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Last updated 2/2016



Dog Safety Tips


Please note, this is not a complete list of dog safety issues. This is just an overview to get you thinking.

  • More often it is the human end of the deal rather than the dog when it comes to blame for dog bites. Dogs are animals, not little people in fur coats.  Dogs do not think like humans nor do they rationalize like we do.  Dogs use body language and even their mouths to express how they are feeling.  
  • Never approach a dog, even one you know, if there is no owner present to give you permission.  No matter how cute the dog looks, it can still bite.
  • Even if you are given permission to pat a dog, if the dog backs away, cowers, pins his ears back or growls, do not touch the dog. He may be scared and scared dogs are more likely to bite. 
  • If the dog lunges or jumps at you, walk away.  You could get knocked over.
  • When you pat the dog, never reach over his head, this can make dogs feel threatened.
  • If you see a loose dog, inform an adult you know so the proper authorities can be alerted. NEVER try to catch the dog yourself!
  • If you are on a bike and see a loose dog, get off the bike and walk away slowly. If the dog follows STOP and stand still, play tree!
  • You cannot out run a dog no matter how fast you think you are. And most dogs can catch a bike or skateboard.
  • Running away can encourage a chase, which can lead to a bite.
  • Never stare a dog in the eyes; it may be taken as a threat.
  • If the dog jumps on you, curl up like a turtle in his shell clasp your hands behind you neck and call for help.
  • Play that encourages roughhousing, biting and grabbing can lead to a bite. Children need to be taught how to play safer with dogs.
  • Dogs with litters can become very protective of the pups.  Children should never approach a mother and her pups without a parent AND the dog owner present.  If the mother dog becomes agitated, leave them alone.
  • Dog owners MUST properly train and socialize their dogs regardless of how big or little. In 2001, there were deaths caused by small dogs (1 death from a Beagle and 2 from Pomeranians - courtesy of the WAF). Any size dog can fatally injure a person. Even a toy breed can kill an infant.
  • Dogs and children must be supervised.
  • Infants and toddlers should never be left alone with dogs, Children need training regarding dogs and socializing to them!
  • Dogs must never be left unattended outside when no one is home to monitor them.  These dogs are more at risk of developing undesired behaviors as well as become victims of teasing and even torture by neighborhood kids.  This can quickly make a dog distrustful and more likely to bite.
  • Support your local animal control and push for higher fines for dogs allowed to roam loose, increased budgets for animal control agencies so they may better be able to police communities.  If there is no leash law on your community, push for one.

Preventing dog bites is the responsibility of the parent, dog owner, general public and even children.  It is through education and NOT banning certain breeds that dog bites can be reduced.

For more on dogs, training and kids, please go to:

Five Mistakes Dog Owners (and potential owners) Make

Finding an Obedience Instructor

Dogs and Kids

Enriching Our Dogs' Lives

Are You Ready for a Puppy or Dog?

A Pet Owner's Pledge

© by West Wind Dog Training


Memberships and Associations:

 Pet Professionals Guild * Association of Pet Dog Trainers * International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants * United Shetland Sheepdog Association * Blue Ridge Shetland Sheepdog Club * Granite State Shetland Sheepdog Club * Will O'Wisp Shetland Sheepdogs

West Wind Dog Training is registered and licensed in Prince William County, VA and insured.