Skip to main content
Boy with German Shepherd on lawn

Preventing dog bites

Q: Our previous dog was a biter, so we could never trust him around children or family members he didn’t know well. After he died, we adopted a new dog, Sam, from the shelter. How can we prevent him from becoming a biter?

A: Here are some tips for preventing dog bites, in time for National Dog Bite Prevention Week (April 9-15, 2017). 

Start today to accustom Sam to new people, dogs, sounds and situations. Teach him that people are safe and even fun – for example, by occasionally slipping a doggie treat to a friend about to greet Sam.

Enroll him in a group dog training class so he’ll learn to walk quietly beside you and respond to basic commands, even when other dogs and people distract him. Training will strengthen his bond to you and help him become a good canine citizen who is welcome in friends’ homes and public areas.

Gently handle Sam’s feet, ears and mouth daily so he accepts having his nails trimmed, ears cleaned and teeth brushed.

Since most dog bite victims are children who are bitten on the face or neck, always supervise children, including your own, around Sam. Don’t let them disturb him when he’s eating or sleeping.

Protect Sam from situations where he feels threatened. Don’t let children run up to him, but remind them to stay calm and ask permission before petting any dog.

Teach your children and their friends not to play aggressive games, like tug-of-war or wrestling, with dogs. They shouldn’t scream or run by any dog, as these behaviors can trigger the dog to chase and nip them.

Take Sam to his veterinarian regularly and whenever you are concerned that he may be sick or uncomfortable, as illness and pain can make a dog irritable. If the shelter didn’t neuter Sam, have your vet do it, as neutered dogs are less likely to bite than sexually intact dogs. Learn more about spay and neuter tips today!

With your help, Sam will become a happy, well-adjusted family member loved by all who meet him.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by Reviews.com since 2017.

Man sitting on bench with his dog

We believe that seeking out the best...

Small dog being examined by veterinarian

At Figo, we hear this question often...

What do the Cockapoo, the Puggle, the...

Dog receiving treat from woman

August 8th is #NationalCBD day! At Figo...

Advertisement for pet insurance.

More From Figo Blog
Small dog sits in front of steps of house

Moving from a 2 bedroom condo in the city to...

Cat scratching on a cat post

You may have heard the phrase, “Cats can’t...

Puppy crate training in progress

There are many tools I utilize when training...

Kristin Levine with dog

We recently had the opportunity to interview...

Dog and pet parent listening to music in front of speaker

Whether you’re rocking out to your favorite...

Woman drinking coffee and holding small cat near

On any given day, between 50 and 70 million...

Labrador Retriever retrieving a blue frisbee from the yard

One of the best things about owning a dog is...