This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
Most dogs will never bite, but with an estimated 89.7 million dogs living in U.S. households, accidents are bound to happen.
It is important to remember that any dog CAN bite regardless of breed or type.
Being bitten or attacked by a dog can leave physical and emotional scars, and children make up more than 50% of all dog bite victims. The elderly and home service people like mail carriers are also high on the list of frequent dog bite victims.
In 2017, State Farm saw 3,600 dog-related injury claims across the United States. Illinois ranked second with 318 claims last year.
State Farm, celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell and members of the National Dog Bite Prevention Coalition have joined forces during National Dog Bite Prevention Week to educate adults and children on ways to reduce dog-related injuries.
“Educating the general public about dog bite prevention is more vital than ever,” says Stilwell. “As a dog behavior expert, I support the need to raise awareness and stop these incidents from occurring.” Stilwell urges people to join the discussion and share tips on being safe and responsible around dogs by using the hashtag #preventdogbites.
The following tips are recommended to keep people safe from dog bites.
Learn canine body language. Too often people misunderstand or miss signals that a dog is uncomfortable. For example, a dog that yawns might not necessarily be tired. Yawning can also be a sign of stress.
Give dogs space. Dogs can feel threatened when strange people touch them, so take pressure off by giving them the choice to come into your space first to say hello.
Be humane. Dogs that are raised and trained humanely are more confident and less likely to bite than dogs that are trained using punitive methods or equipment designed to intimidate and cause pain.