A dog bites someone's hand

While the experience of owning a dog provides a lot of joy, there are many common worries facing today’s dog owners. Topping the list of potential concerns is what happens if/when their dog bites another animal, or perhaps worse, a person that you may or may not know. 

Without a doubt, dog owners have their work cut out for them. Not only is it crucial to make sure a dog knows what is appropriate behavior, but owners must also know what to do if the worst-case scenario happens.

All-Encompassing Responsibility

You want your dog to demonstrate mastery over such commands as “come,” “down,” “heel,” “leave it”, and more, primarily because adhering to them could save their life (or at least keep them out of trouble). 

Even more so, however, is the understanding that controlling your dog’s behavior is solely up to you. Stepping up to the task is not only necessary for your dog’s well being, but could redirect a potentially dangerous situation. 

Speak Canine 

Giving your dog opportunities to learn proper behavior is key to their confidence and safety. Socialization and positive reinforcement training techniques can influence your dog’s world view, and minimize or eliminate the chances of dangerous dog bites.

Other Tips

A grasp of your dog’s breed and temperament is helpful before adopting, as you can better prepare for their needs once they arrive home. 

To reduce possible aggression and wandering, spaying or neutering your dog is necessary (plus it’s good for their long term health). 

Try not to play games, such as tug of war, that can reinforce aggression and dominant behavior.

Preventing Dog Bites

If you’ve noticed that your dog still needs a bit of time to learn the basics, take away any chances of them biting anyone else. Commit to behavioral training, and learn more about what your dog does before behaving aggressively. A mesh muzzle might be a great tool when in public.

What Do I Do Now?

If your dog bites someone, the best thing to do is stay calm. Of course, this can be frightening, even traumatic, experience for everyone involved. However, steady nerves are required in order to get through it.

If you are at home, you can swiftly remove your dog to another room. A public place can make this separation more difficult, but if possible, take your dog to the car or briefly entrust your dog to someone else so you can tend to these details.

  • Exchange contact information with the victim(s) of your dog’s attack. 
  • If there are witnesses, jot their names and numbers down, too. 
  • It may be necessary to call -1-1. The authorities will be able to direct you to next steps, such as contacting an animal control officer. 
  • You’ll likely have to provide an up to date rabies vaccination.
  • Depending on the situation, it’s best to be prepared for a civil suit to be brought against you. Act professionally at all times and consult a lawyer as soon as possible.
  • If your dog bites another pet, it may be reasonable to volunteer to pay for any veterinary bills. 

The Heart of the Matter

Without a doubt, there’s always something to do in the life of a dog owner. It may go without saying that it’s not always relaxing, but there are ways to prevent such eventualities as dog bites.

If you have further questions or concerns, the Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center are always here for you.