Dog Training Today with Will Bangura for Pet Parents, Kids & Family, Pets and Animals, and Dog Training Professionals. This is a Education & How To Dog Training Podcast.

#153 Bite Prevention and Safety Tips for National Dog Bite Prevention Month: Dog Training Today will Will Bangura, CAB-ICB, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, FFCP

April 26, 2024 Will Bangura, M.S., CAB-ICB, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, FFCP is a World Renowned Dog Behaviorist, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and a Fear Free Certified Professional with over 36 years of experience with the most difficult Season 5 Episode 153
#153 Bite Prevention and Safety Tips for National Dog Bite Prevention Month: Dog Training Today will Will Bangura, CAB-ICB, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, FFCP
Dog Training Today with Will Bangura for Pet Parents, Kids & Family, Pets and Animals, and Dog Training Professionals. This is a Education & How To Dog Training Podcast.
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Dog Training Today with Will Bangura for Pet Parents, Kids & Family, Pets and Animals, and Dog Training Professionals. This is a Education & How To Dog Training Podcast.
#153 Bite Prevention and Safety Tips for National Dog Bite Prevention Month: Dog Training Today will Will Bangura, CAB-ICB, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, FFCP
Apr 26, 2024 Season 5 Episode 153
Will Bangura, M.S., CAB-ICB, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, FFCP is a World Renowned Dog Behaviorist, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and a Fear Free Certified Professional with over 36 years of experience with the most difficult

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As your go-to pet behavior expert, Will Bangura, I'm shedding light on the crucial topic of dog bite prevention, sharing insights that could save you or your loved ones from becoming part of a staggering statistic. Nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, with a significant number of those bitten being children. In this episode, we navigate through the reasons why dogs bite, from fear to sheer excitement, and the importance of understanding their body language to avoid dangerous encounters. It's not about the breed; it's about reading the cues. Join me as we crack the code on canine communication and unravel the truth behind common dog behavior myths.

Greeting a dog may seem straightforward, but there's a fine line between a friendly pat and a perceived threat. This episode is packed with guidance on how to approach our four-legged friends in a way that respects their space and ensures everyone's safety. I'll explain why letting a dog sniff your hand isn't the foolproof greeting method it's often believed to be and what to do instead. Plus, we can't stress enough the necessity of asking a dog's guardian before reaching out to their pet. Follow along as we offer practical advice to make every interaction with dogs a positive one, debunking myths and setting the facts straight.

Lastly, we delve into responsible dog ownership and the critical role it plays in preventing bites. I share tips on early socialization and training, highlighting the influential guidelines from the American Society of Veterinary Behavior on puppy development. For those with more challenging canine companions, I'll discuss the value of a multi-layered approach to managing aggression, including the benefits of seeking professional help from certified behaviorists. Remember, resources are available, including a directory on my website, dogbehavioristcom, that can connect you to the expertise needed. Tune in for an episode that promises to be as informative as it is essential for all dog lovers and those interacting with dogs in their daily lives.

Support the Show.

If you need professional help please visit my Dog Behaviorist website.
Go here for Free Dog Training Articles

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

As your go-to pet behavior expert, Will Bangura, I'm shedding light on the crucial topic of dog bite prevention, sharing insights that could save you or your loved ones from becoming part of a staggering statistic. Nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, with a significant number of those bitten being children. In this episode, we navigate through the reasons why dogs bite, from fear to sheer excitement, and the importance of understanding their body language to avoid dangerous encounters. It's not about the breed; it's about reading the cues. Join me as we crack the code on canine communication and unravel the truth behind common dog behavior myths.

Greeting a dog may seem straightforward, but there's a fine line between a friendly pat and a perceived threat. This episode is packed with guidance on how to approach our four-legged friends in a way that respects their space and ensures everyone's safety. I'll explain why letting a dog sniff your hand isn't the foolproof greeting method it's often believed to be and what to do instead. Plus, we can't stress enough the necessity of asking a dog's guardian before reaching out to their pet. Follow along as we offer practical advice to make every interaction with dogs a positive one, debunking myths and setting the facts straight.

