Reasons Why Dogs Bite and How to Avoid Bites
Dog bites, especially from large breeds, are a problem in the U.S. that does not need to happen. Training the dog and teaching the family and even strangers like the mail carrier go a long way in avoiding either a bandage or a trip to the hospital.
When dogs bite, they always have a reason. They can be showing anger when someone tries to pick him up when he doesn’t want to be or wakes him suddenly. Also, if someone, particularly a stranger, moves too fast, he may show fear or he’s defending property. If he’s hurt in any way, he may bite even though you’re trying to help. Hunting and power breeds don’t take kindly to interference when they’re concentrating on their prey. Of course, any dog that is abused has the tendency to bite.
Training the Dog
Not only does a dog need to be housebroken, he also needs to be socialized with other dogs and with people. He needs to know that you’re the alpha dog, and that he has to share with others. Also, don’t let food become an issue if you have more than one dog.
He also has to learn voice commands such as heel, come and stay. Leash commands are important too, so he know when you tug the leash that he’s too far ahead of you and needs to drop back. When walking the dog, it’s really best if he’s beside you.
If he shows aggression, roll him over on his back; this is the submissive position. If he jumps on you, turn your back toward him; he’ll learn that’s unacceptable behavior.
Training the People
People just need to treat a dog humanely, and the dog will respond in kind. Remember to approach an unknown dog carefully. Let him smell the back of your hand first or make the hand into a fist so your fingers don’t get chomped. He’ll let you know whether you can pat him or not. Remember the TV reporter who nearly got his hand handed to him by President George W. Bush’s Scottish Terrier Barney. The reporter just reached out to the top of the dog’s head without letting the dog get his scent, and Barney told him no, quite definitely no.
Never chain a dog. The dog can get caught in the chain, and it encourages aggressive behavior. Also, make sure the fence is strong and has no holes for the dog to escape.
It’s a good idea to neuter male dogs because it cuts down on aggressive behavior and also, of course, puppies. If they’re looking for females, there’s danger for anyone who gets in their way. Spay females too so they don’t have males looking for them.
Never leave very small children alone with any pet. You never know whether the child will do something to set the dog off. Don’t let them put their faces right into the dog’s face; he will bite. All the family’s heads must be above the dog’s at all times to show that the family is alpha.
Keep roughhousing to a minimum. It’s better to throw a ball or a Frisbee than to wrestle with the dog, especially a power breed.
All dogs can bite. Although it’s the larger breeds that get the attention because they can do more harm, little dogs can be just as aggressive. Just ask any groomer or vet. Prevention is the best approach, and it must be practiced by both humans and dogs.
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