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Teacher Resource Module One and Two – Dog Bite Prevention

The Canada Safety Council estimates that 460,000 people are bitten in Canada each year. 
Most dog bite victims are children and in a large percentage of cases the dog that bites is their own, a friend’s, neighbour’s or a babysitter’s dog. With proper education of children and families and better training and supervision of the dogs, most of these biting incidents could have been prevented.

The dog that bites is not necessarily a mean dog or a bad dog. In order to prevent bites we need to understand what motivates a dog to bite and to reduce risk through modification of human behaviour.

Why does a dog bite?

·         The dog is protecting a possession, food or water dish or puppies

·         The dog is protecting a resting place.

·         The dog is protecting its owner or the owner’s property.

·         The dog considers itself dominant over the child and the child has done something the dog considers to be insubordinate (e.g. Hugging, leaning or stepping over the dog).

·         The dog is old and grumpy and has no patience for the actions of a child.

·         The dog is injured.

·         The child and dog are playing roughly and the dog becomes over stimulated.

·         The dog views the child as prey because the child is running and/or screaming near the dog.

Some warning signs to watch for:

·         The dog gets up and moves away from the child.

·         The dog looks at you with a pleading expression.

·         The dog turns his head away from the child.

·         You can see the “whites” of the dog’s eyes, in a half moon shape.

·         The dog yawns while the child approaches or is interacting with him.

·         The dog licks his chops while the child approaches or is interacting with him.

·         The dog suddenly starts scratching or licking himself.

·         The dog growls warningly at the child.