Lastly, we delve into responsible dog ownership and the critical role it plays in preventing bites. I share tips on early socialization and training, highlighting the influential guidelines from the American Society of Veterinary Behavior on puppy development. For those with more challenging canine companions, I'll discuss the value of a multi-layered approach to managing aggression, including the benefits of seeking professional help from certified behaviorists. Remember, resources are available, including a directory on my website, dogbehavioristcom, that can connect you to the expertise needed. Tune in for an episode that promises to be as informative as it is essential for all dog lovers and those interacting with dogs in their daily lives.

Support the Show.

If you need professional help please visit my Dog Behaviorist website.
Go here for Free Dog Training Articles

Speaker 1:

it's estimated that approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the united states now, that's according to the centers for disease control and prevention and and about 20% of dog bites require medical attention. The severity can range from minor cuts and bruises to severe injuries requiring surgery Each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bite claims have totaled over $600 million, and that's annually. Oh wow. We're going to take today's episode to discuss all about. How do you prevent getting bit? What does it mean when we say bite prevention, Don't go anywhere? All that and more in 60 seconds.

Speaker 2:

Raised by wolves with canine DNA in his blood. Having trained more than 24,000 pets, helping you and your fur babies thrive, live in studio with Will Bangura answering your pet behavior and training questions. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host and favorite pet behavior expert, will Mangura. I like to lick everybody when they come to my door. I'll eat anything if it falls on the floor. Now I've heard the rumors. I think I better ask you. I heard I might be a dog. Won't somebody please tell me it ain't true?

Speaker 1:

Ah yes, good day, dog lovers. I'm Will Bangorahi. Thank you for joining me for another episode of Dog Training Today. As I said in the opener, it's April, which is National Bite Prevention Month, and we're going to take a little bit of time here to talk about dog bites. Talk about bite prevention.

Speaker 1:

As I said in the opener, it's estimated that there's about 4.5 million dog bites that occur each year in the United States and 20% of dog bites do require medical attention. Children many of you might know this. They're often at a much higher risk for dog bites than adults. The Center for Disease Control notes that children between the ages of five and nine are particularly vulnerable and most likely to receive medical attention for dog bites. Other than you know different age groups. As far as fatalities, while fatal dog attacks are rare, they do occur. The number of dog bite-related fatalities varies from year to year, but comprehensive data shows that basically, on average, if you look at the reports that are out there, there's about 30 to 50 fatal dog bite attacks annually in the US.

Speaker 1:

Dog bites. They account for a significant number of homeowners insurance liability claims and, trust me, I know all about that. I've been called on as an expert witness for dog bite cases, and usually the lawyers that are hiring me for that are lawyers that are working for an insurance company and somebody is trying to file that with their homeowners insurance. Trust me, you do not want a dog that bites. Try getting homeowner's insurance after you've had to pay out for a dog bite. Breed-specific statistics Now, there are some organizations and studies that have attempted to track dog bites by breed, but this data is often very controversial and it's considered unreliable by many experts due to issues like misidentification of dog breeds and also the influence of media bias.

Speaker 1:

Okay, now, one of the first things that we need to understand, and that is understanding dog behavior. It's critical in preventing dog bites and it's critical in promoting safe interactions between dogs and people. Now, dogs communicate primarily through body language, and their reasons for biting can often be traced back to natural instincts and their emotional responses. By interpreting these signals correctly, you, as pet guardians, can take proactive steps to manage and prevent potentially dangerous situations. So we're going to explore next what are some of the various reasons that dogs might bite, and we're going to emphasize the importance of recognizing key signs of discomfort or aggression in a dog's body language.

Speaker 1:

Okay, why do dogs bite. Why do you think dogs bite? Well, one of the most common reasons, probably the number one cause of most dog bites when a dog feels threatened or frightened, their instinctual response may be to bite to protect themselves. This can occur in situations where a dog might be startled, where it might feel cornered, or it might be that you introduce your dog or put your dog into a situation that, emotionally, is overwhelming for the dog. One of the other reasons why dogs bite is for protection.

