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Help Prevent Dog Bites
Learn a few simple tips this Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Yesterday I walked through a crowded Central Park in New York with an old friend and his dog Tracy (as in Spencer Tracy). Tracy is a buttery, 106-pound Golden Retriever, who at six-years-old exhibits the irresistible jauntiness of a puppy. Children are drawn to him like flies to a fly strip, and all around us, they zoomed in on the dog, many of them without warning. I was astounded and relieved by Tracy’s amiability. And I wondered, how would my dogs handle this kid fest? The experience made me realize that I’m so rarely around young children and toddlers, especially in numbers, that I don’t know the answer and that it’s a disservice to my dogs that I haven’t provided the opportunity for them to feel comfortable in this sort of environment.

This week is Dog Bite Prevention Week, and agencies and organizations around the country are spreading the gospel of dog bite prevention. Truth is, while you can’t guarantee a dog won’t bite (remember, even President Bush’s dog snapped at a reporter last year), you can take very specific steps to make it much less likely. Socializing your pup so that he or she is comfortable in a variety of settings, especially with other dogs and wee humans, can be one way to avoid a situation where your dog bites out of fear or anxiety. Other strategies include spaying and neutering your dog and taking a training class with your dog.

Although the Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 800,000 people seek medical attention for dog bites every year, the CDC considers the problem to be largely preventable. This week, take some time to learn what you can do to protect yourself and your dog.

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by Anonymous | May 18 2009 |

You know what drives me crazy? The way parents just let their kids run up to my dog. I don't like to see children who are afraid of dogs, but I do like to see them stop and ask for permission to pet my dog. I think the other part of dog-bite prevention is "training" and awareness for children.

Submitted by K_for_Kansas | May 18 2009 |

I agree. Until last week I had a very elderly schnauzer mix, who had been a very sweet dog, but was finally (at 18 years) blind and deaf enough that any sudden movement or change in personnel surprised him. Whenever I took him for walks, children would gallop up and start patting on him, while their parents looked on with that doting, "Isn't that precious" look. He snarled a time or two and doting turned to nasty, as though I were the problem for having a mean dog, rather than their having a problem of untrained, impolite children.

You just never know how a dog is going to react, and I always trained my children to approach quietly, talk sweetly and ask for permission.

Submitted by Pibble | May 20 2009 |

This is what I don't understand. When I was a child, I asked for permission to approach a dog. That's how I was raised.

Now, if someone's child is bitten, it's the dog's owner's fault even if the child ran up to the dog flailing their arms and legs, yelling and screaming. (Heck, I'd bite the kid, too.)

Parents, please teach your children how to behave around an animal they haven't met. It's for their own good!

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | May 18 2009 |

Bark contributor Dr. Sophia Yin offers up some excellent dog-bite prevention tips on her blog with a special focus on risks to animal care professionals. This is a must-read for veterinarians, groomers, shelter workers and people who work or volunteer in the animal care field.

Read the entire post: http://askdryin.com/blog/2009/05/17/seven-tips-for-preventing-dog-bites-...

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