Summer in Delta County sees a dramatic increase in outdoor activity as residents try to make good use of our brief season of warm weather. Much of this activity involves our dogs.
Along with summer activity, the number of dog bites also increases in the summer months. Many of these incidents involve children, or adults, who may not know how to properly interact with a dog - particularly one which is strange or loose.
Here are some tips that may prevent a dog bite or attack.
- Do not approach strange dogs, whether on leash or off. Don't feel the urge to greet every dog you see.
- Teach children not to run directly at dogs to try and meet them. Children should be taught not to approach strange dogs or to run, play wildly or scream in front of loose dogs.
- When meeting a dog, ask the owner if the dog is friendly before engaging them or petting them.
- Do not stare directly into the eye of a dog. Dogs often see this as a threat.
- Always allow a dog to see you and sniff you before you pet them. Keep your interaction with the dog short and positive. Don't start a play session with a strange dog.
- Never leave children unattended with dogs, no matter how well you think you know the dog. According to dogbitelaw.com a new dog in the house is dangerous for the first 60 days, and a person who is new to a household where a dog resides is in danger of attack for the first 60 days. In 2007 and 2008, 20 percent of fatal dog attacks involved a new person or dog sharing a household for a period of two months or less.
- Dogs are not stuffed animals: do not cuddle them, climb on top of them or kiss them if you don't know them, and think twice about doing it even if you do know them.
- If a dog is approaching you, do not run away. This triggers a dogs prey drive. Dogs are more likely to bite someone who is running away from them than someone standing still. The best posture to assume is to stand erect with your arms folded. Turn slightly sideways to the dog and do not look directly at the dog. Even if the dog is jumping and barking at you, remain still. Most dogs will lose interest in an object that is not moving.
- If a dog knocks you down, roll into a ball and remain as motionless as possible. Cover your head with your arms. Do not scream or roll around. Dogs may bite in playfulness.
- If a dog is eating or playing with something, do not approach him to play with him or to take the object away from him.