Speaker 1:

Dogs will often exhibit protective behaviors towards their territory and their food, maybe toys, their family. This protective instinct can lead to aggression, especially if they perceive a person or another animal as a threat to their security or a threat to the security of man. I hate to say the pack. Those of you that know anything about Dr Meck would know why I hate to say the pack. Those of you that know anything about dr mech would know why I hate to say the word pack. But the dog could feel that there's a threat to the safety and security of everybody in the home.

Speaker 1:

This still, if you think about it, you know this whole idea of protection. It's still about fear, right? No animal goes into fight or flight and no animal bites unless they perceive a threat. Now, there might not be a real threat, maybe they just perceive a threat, but fear is absolutely the number one cause why animals bite. Another reason that they might bite is pain. You know, a dog that's in pain is absolutely more likely to bite. Even the gentlest dog might bite if it's touched in a painful area. Okay, it just becomes a reflexive defense mechanism.

Speaker 1:

It is crucial, absolutely crucial, for pet guardians to be aware of any signs of illness or injury to their pets, especially when there is a, all of a sudden, a quick behavior change. Okay, now, another reason why dogs might bite is excitement. You know, sometimes dogs bite out of sheer excitement. During play, dogs might become overly enthusiastic and accidentally bite. Enthusiastic and accidentally bite. Teaching gentle play and setting clear boundaries can help prevent bites that are driven by excitement. Now there are other reasons, potential reasons why dogs would bite, but the most common fear, protection, pain and excitement.

Speaker 1:

Now, one thing that's critical when it comes to being able to prevent dog bites is by understanding canine body language. You know, understanding a dog's body language. It can be essential, it is essential in predicting and preventing biting incidents. Dogs give various signals that indicate stress that indicate discomfort or aggression, which often precede the bite. So recognizing these early warning signs through the signals that the dogs give in their canine body language allows you, as the pet guardian, and others to adjust their behavior and manage the situation safely. To adjust their behavior and manage the situation safely.

Speaker 1:

Now let's talk about tail position, because a wagging tail does not always mean that a dog is happy. A stiff, high tail, that indicates high arousal, which could lead to aggression, high arousal, which could lead to aggression. Now, while a tail tucked between the dog's legs, that's definitely going to signify fear. Also, you want to pay attention to ear movement. Ears pinned back against the head often indicate fear. Not always, but it often indicates fear or anxiety, stress, phobias. However, ears that are perked up, pricked forward, pushed forward, that usually suggests alertness to potential threats.

Speaker 1:

Okay, also, paying attention to the dog's body posture. You know, a dog that's feeling threatened may exhibit a stiff, rigid posture. They might crouch low to the ground with its head down, looking up at the potential threat. With its head down, looking up at the potential threat, both are indicative of discomfort and potential readiness to react defensively. Now there are dozens and dozens and dozens of different body language, signals and cues that dogs give that communicate many different things. But when a dog is aggressive, when a dog bites, and you know, a lot of people say, well, the dog gave no warning. Usually almost all dogs give lots of warnings and in their canine body language we can see that they're getting uncomfortable, we can see that they're becoming fearful, we can see that they are stressed, that they're viewing something as a threat.

Speaker 1:

But before I want you to think of a ladder. Think of a ladder that has 10 rungs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. 10 at the top, obviously. 1 at the bottom, at the 10th rung of that ladder is biting. There are nine other rungs to that ladder. The outward visible behaviors that we see with the dog become more and more and more subtle. So at level one, that first rung of the ladder, we might see a dog doing tongue flicks, little kind of sticking its tongue out. You know just a little dart of the tongue, lip licking. Those are very subtle sights but they indicate that the dog's uncomfortable. They indicate stress.

Speaker 1:

Now if and there's a lot more and I'm going to give you some resources where you can learn canine body language in depth it's crucial If you want to prevent dog bites. A big part of it is being able to read a dog's body language is body language, because imagine if you can read body language and you can see very subtle signals that the dog is giving in its body language that show that it's stressed. That can be communication to you so that you can back off. But imagine that you have no clue, you don't know anything about tongue flicks and you keep approaching the dog and now maybe the dog's pupils start to dilate, maybe the ears go back, maybe the hair on the dog's back stands up Pyloerection, maybe the dog starts showing its teeth, maybe the dog starts showing its teeth, Maybe the dog starts barking, maybe the dog starts lunging, maybe the dog bites. But all of those behaviors I want you to think about, they're escalating, they start off very subtle signals that you don't even know that are indicating the dog's starting to get upset, that the dog's starting to become stressed.

