(WJBK) - National Dog Bite Prevention Week is April 9-15. Last year, 6,755 postal employees were victimized by dogs, an increase of 206 attacks over the previous year. The City of Detroit ranked 6th in the nation with 48 postal employees attacked by dogs in 2016.
Professional trainer Hector Hernandez joined us on The Nine to give dog owners some tips about preventing an attack, and how to avoid being bitten. You can get his tips below.
If you schedule a package pickup with USPS, you can also indicate on your slip if you have a dog at your address. This information is given to leter carriers on their delivery scanners, which also send real-time updates if an unleashed dog is in the area.
PREVENTING AN ATTACK:
- Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dog in any situation.
- When the letter carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door, in another room, or on a leash.
- Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of letter carriers as a threat.
- Please take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet. Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite. Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) statistics reflect that dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are up to three times more likely to be involved in a biting incident than neutered or spayed dogs.
- Dogs that haven't been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.
AVOID BEING BITTEN
- Don't run past a dog. The dog's natural instinct is to chase and catch you. If a dog threatens you, don't scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, and then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
- Don't approach a strange dog, especially one that's tethered or confined.
- While letter carriers are discouraged from petting animals, people who choose to pet dogs should always let a dog see and sniff them before petting the animal.
- If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.