Dogs have come into our homes to stay. More than 99% of America’s dog owners consider their dogs either family members or companions.  More than 99% of the roughly 110 million people who live with dogs enjoy the benefits of this companionship  without ever having serious conflicts with their dogs. Even though more and more people have been spending more and more time enjoying their dogs’ companionship over the last four decades, the trend in the number of dog bite complaints has declined dramatically.  You are your dog’s first line of defense. Dogs bite when they feel they need to defend themselves. We can protect our dogs from situations that make them uncomfortable and learn how they may let us know they‘re upset. We can do even better by learning to see the dog’s point of view by:
- Taking care of his physical health and comfort
- Being our dog’s protector
- Recognizing that dogs are not static creatures and their needs and preferences will evolve. And even dogs have bad days. Know who your dog is TODAY and meet his needs in this moment.
- Insulating him from things that scare him
- Socializing puppies so they won’t be fearful of things they are commonly exposed to
- Seeking appropriate professional help when an adult dog’s fears are compromising his quality of life or the safety of the people around him.
Most important, the dog who is fully integrated into the life of his human family is much less likely to be frightened by human behavior. Companionship is truly the best prevention.
FOR A COMPREHENSIVE DISCUSSION OF DOG BITES AND SOCIETY, SEE:
“DOG BITES: PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS”
Updated May 2015
Sources and Notes:
 American Veterinary Medical Association. U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook (p. 13). Schaumburg, IL: AVMA, 2012.
 Pets Are Wonderful Support. (2007). The Health Benefits of Companion Animals. Retrieved from: http://www.nps.gov/goga/learn/management/upload/Comment-4704-attachment_.pdf
 National Canine Research Council, (2013). Reported Bites Decreasing. Retrieved from: http://www.nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dogbites/reported-bites-decreasing/