Speaker 1:

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of understanding canine body language If you want to learn more very in-depth information on canine body language, if you want to know how to be able to read what's going on with your dog well in advance of any aggression. You need to understand canine body language. Also, working with aggressive dogs, working with fearful dogs, to try to get them over those problems, you have to understand canine body language or you won't get too far. But you can go to my website at dogbehavioristcom. Again, that's dogbehavioristcom. Go to the menu, look for where it says articles. I've got over 90 in-depth articles on various behaviors. Look for the article or the canine body language guide. It's quite extensive. Now there won't be any pictures there, but it's going to go through. Dozens of stress signals, dozens of calming signals, signals that we call appeasement signals, distance-increasing signals, distance decreasing signals, play signals, different signals in their vocalization, different signals and things that they're communicating with their tail. So there's a lot on various aspects of tail carriage as well as movement. But go to dogbehavioristcom and, again, go look for articles, find the Canine Body Language Guide. All right, now let's get on to some additional information as it relates to dog bites, as it relates to dog aggression, as it relates to us preventing dog bites. But before we do that, we need to pause for a message from our sponsor.

Speaker 1:

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Speaker 1:

Common misconceptions about dog aggression and bites. You know there's several myths and they continue to persist as it relates to dog aggression and biting, and the problem with that is it can lead to a lot of misunderstanding and a lot of mishandling of dogs. One of the biggest myths is that certain breeds are more aggressive. Aggression is not necessarily breed specific. While some breeds may have tendencies towards guarding or protection, individual behavior varies widely among dogs and dogs of the same breed. Okay, another myth and I kind of talked about it a second ago and I hear this a lot dogs bite out of the blue. And I hear this a lot Dogs bite out of the blue.

Speaker 1:

In most cases dogs give very clear, very clear signs before biting. But it's our failure to recognize those signs. And when we don't recognize those signs it's often mistaken for unprovoked aggression. But remember I talked about in the dog's canine body language. They give all kinds of canine body language signals that let us know that they're starting to get stressed, they're fearful, they're uncomfortable. Well, if you keep pushing a dog in that situation and you know that the dog's uncomfortable, you're provoking that aggression. I know that might be, it's not like you would necessarily be teasing the dog, but if you know a dog is fearful and you keep approaching the dog, you're provoking that dog. If you know that it has a problem, that it has a problem. If you know that a dog is aggressive when, say, you come within 20 feet of it and you start moving in at 20 feet or closer, you're provoking that aggression. Now listen, I'm not giving any dog that has aggression a pass on that behavior. It's not okay, it's dangerous, it needs to be dealt with, it needs to be modified. When you have a dog that's fearful and you can't read their canine body language and you start going into their personal space, they might bite you and that's a provoked bite.

Speaker 1:

Dogs do not bite out of the blue. There's got to be some kind of trigger and, as I said, no dog goes into fight or flight unless they perceive something is threatening. You might not be thinking you're threatening the dog. You might not know the dog is fearful. You might not know the dog is fearful. You might not know the dog has space issues and you might do what so many people do. You might do what so many people do.

Speaker 1:

