Dogs are known as man’s best friend for a reason. They are great companions, emotional support, working dogs and much more. They deserve a kiss, hug and a pat on the head right? Wrong. Most dogs don’t like hugs, kisses, or pats on the head according to animal behaviorists. There are some 70 million great dogs and any dog can bite.
Every year, almost 5 million people are bitten by dogs and most of those bitten are children. Strange dogs are not the most common offenders, 77% of bites come from a family or friend’s dog!
Preventing dog bites is everyone’s responsibility. Simple measures can be very effective. Being aware of the risk and active supervision is important. For example, a calm and gentle dog surprised or startled can react uncharacteristically if a toddler crawls up and kisses a sleeping dog. It is obvious a child poking or pulling a dog tail or ear could provoke a bite. Animal behaviorists find dogs guarding resources including food, toys, or even its owner is the cause for most bites.
Many animal organizations and adoption centers offer fun classes on safe interaction with animals to prevent bites. For example, in Saint Louis the APA Adoption Center (Animal Protective Association of Missouri) offers a variety of classes for kids and adults. You can learn the ways dogs and cats communicate, the proper way to approach a dog and what to do if approached by a stray animal.
You can attend a class at the APA Adoption Center or instructors and trained pets can come to you. To check out some of the programs and classes available to all age groups check out the APA website or follow this link: http://www.apamo.org/education/group-programs/group-programs-list/