Monday, May 16, 2011

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

In case you hadn't heard, this week (May 15-21) is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  I didn't realize, until recently, that nearly 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year.  I knew it was a problem, but that number surprised me.

There are a lot of great articles and posts about this subject already available (like this one over at Pets Weekly), so I won't try to write my own.  Instead I want to share an experience I had when I first started walking Sally, my boxer/pit bull mix.

Such a happy camper

Sally was a major puller, and would launch into an all out frenzy whenever we came near other humans, dogs, cats, or even as loud trucks passed by.  On one particular day, I noticed a man walking down the sidewalk, and he was coming straight at us.  Knowing that she would get extremely excited, we crossed to the other side of the street.  She's a pretty big dog, and I didn't want the passerby to feel threatened.

All was well, until the well-meaning, and obviously dog-loving gentleman decided to cross the street and walk directly towards us.  Sally flipped out.  Thankfully, I had enough physical strength to keep her back and get her to continue walking, or it's quite possible that man would have been bitten. 

In the past, I wondered how so many people were getting bitten every year when so much has been done to educate them on how to avoid dog bites.  The experience I had opened my eyes to at least one way so many bites are still happening -- they love dogs and just want to come over and pet them.  I understand that, but it's crucial to remember that no matter how much you want to go give that dog some love and attention, you don't know them.  As the Pets Weekly article mentions, you must get the permission of the owner before you approach.  How many dog bites could be prevented from learning this rule of thumb alone? 

What about you?  Have you had any similar experiences while walking your dog?


  1. We've been lucky - Bella is pretty tolerant.

  2. Yeah, tolerance is a good thing!

    Sally has never bit anyone, but she had some fear aggression issues at first. She's improved so much. Sweet dog!