Dog trainer explains how you can prevent attacks and why they happen

Rita Thomas of Canine Command Center works with a dog

Myrtle Beach, SC - An estimated 4.7 million dog bites happen in the US each year, according to the American Humane Association.

Officials said the reasons for these attacks can vary from things like rabies to a dog that hasn't been socialized.

One attack happened last weekend in Conway. A 65-year-old woman was hospitalized after her rottweiler bit her.

A police officer responded to the woman's home in the 1800 block of Elm Street and found her on her back and bleeding from several wounds. According to the police report, the dog was lying nearby. The officer stated in the report the rottweiler appeared to weigh between 125 AND 200 pounds.

The officer reported the woman said, "You need to shoot her. She is my dog." The officer shot and killed the dog. The woman was taken to the hospital where she underwent surgery for her injuries.

According to the police report, she'd been treated for dog bites from that same dog in the past.

Rita Thomas of Canine Command Center has been training dogs for nearly forty years. She explained there are ways you can tell if your dog is being aggressive towards you.

"You could tell by the way they would stand and look at you, how they would put their head and eye you and stare you down if you would make an approach towards them. They would let you know don't come any closer," she explained.

Thomas says there are many reasons for a dog attack like the one that took place last Sunday in Conway.

"Once they show any sort of aggression towards the owner, well then the owner shows fear and when they show fear that encourages the dogs even more to be more aggressive towards their owners," said Thomas.

She explained owners should start training their dogs when the dog is between three and four months old, and sometimes a dog may have to be retrained when it gets older.

But when it comes to an attack, Thomas said breed doesn't really play a role as long as the dog is properly trained.

"It's the socialization. I had a rottweiler for twelve and a half years. It grew up with my children, my grandchildren, my granddaughter could sit on it and ride it. It never bit anybody," she said.