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National Dog Bite Prevention Week

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

May 21-26 is National Dog Bite Prevention WeekŪ. According to the American Humane Association, there are over 78 million dogs in the United States. Nearly five million of those dogs have bitten people, and over 350,000 of those people needed emergency room care.

Children are the victims of the majority of those bites. provides educational resources to children to help prevent dog bites. Children learn to recognize the body language of a fearful dog as well as an angry dog and a happy dog.

Dogs don’t bite because they are bad dogs, or because they are trying to gain dominance over people. They bite because they are afraid or feel threatened. Education equals prevention.

Tips on how to approach an unfamiliar dog:

  • Always ask for permission to pet the dog (if his person is present).
  • Never pet the dog on top of his head. Many dogs view this as threatening behavior.
  • Stay relaxed and still, and let the dog approach you, instead of approaching him.
  • Leave your hands at your side while he approaches, instead of reaching out to him.
  • Once he has approached you and has shown signs of being comfortable, slowly pet him on the chest, underneath his head, instead of reaching over his head.
  • If the dog is in an enclosed area such as a crate or even a shopping cart, don’t reach in to greet the dog.
  • Don’t try and take a toy or food away from the dog.
  • Do not make loud noises or sudden movements towards the dog.
  • Don’t touch a dog that appears to be sleeping.
  • Don’t approach a dog whose hair is raised, is growling, has their ears back and erect, and appears stressed.

How do you approach stranger dogs? Feel free to add to my tips in a comment below.

Don’t Pat My Head If You Don’t Know Me
Understand Your Dog’s Body Language
Why Dogs Bite

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pets, Safety, , ,

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


+ add your own
3:27AM PDT on Mar 28, 2013

people should know better. Not the dog it IS a animal.

4:47AM PST on Mar 3, 2013


6:47PM PST on Mar 2, 2013


3:32PM PST on Mar 2, 2013

Respect to be respected this also apply to animals.
If humans need time to know other people, what make some think dogs don't need time to get to know a person? Trying to approach a dog and expect he will take petting in good terms is wrong! Then again you don't go hugging or kissing someone you don't know.
To think that a dog is going to be happy just because you want to pet him is an arrogant human behavior.
Animals need respect, and have human approach to be respectful, if not, don't go crying suing others because their dog or any other animal attack you. Some people need to have the common senses of a dog.

3:23AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

Always use common sense....

3:02AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

Thank you

2:55AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

They need to be respected, too

3:57AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

Thanks :)

5:37AM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

Why have they used a photo of a German Shepherd / Alsatian ? I ask because in my 50+ years of experience it is the small picked up yappy dog that snaps/bites the most.
Her in England 3 types of permitted dogs are demonised by the press - German Shepherd - Rottweiler-staffordshire bull terrier, using a photo of this GSD is exactly what the press does to scare, the GSD is the most intelligent faithful loving dog any one could own, they can not do more to please an owner.
I suppose the person who posted this photo thought it more dramatic than showing a little terrier.
I have owned GSD/Alsatian and Rottweilers for over fifty years, my family always had a GSD when I was a kid they was treated with respect and love and I learnt from a very early age to respect their rights to be dogs - I have never been bitten - it is the human only that has hurt me and mine, it is the humans ignorance that gets him/her bitten, be it leaving a child and dog unatended to abuse of the dog by human ignorance.

5:10AM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

The only animal that scares me when I have walked the streets of this world is the Human they will attack and kill for many, many reasons from fun to greed, perversions etc etc etc, if you are bitten by a dog, at least you normally know why - and it is normally your own stupid fault

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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