Dog Bites: What To Do When You’re Attacked

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With all of the dog bite attacks that circulate in the news, you may sometimes worry; what if that were you?
As a veterinarian focused on behavior and an avid runner, I’ve dealt with a lot of dogs charging towards me and threatening to bite. In spite of working with aggressive dogs as well as running by off-leash dogs on a daily basis, I have only been bitten—minor bites— a few times over the last 20 years. What’s the secret? The number one secret is to stay calm. The more you scream and try to move the more aroused you’ll make the dog—here are the two scenarios.

They’re chasing me, what now?: Preventing Chasing & Dog Bites

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Whether you are in the U.S., Indonesia, Australia or China, one thing is true about the dogs; they love to chase things passing by their property. Mailmen, cyclists, runners pedestrians and even cars, a dog could be lying seemingly in deep sleep and in a blink he’s on red alert. He flies out barking at full speed and after the person or object disappears in the distance, the dog returns triumphantly—and chalks up another win. It’s a success that fuels the motivation to repeat the behavior again.

As one might expect, if these dogs can leave their property, then this territorial behavior becomes particularly bothersome to passersby. In fact in regions where dogs are regularly able to roam, such as on the Island of Bali or the streets of Fiji, or an Aboriginal town camp, the behavior has lead to conflict within the community. Dogs bark at and chase people, people get scared, and they often respond by carrying sticks or throwing rocks, which leads to increased aggression from the dogs.

Help, My Dog Bites! How to Deal with Dogs Who Bite

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If your dog bites or has bitten someone in the past, it is important to work with him so that it doesn’t happen again. Here are some tips and tools for training dogs so that they are safe around new people.

Free Dog Bite Prevention Week Resources

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In honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, Dr. Sophia Yin presents some unique educational resources including an animated PSA and canine body language poster.

Dog Bite Prevention PSA: Why Dogs Bite and What to Avoid

Understanding dogs is essential for Dog Bite Prevention. This video illustrates why so many people are bitten by dogs every year. In this animation, a child approaches a dog even when the dog shows signs of fear and avoidance. Watch to see the signs of fear.