That is so wrong and that's extend your hand to the dog so the dog can sniff your hand to let the dog know you're okay. That is total garbage. Okay, the dog sniffing your hand does not let the dog know you're okay. All right, their nose is not a crystal ball. Their sense of smell is fantastic, but it is not a crystal ball. Number one. Number two don't ever stretch out your hand for a dog to smell, to greet a dog, why Well, you're invading that dog's personal space? Let the dog come up to you. Let the dog approach you. Let the dog show interest in you. Let the dog begin to engage with you in a pleasant, playful way. Then engage with the dog. That's going to be the safe way to do it.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so that's a good segue into talking about safe interactions with dogs, and it's important that we ensure safe interactions between humans and dogs. It's fundamental to preventing bites and fostering positive relationships. Okay, to preventing bites and fostering positive relationships. Okay, so we're going to talk about how to approach dogs. Okay, introductions and also some other crucial advice for teaching children how to interact safely with dogs. All right, first thing, always, always, always, ask for permission. You know, before touching or approaching someone else's dog, it's critical to ask the pet guardian for permission. This not only shows respect for the guardian, but also ensures that the dog is comfortable with being approached by strangers. You know, pet guardians know their dogs, they know best and they can advise whether the dog is friendly or whether the dog is fearful, and that lets you know whether you should move on or whether you should approach the dog, or at least, that's one of the ways.

Speaker 1:

Canine body language is another one, because I'll tell you, I've heard lots of stories, I've experienced this, I've had clients that have experienced this over and over where somebody says their dog is friendly, somebody says, can I pet your dog? Oh yeah, he's friendly. And they reach for the dog and the dog bites. Why is that? How was it that the pet parent was so wrong? Well, obviously, hey, if every, if any dog that goes into fight or flight perceives a threat, the dog perceived a threat. And guess what was happening before the dog bit? Yeah, the dog was displaying stress signals in its canine body language, starting out very subtle and they start to escalate, go up that ladder until the dog actually bites.

Speaker 1:

Okay, now what is a proper introduction to a dog? Well, first thing you want to do is always approach a dog calmly and slowly. You don't want to startle them, you want to avoid startling them. So, approaching a dog calmly, approaching the dog slowly, avoiding direct eye contact, at least initially, as the dog might perceive that direct eye contact as a stare. They might perceive that as a threat. Now there's still all kinds of advice being told by Quote unquote dog professionals In writings on the internet that will tell you Offer your hand palm down, but what's missing is don't reach that towards the dog, don't reach your hand towards the dog. You can have your palm down but allow the dog to come to you. Allow the dog to come to you and sniff your hand itself. That's a non-threatening way for the dog to get to know you.

Speaker 1:

Initially, and like we've talked about, watch the dog's body language. Look to see. Is this dog displaying a relaxed body, a wagging tail that you know? A friendly wagging tail is kind of like a windmill. It just kind of goes in this big circle. Yeah, does the dog? Is the dog displaying a friendly demeanor? Looking at and understanding the canine body language lets you know whether or not the dog's comfortable. Hey, if the dog backs away or shows signs of discomfort, you need to respect their space and retreat. If you keep moving forward and the dog bites, that's a provoked bite.

Speaker 1:

Now, we talked in the beginning of the show that by far the majority of dog bites happen to children. We need to really emphasize safety when it comes to children and when it comes to dogs and potential bites. Always, always, always, always, always supervise any interactions between children and dogs. You know children, especially young children. They're often completely unaware of the signs of discomfort in dogs and they may not know how to respond appropriately to that. So, in addition to supervising at all times with kids, in addition to supervising at all times with kids, you need to teach them about canine body language and what to look for.

Speaker 1:

When we're talking about supervising children, oftentimes I get the question well, at what age do I no longer have to supervise? Listen, if you've got a fearful or aggressive dog, or if you've got a dog that's fearful, that then can switch into aggression, I don't care how old those kids are. You've got a huge liability If a 17-year-old gets bit in your home. Well, even if an 18-year-old, but if a minor gets bit, it's a whole lot different ballgame than if a non-minor gets bit. Now, I know a lot of people don't want to hear that. They don't want to have to supervise their 13, 14, 15, 16, 17-year-old children. But if you've got an aggressive dog, do you really think that your 17-year-old is as responsible as you are? Do you really think your 17-year-old, in all situations, is going to make the best decisions like you would? I don't know very many 17-year-olds that would fall into that category, even the most responsible of 17-year-olds. So always supervise minors around dogs, especially if you have a dog that's fearful or aggressive.

