* PREVENTING AND AVOIDING *
An estimated 4.7 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs each year. While about 2,500 of these are letter carriers, children are the most common victims of severe dog bites. Dog bite injuries are a serious problem in our country, but it's a problem we can solve. Here's how we can prevent this from happening.
> Spay or Neuter your dog. Dogs who have not been spayed or neutered are three times more likely to bite than are dogs who have been spayed or neutered.
> Train and Socialize your dog so that he/she is comfortable being around people, including friends, neighbors, and children.
> Never play "attack" games with your dog. He won't always understand the difference between play and real-life situations.
> If you don't know how your dog will react to a new situation, be cautious. When a letter carrier or other service person comes to your door, be sure your dog is safely restrained or confined in another room before opening the door. Don't allow your dog to bark, jump against the door, or bite the mail as it comes through the mail slot; this will only teach your dog to attack the letter carrier.
> If your dog exhibits behavior such as growling, nipping, or biting even on an occasional basis, seek professional advice from your veterinarian, an animal behaviorist or a certified dog trainer.
> Never approach a dog you don't know or a dog who is alone without his owner, especially if the dog is confined behind a fence, within a car, or on a chain.
> Don't disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
> Don't pet a dog, even your own, without letting him see or sniff you first.
> When approached by a dog you don't know, don't run or scream. Instead, stand still with you hands at your sides and do not make direct eye contact with or speak to the dog.Teach children to be a tree until the dog goes away.
> If you are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears. lie still like a log and keep quiet until the dog goes away.
> If a dog attacks, you may be able to decrease injury by "feeding" the dog your jacket, purse, bicycle, or anything else that can serve as a barrier between you and the dog.
CANINE BODY LANGUAGE
CANINE BODY LANGUAGE: DOGS USE BODY LANGUAGE INSINCTIVELY TO COMMUNICATE TO THE WORLD HOW THEY ARE FEELING IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION. A DOG'S BODY LANGUAGE CAN CHANGE QUICKLY. LEARN AND BE AWARE OF WHAT THE DOG IS TRYING TO TELL YOU. BELOW IS A LIST OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF CANINE BODY LANGUAGE AND WHAT THEY MEAN:
"BODY LANGUAGE" & "WHAT IT MEANS"
A wagging tail DOES NOT always mean that a dog is happy to see you! BE CAREFUL! The tail is mainly used for balance.
TAIL ERECT, STIFF
If you see a dog with his tail straight up, whether wagging fast or slow, this is a sign that the dog may be aggressive.
DIRECT EYE CONTACT, STARING
An aggressive dog will sometimes stare at you and make direct eye contact. If you see this, DO NOT look the dog square in the eyes; he will interpret this as a challenge. Make sure that you can see the dog at all times. Remain calm!
RAISING OF THE HACKLES (hair on the back)
Often an aggressive dog will stand up straight and raise his hackles (the hair on his back) as a sign of aggression. Stay clear of any dog with raised hackles.
GROWLING, SNARLING, SHOWING TEETH, BARKING
A dog relies heavily on its mouth and snout to communicate to the world. If a dog growls, snarls, shows you its teeth or barks at you, try to remain still and calm.
It is always possible that a dog will give you no sign of aggression at all. When in doubt, be careful!
DO'S AND DONT'S AROUND DOGS
NEVER enter property where there is a dog without the owner being present.
ALWAYS ask permission before petting any dog.
NEVER walk up behind any dog. ALWAYS let the dog see you!
NEVER approach a strange dog. Always assume that a strange dog is unfriendly. Be especially on guard if the dog is confined or restrained in a yard, chained to a doghouse, tied to a fence or tree, etc.
ALWAYS keep body movements, body language and tone of voice relaxed and calm. NO SUDDEN MOVES!!
NEVER feed a dog food or bring food onto a customer's property.
NEVER run past or from a dog.
NEVER disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
NEVER touch or attempt to move an injured dog. Take precautions and call 911.
NEVER play rough with a dog.
NEVER stare into a dog's mouth.
NEVER touch or hand an individual anything when his dog is present.
ALWAYS REMEMBER that any dog is capable of biting.
WHEN WILL DOGS BITE?
A. When they feel threatened and when they are afraid.
B. When they are protecting their territory, food, toys, pack/family or puppies.
C. When they get excited, even during play.
D. When they are startled or surprised, especially when sleeping.
E. When they don't know you.
F. When their prey drive is triggered.
G. When they have been and/or trained to be aggressive.
H. When they are injured, in pain or irritated. Stay away. Call for help.