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Dog bite prevention


Dog bites can be prevented. Dogs that are properly trained, socialized around people and other dogs, and kept under control are not likely to bite people. Responsible dog owners need to take the necessary measures to reduce the risk of dog bites. Follow these “Did You Know?” tips and you too can help prevent dog bites.

Did You Know?

  • Having your pet spayed or neutered can decrease aggression and behavioural issues
  • A trained and socialized dog is a better behaved dog
  • Obedience classes can teach you how to control your dog
  • Bite inhibition is an important lesson for all dogs
  • A well-trained dog can react differently in a busy and unfamiliar environment

Spaying and Neutering: This should be done before six months of age as it can reduce aggressive behavior and help unplanned and unwanted puppies.

Socialization: If a dog has not been properly trained and socialized, he or she could develop territorial or fear-aggression problems.

Obedience Class: Obedience classes should be a requirement for all dog owners. These classes teach owners how to train and control their dogs and the dogs learn to behave properly in a room full of other dogs and people. If a dog has not been properly trained and socialized, he or she could develop territorial or fear-aggression problems.

Bite Inhibition: This is an important lesson that is best learnt during the first year of life. By interacting with other dogs, they learn bite inhibition, as other dogs will tell them if they bite too hard. This is an important lesson that is difficult to teach older dogs.

Busy and Unfamiliar Environments: Dogs need to learn how to behave around people running or cycling, children playing and screaming, other dogs running and barking.

Thinking of Becoming a Dog Owner?

Do your research before adopting or purchasing your dog and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can I provide proper housing and veterinary care for the rest of the life of the dog?
  • Does the breed of dog match my lifestyle?
  • Do I have time to properly train and socialize my dog?
  • Are there many children in my life, am I prepared to teach proper interactions with dogs?
  • What are my municipal bylaws regarding dog control?

For a comprehensive list, download the National Companion Animal Coalition’s Check List For Acquiring A Dog.

Children and Dogs

It is important that parents educate their children about how to behave around dogs. There are many good books and websites available to help you educate your children on proper interactions with dogs. Click here to go to for information on how to approach a dog, how to act around a stray or loose dog and download fun activity sheets!

Remember: Children should never be left unsupervised with ANY dog.

Breed Bans and Dog Bite Prevention breed ban

The incidence of dog bites has not been shown to be reduced by restricting the ownership of certain dog breeds. Dangerous dogs can exist in every breed and breed cross. This behaviour can be attributed to the lack of appropriate training and socialization, inappropriate breed choice for owner’s lifestyle, failure to spay or neuter and mistreatment on behalf of the owner or person interacting with the dog.

The issue of banning breeds that are thought to be more prone to aggressive behaviours has become the subject of debate – and legislation – at the municipal and provincial levels. The National Companion Animal Coalition, of which the CFHS is a member, has developed a fact sheet on this issue entitled, Reducing the Incidence of Dog Bites and Attacks: Do Breed Bans Work?. While this document is unlikely to end the debate on this contentious matter, it at least contributes some valuable information to what promises to be an ongoing discussion.

Other Preventative Measures: Should Dog Owners be Licensed?

Maybe licensing dog owners would be a sensible approach, rather than licensing the dogs. We are required to obtain a license to drive a car and to have a gun because those things can be dangerous to us and to others. A dog can be dangerous too, so would it not be reasonable to require dog owners to obtain a license and meet certain criteria? This would be an effective way of ensuring people have adequate knowledge and reasonable expectations before getting a dog and are prepared to spend time and energy training and socializing the dog and being a responsible dog owner.

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