Speaker 1:

Now, when it comes to children, in addition to teaching canine body language so that children can identify whether they should be backing away from the dog if the dog is showing that it's uncomfortable, the other thing that's critical to teach children is how to pet dogs gently, gently, okay, and teaching children to avoid sensitive areas of touch, like the dog's face, the dog's tail, the dog's feet, its private parts. Show the kids how to use open hands and stroke the dog's back or shoulders, and you can even use fake stuffed animals, dogs, realistic-looking stuffed animal dogs and have young children practice petting and handling the dog and teaching them the right things to do when petting a dog, when touching a dog, when approaching a dog first using what I call puppet dogs or stuffed dogs. Now, it's important, very important, that when you're talking about kids kids that you do demonstrate all this. Don't just tell them. Tell them, demonstrate it. Then have them practice that so that you can see that they get it, don't just talk about it. Practice, practice, practice, practice.

Speaker 1:

Now, the other thing that's crucial to prevent dog bites is training and socialization. They can play a very critical role in preventing dog bites by helping dogs learn how to behave appropriately around people and other animals. All right, so early socialization and I like to call early socialization exposure, because you've got a very short window to expose your dog or socialize your dog and if you don't, they can develop a lot of fears, irrational fears. Okay, now remember, I said you got this short period of time to get the socialization done. You have this short period of time to do the exposure. That time is when the dog, or when the puppy is three weeks of age to 13 weeks of age. Yeah, that critical socialization period, that window shuts at 13 weeks of age, 13 weeks of age, if a dog does not get exposed to a lot of stimuli and I encourage people look, when you get a puppy, you get them out and about everywhere, everywhere.

Speaker 1:

Now some of you are saying wait, my dog, my puppy doesn't even have all of its shots. We can't go anywhere wrong. Listen, the american society of veterinary behavior, the veterinary behaviorists, who are full-fledged veterinarians but are also that are also behaviorists. They put out a position statement that said listen, you need to socialize your puppy before it gets all of its shots. Obviously, don't throw your puppy in a place where there's, you know, all kinds of dogs peeing and pooping, because some of those dogs might have disease or illness. Keep your dog clean. Keep your dog in a safe area, in a clean area, but get your dog around everything. You know a lot of dogs that you know people are waiting until they get all their shots before they get them out and about and they don't expose them to anything. Those dogs get out and they're afraid of everything. That window is shut.

Speaker 1:

Now we've got to do some serious behavior modification, that's, counter conditioning and desensitization for these type of problems, type of problems. But early socialization, like I said, involves exposing puppies to a variety of people, a variety of animals, environments and situations from a very young age, like I said, from three weeks to 13 weeks of age. That period is critical as it shapes the dog's future behavior and helps them become well-adjusted. Now, proper socialization can prevent the development of fear and aggression towards unfamiliar situations and people. Dogs that are well socialized are much, much, much less likely to react negatively to unexpected stimuli and they're generally more confident. Okay, okay, many puppy training classes offer structured socialization opportunities that are safe in the class.

Speaker 1:

So I strongly advocate that for any puppy, and part ofing aggressive responses is teaching behaviors. That would be incompatible. We call that differential reinforcement and we use positive reinforcement to do that. Your dog cannot be sitting and lunging to bite somebody at the same time. Your dog cannot be committed to, say, staying on its bed or place and going after somebody. Okay.

Speaker 1:

Also, being able to call your dog to you, having a reliable recall what if your dog is showing you that it is uncomfortable? Maybe your dog is 20, 30 feet in front of you. You need to be able to call your dog to you, call your dog away from whatever that trigger is that's causing fear. So, having a really strong recall, teaching your dog leave it that command helps prevent dogs from picking up dangerous objects or from interacting with potentially aggressive animals. All right, that's going to reduce the risk of confrontational incidents with other dogs. You know, if you're walking, maybe your dog's just fine, but your dog wants to go up to another dog and your dog's not reading what the dog's communicating in its body language because, trust me, not all dogs read signals well. But maybe you can read it and you're like, hey, my dog should not be going up to that dog.

Speaker 1:

That dog is showing it's very uncomfortable with our approach, showing stress signals that dog might bite if we get too close, being able to say leave it. Now, drop it. In the event that a dog has something in its mouth that could cause conflict. Let's say we've got a dog that is a resource guard, or maybe it's got another dog's toy. Teaching them to drop it can really diffuse potential aggression, especially when we're talking about resource guarding.

