How One App is Helping Prevent Dog Bites

The ASPCA estimates that nearly 44% of all households in America have a dog. Because most of us consider our dogs part of the family, we often forget that they are still animals. Even the sweetest and friendliest of dogs can lose their temper and bite if they feel threatened or scared.

More than 4.5 million people are bit by dogs each year, according to USPS. Small children and the elderly are the most frequent victims of bites.

But one app – called Dog Prevention Strategy – is aiming to prevent dog bites by teaching children (and adults) how to avoid them in the first place.

The concept behind the app is simple: users practice safe interactions with virtual dogs before being exposed to a real dog. The app also helps users learn how to interpret a dog’s posture to know when it’s feeling anxious, fearful or aggressive.

The Dog Prevention Strategy was created by Dr. Rivard, who is trained in clinical veterinary behavior and animal welfare. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

5 Tips to Fend Off an Aggressive Dog

What if you don’t have time to use an app to avoid an aggressive dog? What if it’s your dog who finds himself face-to-face with an aggressive canine? I don’t think Fido can learn how to use the bite prevention app quick enough to escape before it’s too late.

How do you fend off a dog who is already in attack mode? Most people pick up the closest object they can find – a stick, their purse – or use their hands to separate the dogs. Unfortunately, this often leads to injuries to both the dogs and the owners.

Whether it’s another dog who’s the aggressor or your dog who’s ready to pounce, there are many things you can do to prevent the situation from escalating out of control.

1. Carry an EPA-Approved Attack Deterrent Spray

Just as pepper spray can stop a human attacker, a dog attack deterrent spray can stop an aggressive dog right in his tracks.

EPA-registered sprays are environmentally-friendly and will not harm the dog. These sprays also allow you to fend off an aggressive dog from a safe distance.

EPA-registered sprays contain food-grade pepper spray, which stings the dog’s eyes without causing injury. The effects of the spray last just a few minutes – enough time to get out of Dodge.

2. Keep Calm and Stay Still

If you’re approached by a vicious dog, keep calm and stay as still as possible. Avoid making eye contact with the dog, as he will interpret your gaze as a challenge.

Remain motionless until the dog leaves, and then back away slowly.

3. Spay or Neuter Your Dog

If you’ve just welcomed a new puppy into the family, be sure to spay or neuter as soon as possible.

Having a dog spayed or neutered often reduces aggressive tendencies.

4. Know What to Do if You’re on the Ground

If an aggressive dog approaches you while you’re on the ground, curl up into the fetal position and cover your head with your arms. Make sure that your fingers are curled into a fist.

Taking this position will help you protect fingers and face from a potential bite or attack.

5. If You are Bit, Don’t Pull Away

What if you do all that you can to fend off an aggressive dog, but it bites anyway? What if you’re blindsided by the attack and had no time to prevent the situation from escalating?

If you are bitten by a dog, do not pull away. Pulling away will only make the dog even more aggressive and will make the injury even worse. As tempting as it might be, don’t hit the dog. Hitting the dog will only escalate his aggression.

If you can, put something between you and the dog: a sweater, purse, jacket – anything that isn’t you. If you’re wearing a sweater, pull your arm out of the sleeve and try to entice the dog to bite the empty sleeve instead.

When you finally get to safety, call 911 and consider getting in touch with a lawyer. In states like California, a dog doesn’t have to have a history of being aggressive in order to pursue compensation for medical care.