There is no way to guarantee that your dog will never bite someone. But you can significantly reduce the risk. Here are a few tips and techniques on curbing biting behaviors recommended by the Humane Society of the United States.
This important and routine procedure will reduce your dog's desire to roam and fight with other dogs, making safe confinement an easier task. Spayed or neutered dogs are much less likely to bite. Dogs who aren't spayed or neutered are more likely to display dominance as well as protective and territorial aggressive behaviors.
Introduce your dog to many different types of people and situations so that he or she is not nervous or frightened under normal social circumstances. But do so with some controls in place. Keep your dog on a leash with a short lead when going into new locations or situations.
Accompanying your dog to a training class is an excellent way to socialize him and to learn proper training techniques. Training your dog is a family matter. Every member of your household should learn the training techniques and participate in your dog's education. Never send your dog away to be trained; only you can teach your dog how to behave in your home. Note that training classes are a great investment even for experienced dog caregivers.
Don't teach your dog to chase after or attack others, even in fun. Your dog can't always understand the difference between play and real-life situations. Set appropriate limits for your dog's behavior. Don't wait for an accident. The first time he exhibits dangerous behavior toward any person, seek professional help from your veterinarian, an animal behaviorist, or a qualified dog trainer. Your community animal care and control agency or humane society may also offer helpful services. Dangerous behavior toward other animals may eventually lead to dangerous behavior toward people, and is also a reason to seek professional help.
License your dog as required by law, and provide regular veterinary care, including rabies vaccinations. For everyone's safety, don't allow your dog to roam alone. Make your dog a member of your family: Dogs who spend a great deal of time alone in the backyard or tied on a chain often become dangerous. Dogs who are well-socialized and supervised are much less likely to bite.
If you don't know how your dog will react to a new situation, be cautious. If your dog may panic in crowds, leave him at home. If your dog overreacts to visitors or delivery or service personnel, keep him in another room. Work with professionals to help your dog become accustomed to these and other situations. Until you are confident of his behavior, however, avoid stressful settings.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Humane Society of the United States' website.