Being Dog Smart Starts at Home

Doggone Safe is a group that has committed themselves to educate the public and reduce the numbers of dog bites that occur.  Their site has lots of great information that we will be sharing with you. (all images included in this post are from Doggone Safe)

It is important for parents to teach their children how to be dog smart and as parents and dog owners it is important to be familiar with reading dog body language, knowing when it is safe for interaction and when it is not.  It is always in the best interest of everyone to be fair to the dog.  Never put your dog in a situation you know could be hazardous to all involved.

Jennifer, our Marketing Director is an instructor with KAOS Dogsports and has encountered many dog owners who say they feel like a bad owner and the owner of a bad dog if they tell people “No, you can’t pet my dog”.

Her advice to them; “It is your dog and if you know the situation makes them uncomfortable it is your responsibility to not put them in that position.  Better to have a stranger mad at you or thinking you have a bad dog, then having a person needing to go to the hospital and a dog whose life could be in peril”.

Her advice to those wanting to pet someone’s dog; “Always ask first and never be offended or think the worst if the owner says no.  There may be more going on in the situation that the dog is uncertain about (loud noises from traffic, too many people around, other dogs they are unsure of…) than you are aware of.”

Below are images of dogs that are unsafe to approach.  Do you know why?  See below in this blog post for the answers.

Doggone Safe

The information below is taken from the Doggone Safe site.

Starting dog safety at home…

Family Gathering

Family gatherings at a relative’s house are the source of fond memories for many. The relative’s dog may not enjoy these events as
much as the rest of the family. Noise, confusion and changes in routine are stressful for dogs.  Even a normally calm and docile pet may
become agitated enough to bite under the extreme circumstances of a boisterous family celebration. Supervision may be lax if each
adult thinks that another is watching the children. Children are the most likely victims of dog bites in this situation.

  • Put the dog in his crate with a bone or favorite chew toy, at least during the most hectic times – guests arriving and leaving as well as dinner preparation and serving.
  • Assign one adult to be in charge of the dog, to watch for signs of stress and protect from unwanted attention from children.
  • Assign one adult to supervise each baby or toddler with no other tasks expected.
  • If you have multiple dogs, consider kenneling them, crating them or keeping them in another room during large gatherings.
  • Supervise at all times.

Babysitter Awareness

Now that your baby is settled into a routine, you might want an adult night out. Once you have chosen a qualified babysitter, you will
want to make sure that she knows the dog rules. Ideally the dog can just stay in the crate while the babysitter is there, but if this is not
possible then house rules concerning the dog should be established and posted on the fridge.

  • The children are never left alone with the dog even for a second.
  • In order to gain compliance from the dog the babysitter should use treats rather than force.
  • The dog should not be bothered when eating, sleeping, chewing on something or in her special place.
  • Children may not interact with the dog when the parents are not home.
  • The babysitter should prepare by visiting the Doggone Safe website to learn how to read dog body language.

Our Family is Growing!

                Before the Baby Arrives

A playful pounce, an errant paw, a gentle tug… dog actions that seem cute now can be of concern with a baby in the picture. Before
the baby arrives is the best time to acquaint the dog with appropriate behavior and routines so the dog won’t be punished,
isolated and confused later.

  • Create a cozy den – get a crate and teach the dog to love it.
  • Brush up on obedience skills – use lots of food rewards so that the dog enjoys the sessions.
  • Vary feeding and walking schedules and accustom the dog to increased periods of alone time.
  • Carry a doll and practice commands while your hands are full. Reward for sit, down and calmness around the doll.
  • Accustom the dog to walking beside the stroller and behaving calmly around other baby equipment, such as swings and seats.
  • Introduce your dog to baby sounds, scents and equipment before baby arrives

                The Homecoming

The big day is finally here! The dog will sense something is afoot and will probably be anxious.

  • Have Dad bring home a blanket with the baby’s scent and put it on the doll; allow the dog to investigate and reward calm behaviour.
  • Have Dad or a friend tire the dog out with a strenuous exercise session earlier in the homecoming day.
  • Mom should come in first and greet the dog while Dad stays outside with the baby.
  • When the dog is calm bring in baby and drop treats on the floor around Dad’s feet for the dog to take.
  • If the dog is too excited – do not punish – move away and work on obedience with a food reward or put him in the crate with a fabulous stuffed bone or stuffed kong.
  • Ensure all experiences the dog has around the baby are positive – punishment could result in aggression toward the baby.
  • The dog may have to observe the baby from the crate for a few days – be patient.
  • Supervise at all times

                Toddler On-the-Go

A crawling or walking baby may become of interest to a previously disinterested dog.  The baby will also discover the dog, and may
hurt or frighten the dog by mistake. Neither  dog nor toddler can be expected to know how to behave around the other.

  • Do not allow a baby or toddler to hug, kiss, follow or chase the dog, or pull fur, ears or tail, or enter the dog’s crate or sleeping area.
  • Reward the dog with food treats for calm behaviour around the toddler.
  • Give the dog a safe place to retreat from the baby.
  • If a toddler or crawling baby is interacting with the dog, an adult must also have their hands on the dog.
  • Adults should use food rewards to desensitize the dog to the things a toddler may do.
  • Recognize warning signs from the dog, such as moving away, half moon eye, licking chops when not eating, yawning when not tired, sudden scratching.
  • Put the dog in his safe spot before he gets to the point of growling or snapping.
  • Supervise at all times.

                School Age Children
Older children can become involved with the care and training of the dog. A child, who is old enough to follow instructions reliably, can help with the dog under supervision.

  • Children can give the dog food and water, once the parents have taught the dog to sit and wait.
  • Children can let the dog out of the crate.
  • Create separate dog and kid zones in  the home so that each can be safe from the other.
  • Children should learn to stand still (Be a Tree) if the family dog is too frisky or any dog scares them.
  • Children should avoid strange dogs and strangers with dogs.
  • Parents should learn to read dog body language and teach the children how to tell if a dog does not want to be bothered.
  • Avoid games that pit the strength and speed of the dog against the child.
  • Even a child as young as three, can learn to help with clicker training.
  • Supervise at all times.

The answers as to why the above dogs were unsafe to approach:


How many did you know?

Here are more images on dog safety and body language:

Unhappy dog1

Unhappy dog2

Continue watching for more posts this week on dog bite prevention.

A little knowledge can go a long way.


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