Dog bite prevention

Did you know... Half of all children are bitten by a dog?

Awful, isn't it? Dog bites are considered to be a serious public health problem by the health and veterinary associations around the world, and by local councils. Most bites are by the family dog, or a dog known to the child. These attacks and the resulting injuries (often to the face) may cause life-long disfigurement and psychological trauma for the child and usually results in the euthanasia of the offending dog. There are also ongoing costs associated with the medical care required after a dog bite. You could see for yourself by conducting an informal survey within your school. Visit a few classrooms and ask for a show of hands of children who have been bitten by dogs. Then ask how many were bitten by their own dog, or another dog that they know. You will be shocked by the response. Experts agree that the best way to reduce dog bite risk is through education. Unfortunately, this kind of life-skill education is often overlooked in mainstream curriculum, yet we will spend more time with dogs, either directly or vicariously, than any other companion animal, and we often have no idea about what our canine companions think! For example, dogs don't hug each other and yet we allow our children to hug our dogs. Some dogs may find this "hugging behaviour" too threatening and will take measures to either stop it at the time or prevent it happening to them again by displaying a behaviour of their own. We often ignore this, or don't recognise the signals as serious and do nothing. Consequently this is how many children are bitten on the face. A major component of the d o g Wise program is to discourage children from hugging dogs, including their own, but particularly dogs they don't know. This may sound a bit harsh but how often do we hear the words..."I don't know what happened, it was completely unprovoked"...or..."that attack came totally out of the blue"...? There will almost always be a warning, (or warnings) given, the key is to recognise the signals and respond appropriately. The d o g Wise bite prevention education program can help demonstrate these warnings and other dog body language and is available now for schools, community groups such as councils and day care centres, private day care or in-home training