Family 411 - Avoiding dog injuries

Family 411 - Avoiding dog injuries

Dogs can be our closest companions, but sometimes, man's best friend will bite.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than four-million dog bites in the United States each year.

“Family 411” reporter Lu Ann Stoia shows us how to plan on not being a victim.

Scottie MacConachie is a canine trainer who not only knows how to teach dogs to do tricks, he also teaches humans the basics on how to stay safe with dogs.

“When I was little, I actually got bit by a dog,” said 11-year-old Audrey Stoneberg.

Stoneberg says people should be still when approached by an unfamiliar dog.

“Don't look them in the eye, they will be intimidated and want to pounce on you or bite you,” said Stoneberg.

Trainers say you should try to avoid leaning directly over the dog or getting right into a dog's face.

If you are giving the pooch a treat, you should watch your fingers.

Students get the message - don't always be in a hurry to pet a dog.

“If a dog does bite you, you need to freeze,” said MacConachie, a trainer with K9 Ponderosa. “You want to be a dead animal at that point.”

Jaden Sullinger, 10, says you should never run from a dog you don't know, because they’re attracted to the movement.

“It would look at you as kind of a rabbit, because they are predators,” said Sullinger.

MacConachie says it's a good idea to scout any park and watch for signs of unfriendly dogs before you go.

Also, a wagging tail doesn’t always mean a dog is happy, either.

“If the dog is hard, staring from a long distance, tail up in the air standing tall, that is a dog I am probably going to avoid,” said MacConachie.

Students learn to use a backpack or other clothing to protect themselves and keep a dog from biting them.

“Why don't you take your hat off and go like this and block, there you go,” said Lily Kate Aulino, a 9-year-old.

According to the CDC, the rate of dog-bite related injuries is highest for kids ages five to nine.

More than half those injuries happen at home, with dogs that are familiar to us.

“It does bother me that so many children are getting attacked by dogs,” said MacConachie. “It is so unnecessary.”

Anyone bitten by a dog should seek medical attention if the wound becomes red, painful, warm or swollen.

You should also seek medical attention if it has been more than five years since your last tetanus shot and the bite is deep.

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