How to Avoid Dog Bites?

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Dog bites cause significant harm, especially in Asia, Africa, and South America, affecting millions of people, particularly children aged 5-15. Every two seconds, someone gets bitten by a dog, and every thirty minutes, someone dies from rabies. In India alone, 50,000 people die annually due to rabies.

Globally, pet dogs bite more than street dogs due to negligence in vaccination. Dogs bite as a last resort to protect themselves. Proper training and understanding how to interact with dogs can help prevent bites.

Four Ways to Avoid Dog Bites

  1. Train Your Dog:
    • Proper training helps dogs understand how to behave with people.
    • Use command words and positive reinforcement from a young age.
    • Avoid punishment for failed training attempts. Instead, be patient and consistent.
    • Participate in the training process rather than leaving it solely to trainers.
  2. Teach Social Interaction:
    • Help your dog understand that the world is a safe place by socializing it with other family members, pets, and visitors.
    • Proper socialization helps dogs feel comfortable and less likely to bite.
  3. Understand Dog Body Language:
    • Dogs use body language to communicate as they can’t speak.
    • Key signs to watch for:
      • Tucking their tail between their legs indicates discomfort.
      • Licking their lips shows anxiety.
      • Direct eye contact can be a warning.
      • Wagging their tail might not always mean friendliness; it can indicate different emotions.
    • By understanding these signals, you can prevent situations that may lead to biting.
  4. Interact Properly with Dogs:
    • Respect the dog’s space when it is sleeping or eating.
    • Avoid pulling its tail or ears, sitting on it, or hitting it.
    • Do not take away objects like balls or toys from its mouth.
    • Treat the dog with affection and it will reciprocate with loyalty and love.

Dr. A.R. Jegath Narayanan, Former Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department, Salem – 636 008.

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