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Woof Wednesday: Teaching Bite Inhibition and Kid Safety

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Welcome to Woof Wednesday! I’m sad today, but also eager to help educate some folks about dog aggression. Later this afternoon, I testify as an expert witness in a dog bite case. Wow…this comes on the furry heels of my Paw Nation dog language article, so it’s a good time to refresh blog readers in some facts-of-doggy-life and safety tips.

All dogs bite. In fact, canine jaws easily tear flesh and break bones. Don’t be fooled by size, either. They may be tiny but even Chihuahua-size pooches expertly use their choppers. And when they’re giant dogs like this Great Dane—an aging doggy who maybe isn’t as patient or has pain issues—the damage can be severe.

All dogs squabble just as all people sometimes get upset and argue, but that doesn’t mean dangerous bites always results. Dogs have exquisite control of their jaws and know exactly how close they can snap without making contact. Pugs don’t miss unless they mean to. Consider air-snaps and bites that DON’T break the skin as calculated warnings. Learning to master the power of their jaws—bite inhibition—allows dogs to make important points and resolve differences without hurting each other, or you. Learn how to teach your dog to inhibit his bite in this article.

Old Great Dane

Children suffer dog bites more often than anyone else. Approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year with 800,000 individuals—half of them children—requiring medical treatment. In fact, half of all children in the US experience a dog bite by age 12, with 5 to 9 year olds and boys at significantly higher risk. The CDC reports that of those injured, 400,000 require medical treatment and about a dozen die.

 These statistics, though, are somewhat skewed. Every bite is cause for alarm, but did you know that the numbers include ALL dog injuries that break the skin, even “bandaid” situations. That is, if the puppy’s nail scratches the infant, technically it’s reported under bite stats. Bites from working K-9 (police) dogs also are included in the report. Bites to a medical person rendering assistance to an injured, in pain dog also are bundled in these figures. When partnered with the fact 77.5 million dogs are kept in 39% of US Households, according to the 2009-2010 APPMA survey. In fact, statistics reported by Animal Control and/or Public Health Departments and the US Post Office indicate the incidence of dog bites has GONE DOWN!.

However, if your child is bitten, he’s 100 percent bitten and it can be a tragedy—one that doesn’t have to happen. Read how to keep kids safe in this article.

Woofs & Wags


About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

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