In the United States, almost five million people suffer a dog bite each year. And it is often children or other vulnerable people who incur those injuries. Even long-time dog lovers are surprised to learn that most bites happen to people the dog knows.
Why do dogs bite? Reasons abound. Sometimes canines are afraid, sometimes they feel trapped and sometimes they are ill or injured. Other dogs have a dominant temperament, which can be hereditary or something developed over time.
Here are a few tips that dog lovers can use to put a muzzle on a biting problem:
If you buy a dog from a breeder, ask to meet the mother. Do not buy a dog if the mother is aggressive or overly fearful.
Spay or neuter your dog.
Do not allow your dog to nip or bite when playing.
When playing tug-of-war or other rambunctious games, maintain control of the activity. Teach your dog to drop the rope on command.
Be cautious when bringing your dog into a new situation, such as meeting a new neighbor for the first time.
Discourage your dog from being possessive of food and toys. To help your dog understand that you are the source of food, rather than the competition.
Make sure your dog consistently follows your basic commands and responds when you call their name.
During puppyhood, or as early as possible, socialize your dog with many different sorts of people.