According to iNews, the number of dog bites in the UK have now more than doubled in the past 20 years.
One of the more recent factors likely to contribute to the number of dog bites increasing is the COVID-19 pandemic. During lockdown, many people made the decision to buy a new puppy or adopt a rescue dog while spending more time at home. The increase in pet adoptions and purchases, combined with inexperience and the lack of socialisation and training available, has created the perfect storm for the number of dog bites increasing.
Continue reading this helpful guide brought to you by Benchmark Kennels for more advice on preventing a dog from biting.
How Can I Stop My Dog From Biting?
Dogs who haven’t been given the opportunity to socialise and acclimate to new situations often develop fearful behaviours which can lead to them biting as a form of protection.
To prevent a dog from biting you should prioritise socialising your dog. Ideally, a dog should be socialised before reaching four months, however this isn’t always possible. Opt for private lessons with a canine behaviourist before taking them out to meet other dogs and people as this can often be the recipe for a disaster.
Once your dog has been to a few canine classes and is improving in their behaviour, try taking them on a walk and slowly introduce them to new people and dogs. If you have a dog that has shown signs of aggression in the past, try a basket muzzle. With a basket muzzle, your pet will be able to breathe and exercise while remaining safe. During a slow introduction, you should keep the lead very short and remove them from the situation if they begin to show any signs of fear or anxiety. This can be any of the following:
- Licking their lips
- Tail tucked
- Flattened ears
- Avoiding eye contact
- Raised hair
If your dog acts positively to the situation, reward them with a treat and lots of fuss to make sure they know that you have acknowledged their positive behaviour. It is always important to never force your dog to another dog or into an unfamiliar space when they’re not ready.
If you’re struggling with your reactive dog, even after a canine behaviourist has tried to help, talk to your veterinarian. There are a number of medications that can help with anxiety and stress.
How Can I Stop a Dog From Biting My Children?
You should teach your children how to act around a dog, even if you don’t have a dog yourself. The basic rules when seeing a dog out in public are:
- Do not approach a dog without the owner’s consent
- Never approach a dog with a hand extended
- Avoid petting a dog’s belly, face or feet as these are often considered sensitive areas
- Never startle a dog, approach them slowly
What Should I Do If a Dog Attacks?
Sometimes dog bites are completely unavoidable. This is why you should always be aware of how to act correctly in a situation where a dog bites.
If you or someone you’re with is bitten by a dog, it is vital that you remain calm. Screaming, yelling and shouting will only startle the dog further and cause the issue to escalate. Dogs respond much better to calm energy. Try to remove yourself, or the person you’re with from the situation calmly and quietly. From there, you should seek medical attention if necessary.
Provide a Quiet Place for Your Dog
Many dogs rely on their owners to be with them all of the time. However, with most of us going back to work after the COVID-19 lockdown, this is not always possible.
Providing your dog with a comfortable space for them to retreat to when you’re busy is essential. If you have a dog who is currently suffering with separation anxiety, investing in a spacious outdoor kennel can help to teach your dog independence and build their confidence. Try leaving your dog in the kennel when you’re at home for short periods of time and reward any positive behaviour. However, it is important to use the kennel as a positive training aid and never shut your dog away for long periods of time when they’re not used to it.
For more information on crate training, read our helpful online guide. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a high-quality thermal dog kennel check out our extensive range of kennels online. Here at Benchmark Kennels, we cater for all breeds and sizes. Contact us today for more information.