or animal control agencies.
Although dogs can and should learn to be tolerant and non-aggressive, children should also be taught to be gentle and respectful around all animals, in order to prevent situations in which either children or animals are likely to be injured. Children should never be allowed to hit, kick, poke at or scare pets, pull their hair, ears or tails, or play too rough.