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Behavior and Dog Bite Safety: Consulting Services

Reisner Veterinary Behavior & Consulting Services (RBV&CS) provides expert consultation to education, government, legal and commercial organizations about dog behavior, dog bites and prevention.

Dog bites are recognized as a significant injury risk, particularly for children, whose injuries are more likely to require medical attention. Small children are most often bitten on the face and head, even when parents are nearby. Internationally, dog bites continue to be a major public health threat to people of all ages, causing trauma as well exposure to rabies virus.

While there are many published studies on the statistics and epidemiology of dog bites, we still lack the information needed to effectively prevent bites from a contextual and behavioral point of view. For example, dog owners themselves are generally unaware of the social body language of dogs. A dog rolling onto its back in front of a stranger is probably saying, "I'm a bit nervous about you" - quite the opposite of asking for a belly rub. It is unlikely that dog owners or parents are aware of this simple communication by dogs. Similarly, unrestrained dogs - including those that are feral or stray - don't tend to bite randomly but rather are driven by fear, resource-guarding or hunger. Those in groups are more likely to enter into an aggressive interaction. The measure of dog bite risk is still elusive, but the ongoing study of dog behavior can lead to successful prevention of injury.

An understanding of canine behavior and its relationship to public health is needed in order to design useful preventive tools for children and their caregivers. Equally important, an understanding of dog-keeping and feral dog management in the U.S. and in developing countries is needed for prevention of bites by unfamiliar dogs.

RBV&CS offers expertise in canine behavior and dog bite risks, with a unique combination of veterinary medicine, applied animal behavior, and experience in scientific evaluation of canine aggression. Dr. Ilana Reisner's qualifications include:

  • Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists - one of only 55 veterinarians board-certified by the ACVB.
  • Original research in behavioral aspects of canine aggression to children
  • Lectures extensively on the topic of dog behavior, bite safety and public health
  • Pennsylvania Dog Law Advisory Board member
  • Legal expert consultation experience
  • Course organizer and lecturer in clinical veterinary behavior and dog bite safety, former faculty at University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Balanced, evidence-based approach to public health aspects of canine aggression
  • Collaborative research with academic pediatric and injury-related institutions

View some of our offered services for professionals.