Every year in the United States, there are more than 4.7 million dog related injuries, and 800,000 incidents that require medical treatment, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
www.chicagodogbiteinjurylawyers.com indicate that the number of serious injuries annually is rising.
There are four essential socialization exercises that should be trained with your dog, to prevent dog bite injuries. We will discuss some of the situations that precipitate a dog bite, and how to encourage confidence and education in your pet, to be able to respond with calmness and reliability in each scenario.
1. Property and Protection
It is important to understand that there is a deep seated emotional and psychological drive within your dog, to protect its owner (you) and your property. Many pet owners consider a barking dog a nuisance, when some stranger visits, but fail to recognize the potential hazard and increased risk of a dog bite. Dogs are territorial and take their job seriously; they have no way of identifying whether the stranger is a friend or an intruder that means you harm.
Whether you have adopted an adult dog from a shelter, or you are going through the stages of puppydom and training from infancy, it is important to develop a protocol for visitors and strangers. Do not remove your dog from the high-anxiety situation of having a stranger on the premises. Instead, you should approach the stranger with your dog, to greet them, and allow the dog a moment to sniff, investigate and be reassured.
Done on a regular basis, this training method will reduce barking and improve safety for visitors, while building a healthy confidence level in your dog.
2. Walking on Leash
Many dog guardians think that leash training is a convenience, meant to simply enjoy walking with your dog for mutual exercise. There are many sociological benefits to leash training your dog and instilling the discipline it takes to be calm, in a variety of environments and situations.
Pet owners should never assume that every dog has been prepared from a training perspective, to walk on a leash. When you see a dog pulling or dominating the owner, that is a clear sign that there has been no effective leadership or on-leash discipline established. Some dog owners are unconcerned about the habit of pulling or on-leash domination, until they experience an aggressive episode with their pet involving another individual, or dog.
Maintaining control is only one aspect of leash training. Dogs should be walked daily, using a harness and leash, to expose them to traffic and other environmental sounds. It is the best way to condition dogs to be tolerant of other pets too, by exposing them to other dogs of all shapes and sizes. Leash walking is also a confidence building exercise, and while many owners train their dogs to be reliable off leash, it's never a good idea to have zero control over your pet in public.
3. Mine and Yours
The game of "tug and war" may seem fun when a dog is a puppy, but it can teach your dog some negative behavioral traits. Ultimately, possessiveness of toys and treats can lead to dog bite injuries, or attack against another household pet. You should be able to take away a snack, toy or any other article, without an aggressive display of growling, or barking.
4. Stop and Drop It
Dogs can find the most hazardous things to pick up in your backyard, along the sidewalk, or at your local dog park. Many types of mushrooms are toxic to dogs, as is chocolate, certain types of berries, avocados and coffee, to name a few. And by the time you realize your dog is rooting through garbage or that she has one of these toxic foods in her mouth, she may have already digested a fatal dose. It's important for pet owners to be alert about dog-proofing surroundings to be free of harmful edibles.
Practice with a favorite toy. The best command to use is "leave it". Using a clicker to indicate approval, or a treat, reward your dog when she drops the item. It is an exercise that can also help in a dog bite, or aggressive situation where your dog may be pulling someone by a pant leg or sleeve.
Just as raising a child to observe laws, behavioral and safety norms, dog owners must ensure that their pet receives the same training (no matter what age the dog is at adoption), to acquire the skills that will help keep the public, your family, and your pet safe from tragic outcomes.
To live a long, happy and safe life with your dog, and in the interest of the safety of other pets and people, invest in ongoing training for healthy habits and discipline. It will help establish a stronger relationship with your pet, as a recognized pack leader.