There are more than 70 million good dogs in the United States, but any dog can bite. Understanding what a dog’s behavior is telling us and how our behavior may be interpreted by a dog is essential to reducing dog bites.
To help educate the public and reduce the estimated 4.5 million reported dog bites per year, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is once again sponsoring National Dog Bite Prevention Week®, held this year from May 18-24.
“Even the gentlest dog, if it is physically or mentally unhealthy, is in pain, feels threatened, or is protecting its food or a favorite toy, can bite,” said AVMA President Dr. Clark Fobian.
AVMA member and veterinary behaviorist Dr. Ilana Reisner is a featured speaker at 2014’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week® kick-off event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, May 15, at 10:30 a.m. EDT. Other National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition members joining Dr. Reisner include the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and the American Humane Association (AHA), along with the AHA Hero Dog of the Year, Elle the pit bull, and her owner, Leah Brewer. In addition, Kathy and Kelly Voight from Prevent the Bite will demonstrate the correct way for children to approach a dog, with assistance from internationally renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell.
“Dog bites are not a breed issue,” said Dr. Reisner. “They are an economic, cultural and very human issue. We need to educate the public about safety. Not only is it important to understand how dogs behave, it is important to understand how our own behavior may be interpreted by a dog.”
AVMA YouTube videos featuring “Jimmy the Dog,” highlight specific areas of miscommunication between dogs and people. A new short will be released each day on AVMA’s YouTube channel during National Dog Bite Prevention Week®.
“Fortunately, most dog bites are preventable through appropriate pet selection, proper training, responsible approaches to animal control, and education of dog owners and potential victims.” Dr. Fobian said.
Dog Bite Prevention Resources
Dog Bites by the Numbers Infographic: https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/Infographic-Dog-Bites-Numbers.aspx
Tips, brochures, coloring books, videos, and more:
National Dog Bite Prevention Week 2014 podcast: http://www.avmamedia.org/display.asp?sid=526&tid=207&NAME=National_Dog_Bite_Prevention_Week_2014_%28May_18-24%29
Canine Aggression Toward Children podcast: http://www.avmamedia.org/display.asp?sid=78&NAME=Canine_Aggression_Toward_Children
For more information, please visit the AVMA website at www.avma.org.
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The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 85,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine.
Michael San Filippo