Sunday, May 20, 2012
Today, May 20th, is the start of National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Actually, this should be every day of every week. Most people don't read dog body language well, if at all. Never look a dog, especially one you don't know, in the eye, never loom over a dog. Don't rush up to any dog and hug him. These are simple, basic rules that so many people ignore. Hold your closed hand with your knuckles up and allow the dog to sniff after you've asked the owner's permission. Look away from the dog, let him make the approach after sniffing your knuckles, then you can gently begin to stroke him under the chin. Never bring your hand down on the dog's head to pat him. Children are noisy, move fast and dogs don't understand what they could have done to initiate that sort of behavior from a little human. Supervise all children around dogs. Babies crying can sound like a wounded animal to a dog, children can scare a dog, or poke it and hurt it and the dog has no choice but to clamp down in pain. Whose fault is this? Yours and the child's if you weren't watching carefully enough. It's foolish to leave a dog and child alone together. It's also irresponsible. Don't even think about doing it. Your dog isn't a babysitter and your dog isn't Lassie. Even Lassie has a trainer on the set giving signals behind the camera. If a loose dog runs up to you, freeze. Stand where you are, let the dog sniff and move on. A little common sense will go a long way in preventing dog bites.