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The Center for Canine Behavior Studies Announces the Launch of Be BiteSmart, a Free Educational Initiative to Tackle Dog Bite Risks to Children , Seeking Corporate Sponsorship for Ground-Breaking Children’s Educational Videos on Interaction with the Family Dog

Led by a world recognized leader in canine behavior, veterinarian, and professor emeritus from Tufts University, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, and the non-profit Center for Canine Behavior Studies, Inc. (CCBS) is embarking on educational programming designed to protect young children from the horrors of dog bites by teaching them to better understand the family dog. Dr. Dodman and his team’s Be BiteSmart program recognizes the critical need to educate parents, caregivers and children on canine behavior and reactions with an aim to dramatically reduce the number of dog bites inflicted by familiar dogs. Be BiteSmart's efforts will tackle the shocking statistics on traumatic injury to children, which often leads to dogs ending up in shelters and ultimately euthanized.  

Using CCBS’s twelve years of award-winning research on canine aggression, and his over 50 years of knowledge, Dodman has recruited child psychologists, education experts, and fellow canine behavior experts to develop age-appropriate educational materials in a variety of multimedia formats that will be distributed at no cost through video links, QR codes, and links to informational files.  Under the name of Be BiteSmart, this group has already partnered with well-respected production companies including FableVision and TEAMS to produce state-of-the-art videos and gamified app, armed with cutting-edge Augmented Reality technology to depict canine reactions, resulting in the creation of engaging characters placed in a variety of scenarios designed to resonate with children of all ages.

This initiative comes on the heels of over two decades worth of warning from nearly all pediatric dog bite studies which have called for more and better adult and childhood education to reduce the risk of the family dog bite.  Be BiteSmart, through creative multimedia techniques, illustrates how provocation of even the most well-behaved dogs can result in severe, traumatic and life-threatening bites. Statistics support this call for education:

  • An estimated 5 million people in the US suffer from dog bites annually.

  • Nearly 1 in 5 people who are bitten by a dog require medical attention. 

  • On average, there are more than 1,000 ER visits daily due to non-fatal bite related injuries.

  • Annually, over 31,000 children aged 5 -9 years visit the ER as a result of dog bites; this does not include infants and toddlers under 5.

  • Sixteen people in the United States die annually from dog bites.

  • Newborns to 2-year-olds account for the majority of dog attack fatalities.

  • Children under age 10 make up 33% of all fatal dog bite victims and are bitten in the home by a dog that they know.

  • Small children are at risk of exsanguination death - loss of blood.

  • In 2020, family dogs inflicted 59% of all deadly dog attacks.

Alex and Charlie.jpg

As children's education-entertainment companies, such as Sesame Street, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and others have proven, using mnemonics through short songs that an adult can sing along with a child, helps information to be absorbed and retained at an early age. This has NOT yet been utilized to educate young children how to have safe interactions with a family dog. Be BiteSmart’s initial roll out will use exactly this format.  Using Dr. Dodman and the team’s expertise on canine behavior to guide the imagery, this preliminary animation/meme segment will include a minimum of twelve lessons planned that young children and parents should learn together in order to reduce the risk of a tragic and potentially life altering dog bite. FableVision has partnered with Be BiteSmart for this series and created Alex (the child) and Charlie (the dog) who will lead the education and singing in the initial 12 episodes.

Concurrently, Be BiteSmart is developing a groundbreaking, age-appropriate application designed by Nahid Shirzadkhan at TEAMS Design in Chicago, aimed at educating children about responsible interactions and understanding dog body language within a secure and interactive environment. Under the expert guidance of renowned canine behavior and training specialist, Vivian Zottola, the essential dog interactions, and critical scenarios that children may encounter in real-life situations are identified and presented in comprehensive content through engaging games, lessons, and quizzes. Critical to its success is the fact that Be BiteSmart will be completely free and accessible to anyone with access to the internet at home, on a cell phone, or in a library.  Additionally, a Spanish language version of the programs will be available.

Corporate Sponsorship Opportunity

The Be BiteSmart initiative is seeking initial corporate sponsors for the Toddler-Preschooler educational series. This is a ground floor opportunity to connect an appropriate brand to an initiative that is sure to prevent hundreds to thousands of children from enduring the horrendous experience of a dog bite, as well as families dealing with tearing a dog out of a home for its natural response to an unwittingly provocative behavior on the part of a child – leaving other siblings impacted by the loss of the dog as well.

To learn more, please email or call:

Dr. Nicholas Dodman: 508-633-9569

Robin Grimm, Ph.D., Project Manager: 401-996-0173

Filed by CCBS in Connecticut, the DBA Be BiteSmart (BBS) is a novel educational initiative built on the culmination of Dr. Dodman’s nearly half century of work as one of the world’s leading veterinary behaviorists. Click here to watch the intro video to Be BiteSmart (2 minutes) 

About the Center for Canine Behavior Studies

The Center for Canine Behavior Studies, Inc. (CCBS) is a nonprofit public 501(c)(3) organization. CCBS is dedicated to the study and research of human-canine behavior in order to find solutions to behavior problems that help keep dogs in their forever homes. CCBS has 11,000+ registered dog owners who participate in sophisticated online research studies that look at the human-canine bond, relationship, interaction, and particularly canine aggression. CCBS studies have won awards and been published in prestigious scientific journals, such as Animals and the Journal of Veterinary Behavior. These papers cover the human-canine bond, canine socialization and training, human-canine behavior interactions, canine behavior modification, and determining which trainers or behavior consultants are best qualified for various canine behaviors. Most importantly, CCBS has and will continue to research canine aggression, particularly when it involves a family dog. From the beginning, CCBS’ prime mission has been to keep dogs united with their family for life, and that requires owners to better understand their dog. 

Download a copy of the press release

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