Speaker 1:

All right, now, if you've got a serious problem already, you need to consider hiring a professional. You know, aggression is not easy, it's dangerous, you can get bit. I don't encourage you to try any of these things. If you've got a severely aggressive dog, you need to find yourself a behaviorist or a behavior consultant, and they're very different than a dog trainer. Dog trainers primarily teach obedience commands like sit, heal, lay down, come when called and they deal maybe with nuisance behaviors getting in the trash, jumping up on you, getting up on the counter.

Speaker 1:

When it comes to the more severe behaviors the ones that are rooted in emotional upset, fears, stress, anxiety, phobias, reactivity, aggression that's when you call a behaviorist or a behavior consultant. Now listen, anybody can call themselves a behaviorist. Anybody can say, hey, I'm a behaviorist, I'm a behavior consultant, and they don't realize that they shouldn't be using those terms. Those terms are for people that have formal education and have a lot of experience in these type of areas and problems. But you want to look for either a veterinary behaviorist and applied animal behaviorist an applied animal behaviorist, a clinical animal behaviorist that's the name for it over in the UK or a certified behavior consultant, and you want to look for certification. And who is certifying them? I know trainers that certify themselves. I know that's the problem. This is an unregulated industry. The dog training industry is unregulated, so there are problems in it and that's why it's so important to find somebody. And that's why it's so important to find somebody that really has formal education, has a legitimate certification and they know what they're doing.

Speaker 1:

Now, when it comes to dealing with preventing dog bites, and let's say that you've got an aggressive dog and you've not hired a professional, you've not done the work, you still have the problem. And let's say, your dog is aggressive towards strangers in the home and you're going to have some people over. You need to put the dog up. But you know what. You need two or best case best practices three layers of security and safety. What do I mean by that? Well, let's say I have an aggressive dog and I put him in my bedroom while guests are over to keep my guests safe. Well, there are plenty of dogs that have, accidentally or on purpose, gotten the door open, gotten out and attacked somebody.

Speaker 1:

Don't assume that your dog's not getting out of that room just because there's a closed door. So that would be one layer and I'm telling you you need two or three. What would be a second layer? Well, we could have a crate, a dog crate in that bedroom. The dog is in the dog crate, the door of the crate is closed, that is in the room and the door to the room is closed. So if the dog breaks out of the crate because you know what, let's say the dog's not in a room, we just have a crate the dog could break out of the crate right One layer and attack somebody. But let's say we've got the dog crate in the bedroom. If the dog breaks out of the crate, I've got a second layer, a second level of protection by having the door closed to that room. All right, what would be a third level of protection or safety? Well, I've got the crate. I've got the crate in the room with the door shut and I also have a baby gate in the hallway and I also have a baby gate in the hallway. So if the dog breaks out of the crate if the dog then is able to escape that room by getting that door open now it's blocked by a baby gate Can't go beyond a certain area Management.

Speaker 1:

We're talking about management and if you haven't done the work to rehabilitate an aggressive dog or a dog with a lot of fear, which that can turn into aggression really fast, especially if they feel cornered, you have to manage these behaviors if you haven't worked through them and management often fails. Why? Because we're human and we all make mistakes. Listen, I make a mistake, whether I want to or not. I make one every day. I just hope I get it out of the way early, that's all. But yeah, we all can make mistakes.

Speaker 1:

I've made mistakes working with dogs.

Speaker 1:

You know I've been doing this over 35 years and, hey, sometimes you learn by the school of hard knocks.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I've had aggressive dogs that I crated.

Speaker 1:

I thought that everything was good to go and guess what? Didn't have one of the crate doors securely fastened Dog came out, went after another dog. I share that example of this situation, which happened to me years and years, decades ago. But I learned management can fail because we're human, we make mistakes can fail. Because we're human, we make mistakes. Even professionals like myself that specialize in it can make mistakes. Now I make a lot less. I make much, many fewer mistakes today than I did, say, 30 years ago, because I've learned a lot, and part of what I've learned is you need more than one level of safety and security if you have an aggressive dog in your house and you're trying to manage things. You know.

