Dog Bite Prevention

An estimated 4.7 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs each year. While about 2,500 of these are letter carriers, children are the most common victims of severe dog bites. Dog-bite injuries are a serious problem in our country, but they're a problem we can solve.

Here's how:

  • Spay or neuter your dog. Dogs who have NOT been spayed or neutered are three times more likely to bite than dogs that have been spayed or neutered.
  • Train and socialize your dog so that he/she is comfortable being around people, including friends, neighbors and children.$0Never play "attack" games with your dog. He won't always understand the difference between play and real-life situations.
  • If you don't know how your dog will react to a new situation, be cautious. When a letter carrier or dog waste clean up or other service person comes to your door, be sure your dog is safely restrained or confined in another room before opening the door. Don't allow your dog to bark, jump against the door or window, or bite mail as it comes through the mail slot; this will only teach your dog to attack a letter carrier or service people.
  • If your dog exhibits behavior such as growling, nipping, or biting - even on an occasional basis - seek professional advice from your veterinarian, an animal behaviorist or a skilled dog trainer.
  • Never approach a dog you don't know or a dog that is alone without his owner, especially if the dog is confined behind a fence, within a car, or on a chain.
  • Don't disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Don't pet a dog, even your own, without letting him see and sniff you first.
  • When approached by a dog you don't know, don't run or scream. Instead, stand still with your hands at your sides and do not make direct eye contact with or speak to the dog. Teach children to "be a tree" until a dog goes away and practice this response with a stuffed dog toy.
  • If you are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears. Lie still and keep quiet until the dog goes away. Teach children to "lie like a log" until the dog goes away.
  • If a dog attacks, you may be able to decrease injury by "feeding" him your jacket, purse or bicycle, or anything else that can serve as a barrier between you and the dog.

For more information on preventing dog bites, contact:

Companion Animals
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St., NW
Washington, DC 20037

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