Tips for Making Your Dog Less Likely to Bite

  • Spay or neuter your dog (75-85% of biting dogs are male, two-thirds have not been neutered).
  • Attend training classes to learn how to better communicate with your dog.
  • Make sure your dog is socialized as a young puppy. Introduce your dog to a variety of situations a little at a time and under controlled circumstances.
  • Don’t play rough with your dog.
  • Don’t allow your dog to run off leash without supervision.
  • Supervise all interactions between children and your dog (even your children and your dog)
  • If your dog growls, nips, or bites (even occasionally), talk with your dog trainer about it.
  • Learn to read your dog’s body language. Some signs of stress are yawning, lip licking, slowing down or freezing in place, and turning away from things. If you see these signs when someone wants to approach your dog, do not allow them to come forward until the dog seeks them out.
  • Err on the safe side. If you aren’t sure how your dog will react in a new situation, be cautious.

Early Warning Signs of Aggression

Puppy behaviors can be precursors to adult behavior. Listed first is the puppy behavior followed by the corresponding adult behavior.

  • Dog snaps in the air toward a person — Will usually progress to biting skin.
  • Growling for any reason other than play — Mean to people who try to get him to do things he doesn’t want to do.
  • Cannot be left alone, even for short periods of time, without going to the bathroom or chewing something — Separation anxiety: dog may destroy house if left alone.
  • Hides under furniture and will not come out (may growl if you try to get him) — Fearful dog who will bite when worried.
  • Dog stops eating, freezes, and/or stares if you approach while he is eating — Food – or toy-possessive dog who cannot be approached while eating.
  • Dog who cannot be handled by the vet (growls, snarls, or snaps) — Dog must be muzzled to prevent aggression when handled.

Dog Bite Prevention

Each year, nearly 4.7million dog bites occur. Children make up more than 60% of all dog bite victims. Boys are bitten nearly twice as often as girls.

Tips for Making You and Your Child Less Likely to be Bitten by a Dog

  • Do not approach any dog that does not approach you first.
  • Never run past a dog. Dogs love to chase and will almost certainly do so.
  • If a dog approaches to sniff you, stand still (pretend to be a tree).
  • If a dog threatens you, remain calm. Don’t scream. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact.
  • If you fall or are knocked over, curl into a ball (pretend to be a rock). Put your fists over your ears and press your elbows together.
  • Always ask the owner if you may pet a dog. Allow the dog to sniff your hand (palm and fingers pointed to the floor) before touching the dog.
  • Do not pat a dog on top of its head. Dogs do not enjoy that.
  • Do not attempt to pet a dog that is behind a fence, tied up with a rope or chain, in a parked car, or running around off leash.
  • Don’t try to physically intervene when two dogs are fighting. Throw water or a blanket on the dogs to distract them from the fight before reaching for either dog.

How to Housetrain Your Dog in Three Easy Steps

Housetraining is all about creating a habit in your dog. He will go to the bathroom wherever he goes the most. It’s that simple! Your goal is to make sure he “goes the most” outside on the grass.

Follow these three easy steps to housetrain your dog:

  1. Put your dog on a schedule. Take your dog out anytime he wakes up, finishes a play session, and 20 minutes after he eats or drinks. One of those things should be happening every 2–3 hours!
  2. Go outside with your dog. Don’t just put the dog out alone in a fenced yard. Instead, put him on a leash and go out with him. Stand in one general area until he goes to the bathroom. Reward him for completing his business and make the reward memorable- a piece of garlic chicken, cheddar cheese, or a walk.
  3. Prevent accidents by managing the dog’s environment.
    1. When you’re home, tether the dog to your waist. That way, he can’t sneak into another room to go to the bathroom. If you choose not to tether the dog, you must actively supervise. Don’t allow the dog out of your sight, even for a moment.
    2. When you’re out or when you can’t supervise, either use a crate or a puppy-proof room to minimize the chance of damage and accidents. Until the dog has gone three months without an accident, no not leave him unattended or unconfined.

Keep repeating these three steps until your house has been declared an accident free zone for at least three months.

What happens if your supervision falters and your dog has an accident?

  • If you catch your dog “in the act,” remain calm. Don’t bother punishing the dog. Punishment at this point will tend to teach the dog not to go to the bathroom in front of you…which is not a good plan for housetraining. Instead, just take him calmly by the collar and lead him outside. (If your dog is small enough, scoop him up and carry him out.) Reward him if he finishes his business outside.
  • Clean the area thoroughly using an enzyme-based product. (Nature’s Miracle, Simple Solution, etc.) Any remaining residue will serve as a marker for your dog, indicating that this is a good potty spot, so be thorough. After you’ve cleaned the area, make it inaccessible to the dog in some way—put a chair over it, block the doorway, etc.

With a little diligence and management, housetraining can be a breeze.

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