Speaker 1:

Other things that help to manage dogs with aggression are making sure your dog is leashed, making sure that you've got a harness and you can control your dog, especially when you're on walks. Creating a safe space inside your home, creating a designated safe space for your dog like a crate or a special dog bed and their toys. Those things can provide a retreat where the dog can feel secure and manage stress. You know some dogs they just need distance and you know you put them at the end of the room on their dog bed. Somebody comes in the house. They're on the far end of the room. They leave the dog alone, everything might be okay. But then again, then you've got other dogs. I don't care, anybody walks in the house, they leave the dog alone, everything might be okay. But then again, then you've got other dogs. I don't care, anybody walks in the house. Boom, no matter where that dog is, they're going to come find them and go after them.

Speaker 1:

So just to kind of wrap up and just to kind of go over some of the things that are critical when it comes to dog bite prevention, understanding canine body language will let you know what that dog's underlying emotional state is. And when you can see through the dog's body language that they're uncomfortable, that's communication to you that lets you know, hey, if I continue to move towards that fearful dog, that stressed dog, even though the signals are subtle, because, again, the further away you are, the less stressed out the dog is. And the whole goal with learning canine body language in depth is so that we can catch it when it's very small, before the bite. That it'll let us know, hey, this dog's uncomfortable, I need to back off. That it'll let us know. Hey, this dog's uncomfortable, I need to back off. But if we don't know canine body language, we don't know that and we keep moving towards the dog and then the dog doesn't have a choice. The dog really doesn't have a choice because it doesn't know how to escape. You keep moving towards the dog and imagine this happens outside that dog is on a leash, the handler, pet parent, is holding that leash. The dog can't get away and it knows it and you just keep approaching. That's a provoked bite if it happens. But understanding canine body language absolutely critical.

Speaker 1:

Teaching children, because they are the ones that typically are, they're more apt to get bit. Teaching them how to handle a dog. Teaching them how to pet the dog. Teaching them canine body language, what to not do with a dog, when to back off, and always supervising, always supervising children. Teaching basic commands so that you can manage behaviors, giving your dog something else to do. That would be incompatible with going after somebody. A dog that's committed to laying on their dog bed and stays there is not going after somebody Now. That dog might not be comfortable to laying on their dog bed and stays there is not going after somebody. Now that dog might not be comfortable. And my contention is if the dog's not comfortable, you need to create more space, even if that dog's not coming off of its better place, because the dog is still experiencing a really bad experience with another person. We don't want the dog to continue to have that underlying emotional state more and more conditioned, more and more habituated. It just makes it that much more difficult in order to help that dog. It just makes it that much more difficult in order to help that dog. And then, finally, as I talked about, hey, aggression is dangerous.

Speaker 1:

If you've got an aggressive dog, make sure that you find somebody, a certified professional, a veterinary behaviorist, an applied animal behaviorist, a clinical animal behaviorist or a certified behavior consultant. You can go to my website at dogbehavioristcom, dogbehavioristcom. Look at the menu, find where it says directory. If you go to my directory on dogbehavioristcom, it will list every veterinary behaviorist in North America. It will list all of the applied animal behaviorists. You can do a search for certified behavior consultants.

Speaker 1:

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that music means we are just about out of time. I'm Will Bangura. You've been listening to Dog Training Today. Do me a favor Please. If you love what we, we do, give us a five-star review. Hit that like button. Please share this with your friends and families and also please subscribe. Hit that subscribe button so that you never miss an episode of dog training today. Hey, and visit my website at dogbehavioristcom. If you've got a problem with your dog and you're looking for help. You can get all the help you need at dogbehavioristcom. I'm Will Bangora. Have a great week, everybody. I'm out of here when I come home, won't you just go crazy.

Speaker 2:

He never looks at me like he might hate me. I want you to love me like my dog.

Understanding and Preventing Dog Bites
Myths and Facts About Dog Behavior
Preventing Dog Bites and Proper Training
Dog Aggression Management and Bite Prevention
Dog Training Today - Closing Remarks