Many pet owners believe that their dogs would never bite a person. The truth is that dog bites are very common and many of them involve dogs with no past history of aggression. Understanding when dogs are likely to bite is important for dog owners, but equally important is the understanding that all dogs are a threat to bite under the right circumstances. Large dogs and small dogs are both capable of biting and causing harm. There is no breed of dog that never bites. There is no training method that ensures a dog will never bite. The vast majority of dog bite victims were known by, and even friendly to, the dog prior to the bite.
There are things you can do to reduce that likelihood of getting bitten or of having your dog bite another person. National Dog Bite Prevention week is from May 19 to May 25 this year. During that time, many groups will hold informational sessions designed to help people interact more safely with dogs. Given that hundreds of thousands of dog bites require medical attention every year across the United States, it is clear that more can and should be done.
Among the recommendations that dog experts provide for avoiding serious dog bites is to closely monitor children around dogs. Small children should never be left alone with a dog, even the trusted family dog. Children do not appreciate the danger signs that dogs send to avoid a conflict. They do not realize that pulling tail of a sleeping dog is an excellent way to get even the most docile canine to react violently. The lack of awareness is part of why children suffer a disproportionately high number of dog bites.
Source: The Mountain Ear, “When Dogs Bite,” by Deb D’Andrea, 1 May 2013