By Jeff Cooke
Published: April.6, 2012
If parents take all precautions and kids are taught how to behave around dogs, then bites will not occur and those dogs and certain breeds are not blamed for human mistakes.
TIPS FOR PARENTS:
• Never leave a child or baby alone with a dog.
• When visiting friends or relatives who have a dog, don’t allow your child to play in the yard unsupervised. If that’s not possible, ask the owners to put the dog away.
• Do not allow your child to feed a dog unsupervised and never allow your dog to snatch food from your child.
• Do not allow your child to pull on the dog’s collar to lead it outside the house.
• Do not allow children to walk a dog without adult supervision.
• Never let children discipline a dog.
• Your child should always precede your dog through a door or gate.
• Never buy a dog as a toy substitute. Dogs are living, breathing creatures with feelings. Children should be taught this from an early age and shown how to treat dogs with respect.
RULES FOR CHILDREN
• Never approach or pat a strange dog, even if its owner is present.
• Stay away from a dog while it’s eating and sleeping.
• Stop your bike if chased while riding.
• Never retrieve a ball from someone else’s yard.
• If visiting a friend who has a dog, ask them to put the dog away if you want to play.
• Stay away from a dog that has puppies.
• Stay away from a dog that is tied up.
• Never pull a dog’s tail or ears.
• Never tease a dog.
• Stand totally still if a dog runs at you barking. Cover your face with your hands.
• If knocked to the ground by a dog, roll into a ball, cover your face with your arms and stay as still as you possibly can. Don’t try to get up.
If you are skilled at interpreting and relating to your dog, you will see the signals that could warn you of potential problems. The behaviours and actions that slowly develop and creep into a dog/human pack may seem completely benign and harmless to us humans, but they convey volumes of information to a dog about how to behave within the family.
If your dog thinks his job is to announce the arrival of visitors, answer the door, and assess people, he gets a particular message about his role in the household. If he can demand and get attention, play, to go in and out, or food, he gets another message about his place in the family.
If he feels the need to lead on walks, defend the territory, parole the perimeters, guard the door, check for threats, or worry about your whereabouts, he is getting even more information about his level of responsibility for the safety of everybody and everything.
He has received the message loud and clear that he has been delegated to make decisions for the pack…decisions that may not be the ones that humans or society would make, if they were the ones responsible.
If you are more attuned to your dog and the levels of stress you can cause him, you can choose to learn more about him and adjust your behaviours. You then have a much better chance to avoid conflicts in the future.
If you’d like to learn more about understanding your dog, please contact us at Bark Busters 1-866-418-4584.
(Jeff Cooke is director of Bark Busters Canada.)