Have You Ever Had A Dog Bite You?
Dog Bite Prevention: I was only two. In my mind, I vaguely remember being in our living room with my mom while she was crying and talking on the phone to the hospital. I remember being in the emergency room. And before all of this, I have a fleeting memory of being out at the barn and our dog. Somehow, our dog thought that I was going to steal his food, though I had been out there numerous times. On this particular occasion, he snapped at me and bit me, just missing my eye.
Even the calmest, most loving dog can get snappy when sat on, stepped on or when they feel fear for themselves or their family. According to the National Association of Letter Carriers, dog attacks rise from February to where they peak in June and in the US, on average 10 letter carriers suffer from dog-related injuries every delivery day.
My experience could have left me scarred in many more ways than just the one that I carry on my face. Today, I am a dog lover. I don't fear them at all, but I do have a very healthy respect for them.
Cynophobia is an irrational fear of dogs. However, the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders states that animal phobias are among the most common of the specific phobias and 36% of patients who seek treatment report being afraid of dogs or cats. Although snakes and spiders are more common animal phobias, cynophobia is especially debilitating because of the high prevalence of dogs. What makes this a phobia is that adult patients recognize that their stress and fear are excessive, unreasonable or irrational and for them, exposure is most often avoided altogether or is endured with severe dread.
Cynophobia can develop in a number of ways. These may include direct personal experience, observational experience, and informational or instructional experience. Direct personal experience may consist of having a personal negative encounter with a dog such as being bitten. In contrast, seeing a friend attacked by a dog and thus developing a fear of dogs would be an observational experience. Informational or instructional experience simply includes being told directly or indirectly that dogs are to be feared...remember Cujo.
Man's best friend, may not always be our best friend, but a healthy awareness can help to ensure that we and our pet don't come to any harm. Click to tweet
Dog Bite Prevention: Keep Your Friends And Family Informed
We must also teach and educate our children on how to properly interact with dogs. Education is the key to bite prevention!
Beverly's Tips For Protecting Yourself And Celebrating Dog Bite Prevention Week:
- Understand Dog Behavior:
- Learn to read a dog's body language to gauge its mood.
- Be cautious around dogs that seem anxious, aggressive, or fearful.
- Approach Dogs Safely:
- Always ask the owner's permission before approaching a dog you don't know.
- NEVER disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- NEVER pet a dog, even your own, without letting him see and sniff you first.
- Don't run past a dog. The dog's natural instinct is to chase and catch prey.
- If a dog threatens you, don't scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
- Respect Boundaries:
- The Canadian Safety Council estimates that in 70% of dog bite cases the victim knew the dog, and of that, 25% lived in the house with the offending dog.
- Parents need to teach their children how to interact safely with Fido. Teach children to respect a dog's space and avoid hugging, kissing, or disturbing it while eating or sleeping.
- Supervise Interactions:
- Supervise interactions between dogs and young children at all times.
- Teach kids not to pull on a dog's ears or tail and not to bother a dog while it's eating or resting.
- Avoid Aggravating Actions:
- Don't run away from a dog, scream, or make sudden movements if one approaches you.
- If a dog becomes aggressive, try to stay calm and avoid making direct eye contact.
- Educate Your Community:
- Promote responsible dog ownership and encourage your community to participate in Dog Bite Prevention Week.
- Train and Socialize Your Dog:
- Socialize your dog from a young age to ensure it's comfortable around people and other animals.
- Properly train and socialize your dog, and teach it submissive behaviours like giving up food without growling.
- Consider professional training for behavioural issues.
- Dogs that haven't been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters. Be a responsible pet owner.
- Know What to Do if Bitten:
- If bitten, wash the wound with soap and warm water and seek medical attention immediately.
- Report the incident to the appropriate authorities.
- Support Dog Bite Victims:
- Raise awareness about the physical and emotional trauma dog bite victims can experience.
- Encourage responsible pet ownership to reduce the incidence of bites.
- Stay Informed:
- Keep up-to-date with the latest information and resources related to dog bite prevention.
- If you find that your fear of dogs is excessive and you can't easily avoid them, seek out the help of a professional counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist.
A favourite quote...There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. Bern Williams
Contact Beverly about hosting a mental health workshop for your teams on how to build resilience. Learn relaxation strategies, and discover coping tips to deal with stress, change and crisis!
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!