Some people get dogs for protection or work purposes, but the majority of dog owners have their pets simply for love and companionship. Any dog owner will tell you how much they love their dog, and what a great addition that pet is to their family.
When it comes to caring for dogs, there is more to it then baths, walks, and dog food and water. You have the responsibility to keep your dog, and anyone who comes into contact with him or her, safe.
Keeping your dog safe may come as second nature to you. You keep them fed, loved, and offer them exercise. You understand they need to be inside if it’s cold outside and should always be indoors overnight. If they are sick, you take them to the veterinarian. Keeping others safe around your dog, however, might be a little trickier.
Remember that no matter how docile your dog may seem, underneath he is still an animal. If he or she feels threatened, they may lash out. If this happens, you may be responsible for your dog’s actions and you can be taken to court. Young children often do not know how to treat dogs and are often the victims of dog bites.
Responsible dog ownership begins the day you choose your puppy. Look for a breed that is not known to be aggressive. This is especially important if you have children. When choosing a breed, also think about how large the dog may one day grow to be. Some people cannot handle large dogs well.
Keep all shots up-to-date and think about obedience classes when the dog is still a puppy. The sooner they learn how to obey your commands, the better it will stay with them as they grow. It’s important to socialize your animal with other dogs and children as young as possible.
Have your pet spayed or neutered if you aren’t breeding. Animals who have been spayed or neutered are less aggressive, less likely to run away, and are friendlier in the long run.
Some suggest that rewarding good behavior is the best way to thwart bad behavior. When bad behavior is punished, it almost acts as reinforcement rather than a punishment. The best technique might be to remove the dog from any situation in which they are not acting appropriately.
Try to keep rough play with your dog to a minimum. This can bring out aggressiveness, even if tamer dogs. They may come upon someone and think they are ‘playing’ and that’s when someone may get hurt.
When you walk your dog, be honest with people if your dog is not nice. Some owners don’t realize that a docile dog at home may turn into a mean dog when confronted with a stranger. Quick movements by a stranger can trigger fright in a dog, and this can lead to the dog trying to protect itself.
The calmest and friendliest dogs in the world are still at risk to attack, and most commonly this happens with small children. Children don’t quite understand that a dog doesn’t always like to play, or that the dog may be tired or hurt. They also don’t understand how dangerous it is to take food or a bone away from a dog. If the parent isn’t paying any attention, it’s your job to take over to keep the child safe.
Stress is a huge factor for dog bites. You know your dog best. If you think they won’t handle crowds or zooming traffic well, keep them home or walk them somewhere else. You don’t want your dog to bite anyone anymore than a person wants to be bit. Remember no matter where you choose to walk your dog; they should always be on a leash.
If the worst does happen and your dog bites someone, you should act quickly. Get your dog away as soon as possible and offer help. When a bite is more than a scratch, you should expect that animal control will show up to talk to you. Have vaccination records handy and cooperate.
After repeat offenses, some dogs can be put to sleep. If you want to keep this from happening, you may want to reevaluate your situation. You may have to keep your dog away from children or other dogs, or you may want to consider that your dog may need a new home. If you really want to keep your dog, talk to your veterinarian for suggestions and consider obedience training.
Your dog may be your best friend, but remember they may not take to strangers quite as well. Do your best to keep him healthy and happy and you can enjoy a long, healthy relationship. If you keep your dog for protection, keep him away from others at all costs. While it may not seem fair when someone appears to be taunting or mistreating your dog, it is up to you to keep the dog from biting.
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