Practicing Safe Behavior Around Dogs
Not only do we need to train our dogs to behave properly, we need to train ourselves safe dog practices. Just like with a dog, after a little practice, these things will be second nature. Don't forget to train the kids too.
NEVER leave a small child unsupervised with a pet or let your dog sleep in the baby‘s room. It is natural for a child to want to hug the dog, but dogs don't necessarily want to be hugged. The bite that may occur will most likely be in the face since this is the closest part to the dog. 77% of injuries to children are facial. That's approximately 44,000 per year. Remind your child not to pull on the dog's ears, tail, or fur and not to sit on the dog's back. Dogs don't like to be confused with horses.
Teach your child not to tease dogs behind fences. He may not be behind the fence when the child is passing through tomorrow.
Behave calmly around the dog. Excitement, loud voices, and anger may trigger a bite.
Avoid running past a strange dog. Keep in mind that you cannot out-run or out-bike a dog, so don't try.
Encourage children not to approach any dog that does not belong to them. Always ask permission from the dog's owner before petting. It's also a good idea to ask the owner to retrieve a lost item that may be on the dog's property.
Approach the dog calmly. Rapid movements may frighten or excite him.
Look at the dog's paws when you greet him. Some dogs may interpret a direct stare into his eyes as a challenge or threat. By looking at his front paws, you can still watch his expressions without eye contact.
Be sure the dog is aware you are approaching. Avoid walking up from behind as this may startle the dog. Senior dogs can have failing eyesight or hearing and may not realize you're close until you're too close, too fast.
Stand with your shoulder facing the dog. Sideways is less threatening to a dog and avoids the possibility of leaning over the dog.
Extend your hand held in a fist for the dog to sniff before touching. If the dog bites, damage would be less than if the fingers are extended and puppies are less likely to nip at a fist than fingers. Make sure not to move too fast or pull your hand away while he's sniffing. This may be considered a threat.
Crouch sideways to greet small dogs or dogs that are lying down. This is less intimidating and avoids bending over the dog.
Pet the dog on the side of the neck closest to you or on the chest. Some dogs find it threatening for the hand to come over its head.
Move your hand away slowly when finished petting a dog. Remember, sudden movements are intimidating.
Drop treats and toys in front of the dog. If you must let the dog retrieve an item from your hand, offer it with your hand flat.
Don't put your face right up to a dog's face. This may annoy the dog or you may receive a playful nip.
Avoid placing your hand into a car, crate, or pen where a dog is confined. He might bite out of fear or protecting his property.
Respect a dog while he's eating, drinking, chewing, or lying beside any object. Respect his nap time also. You could startle him or he may be dreaming of being a great hunter and you could end up as his prey.
Be cautious of a Mommy dog and with her puppies. The mommy dog can be very protective of her babies and may not understand that you only want to pet them.
NEVER try to physically break up a dog fight or interact with dogs that are play fighting. Spray them with a water hose if available. This will have them running in opposite directions and keep you safe.
Visit my next blog to learn how to tell a dog is losing his patience and what to do if approached by an angry dog.