We all get upset on hearing tragic stories involving dog bites (often with children). The truth is that however well trained, dogs are still wild animals, so it helps to know how to approach strange dogs, and know that nearly all serious bite incidents involve dogs that (often living outside) have never been properly socialised. Long term, the best preventive method is to give your dog a happy life with plenty of exercise and positive training, so it’s unlikely he or she will attack.
First, a few common sense tips. Never stare at or walk direct up to any dog, nor pat it on the head or cuddle it. If you want a dog to approach you (say in the park), crouch down diagonally and offer an open palm, for the dog to approach you, if wished. Never let children (or other dogs) play with other dogs, unless you know it’s safe to do so.
Many dog bites are on posties, due to ‘attacking their territory’. Keep your dog in a closed room while posties visit (never open the door with dogs behind you) and use a letterbox guard (to stop snapping at fingers) or buy a lockable outside box to deliver letters and parcels. If you feel your dog has been unfairly accused, there are dog lawyers that specialise in these of cases.
If you witness a dog fight, experts say the best thing to do is for each person to grab the hind legs of each dog and then wheel them away from each other in a large circle (a bit like using a wheelbarrow but backwards) so they can’t bite each other. Keep them separate to calm down, and then seek vet attention, if needed.
deed, not breed
Blue Cross is does not agree with breed-specific legislation, which bans certain breeds on looks and measurements, rather than behaviour and temperament).