How to Prevent Dog Bites

Minimize the risk of your dog biting.

You can minimize the risk of your dog biting if you:

  • Select sensibly. Whenever possible, “interview” at least one of your prospective pup’s parents. Other factors being equal, friendly parents usually beget friendly offspring.

  • Socialize early. Expose your dog to affectionate handling by many types of people so it learns to associate human contact with pleasure.

  • Teach obedience. Using positive reinforcement (praise, petting, play or food treats), teach your dog basic commands such as “Sit,” “Stay,” “Down” and “Come.” Practiced regularly, obedience exercises build a dog’s self-confidence and reinforce the owner as the leader.

  • Play peacefully. Avoid wrestling, tug-of-war and other highly provocative games that incite a struggle your dog settles with its teeth.

  • Neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite than intact dogs, but this step alone may not forestall aggression problems.

  • Be vigilant. Pay attention to warning signs of imminent aggression, such as growling and lip lifting. Intervene quickly but calmly to remove your dog from the situation. Don’t look an aggressive stray dog in the eye. Back away.

  • Let ’em be. Avoid disturbing a dog that’s sleeping, eating or nursing puppiesand teach youngsters to do the same.

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Behavior and Training · Dogs