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Dog bite prevention through early training

In recent years, several cities and states throughout the country have enacted breed-specific legislation, banning people from owning specific breeds - often pit bulls - in the municipality. These laws were created with the mindset that banning those so-called bully breeds would ultimately prevent dog bites and similar dog-inflicted injuries. However, the laws have been met with much resistance from dog owners and bully breed advocates who say that a dog is not inherently and automatically dangerous simply as the result of its breed.

In a recent article about dog bite prevention, an animal trainer states her opinion that the vast majority of dog attacks are provoked in some way. However, she says, properly training and socializing dogs when they are very young will help them learn how to overcome this provocation. This will, in turn, help keep you and all of your family members (both human and animal) safe from dog bite injuries.

According to the trainer, all dogs have varying levels of acquired bite inhibition, which is a dog's ability to use his mouth as a warning sign. This is like threatening someone with a sword without actually cutting or stabbing them with the weapon.

In order for dogs to acquire an effective level of bite inhibition, the trainer says, they need to be trained when they are young puppies. Ideally, this training should occur before a puppy is five months old, and it entails playing with other puppies and adult dogs of different breeds and sizes. This will help dogs to be less fearful and, ultimately, less aggressive.

Source: Gloucester Daily Times, "Early training can prevent dog bites later," Anne Springer, Oct. 5, 2012

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