This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, an important time to take a few minutes and consider if there are any steps you can take in your daily life to help make sure you and your dog are not among the 4.5 million dog bites in the US annually.
We don’t have meter readers at our home (that’s a nice thing about country living…we read our own electrical meter and mail in the reading) but we do have a lot of deliveries. We post “Beware of Dog” signs just to let delivery people and anyone else know that we have dogs on our property, just so there are no surprises.
Of course, socialization and training are the best steps to preventing dog bites. What else can you do to help make sure that utility workers, repairmen, and others come and go from your property safely? We’ve got some tips here from Southern California Gas Co.; they know firsthand about the danger of dog bites since, although children are the most common victims of dog bites, utility workers are second. Here are their suggestions:
- Securely confine or relocate your dog during scheduled customer service visits and when it’s time for utility employees to read your meter.
- Contact your local utilities or check your monthly bills for the dates when utility workers are scheduled to conduct meter readings. On those days, leave gates unlocked and keep your dogs or other pets securely confined in another section of the property.
- If the employee is outside, keep your dog securely confined inside. If the employee is inside, keep your dog securely confined outside. Dogs may become more protective in the presence of their owners. Make sure your dog is securely confined where it cannot come into contact with the utility employee.
- Post a Beware of Dog sign on your fence or house to avoid any surprises.
- Leave a note on your meter explaining that you have a dog and how and where it is confined.
- Be sure all vaccinations and inoculations for rabies and parasites are up to date.
- Train your dog to obey simple commands like “sit,” “stay,” “no” and “come.” Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs in any situation.
- Collar your dog, so you have the means to quickly restrain your dog in any emergency.
- If you get a new dog, contact your local utilities to let them know.