According to the CDC around 4.5 million people a year are bitten by dogs. Of those bitten, one in five requires medical attention for their injuries (that’s 885,000 people) and in 2006 more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of dog bites. I don’t tell you any of this to scare you, only to emphasize how important dog bite prevention training is.
We are thrilled to be offering the Be A Tree dog bite prevention program here at Shadewood Farm. “Be A Tree” is designed by Doggone Safe for children to learn to read dog body language and how to act accordingly. This dog bite prevention training uses large format photographs and innovative teaching strategies. Instead of just telling children “do this, don’t do that”, the Be a Tree program empowers them with the information they need to make safe decisions based on the body language and the actions of the dog. The key message of the Be a Tree program is to act like a tree by standing still, quiet and not looking at the dog if a strange dog approaching or any dog gets too frisky.
In addition to completing the Be A Tree training there are some simple steps you can take towards dog bite prevention.
Dog bite prevention tips for dog owners:
- Consult with a professional (reputable dog breeder, veterinarian) about you household and what dog breeds might be best suited for you.
- When adopting or buying a dog spend some time with that dog if possible before you make a final decision.
- Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog.
- If your dog develops aggressive behavior seek advice from a professional (veterinarian, reputable breeder, animal behaviorists, etc.).
- Properly socialize and train any dog living in your household starting when they are puppies, if possible.
- Keep your dog healthy. Make sure your dog gets regular vaccinations and check-ups. How your dog feels directly affects how it behaves, so make sure he is feeling good!
Half of all children are bitten by a dog by the time they are 12 years old. Most bites are by the family dog or other dog known to the child and some may be prevented through training and education. Teach your children to understand dog body language and how to act around dogs.
Remind them of the following dog bite prevention tips on a regular basis.
Dog bite prevention tips for kids:
- Never approach a dog you don’t know. If an unfamiliar dog does approach you Be a Tree (still, arms down, no eye contact).
- Never run from a dog or scream when one approaches you.
- Before you pet a dog, let him check you out – sniff your hand, take a good look at you – and then ask the dog’s owner if it is okay for you to pet the dog.
- If a dog knocks you over, curl into a ball with your hands on tops of your head and lie still.
- Never play with a dog if an adult is not around.
- Don’t wrestle or play aggressive games like tug-of-war with any dog. He may get too excited and bite you.
- If you see a dog acting funny immediately tell an adult about it.
- Do not make direct eye contact with a dog.
- Never bother a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
When parents come to me looking for Anatolian Shepherd or Border Collie puppies for sale to add to their families, I take the opportunity to educate them about dog bite prevention. The key to dog bite prevention is two-fold. First is teaching kids how to read and handle dogs, but equally important is socializing the puppies and dogs. The ‘Be a Tree’ program is a perfect way to teach dog bite prevention to the whole family by teaching them how to respect dogs at home and around the neighborhood. However you choose to do it, make sure you learn and teach your family about dog bite prevention!