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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

How about these choppers??

We read a great post by Hawkeye over at Brown Dog about National Dog Bite Prevention week that we think is a must read.  Please stop over and check it out.   

Here's our two cents on Dog Bite Prevention:

You have the right to say "NO."  If you are like me it is hard to say NO to someone who may want to pet your dog.  I know I have done it myself when meeting strangers with dogs and falling instantly in love with their dog and wanting to pet them.  You as an owner have every right not to let someone else pet your dog.  Even friends and family.  If you are uncomfortable with a situation, you are allowed to deny someone from petting your dog.  Forget about hurting feelings, our dogs are our responsibility which includes not letting others touch him or her if you do not warrant it.

I think we as dog lovers sometimes forget that we have that right even when we are around other dog lovers.  Even the best behaved dogs still get stressed and overwhelmed at times and can snap sometimes out of fear or frustration.  Biting is not limited to just aggressive dogs.  All dogs have teeth and use them as a form of communication especially when their message isn't getting across.

Knowing how your dog responds under different circumstance can also help.  Understanding their behaviors and body language are usually clear indicators how your dog may or may not be feeling.  Different breeds react differently under different circumstances, such as guard dogs are more protective and may take time to become open and friendly.  Dominant and aggressive dogs may act differently out in public then they do at home.  Some dogs do not like to be touched, or will only tolerate being petted in certain areas and/or may have spots on their body that are completely off limits.  Some dogs are shy and will snap or bite out of fear.  Understanding your dog will help in prevention.

As much as I dislike the term, your dog is your property.  Just because you own a dog, doesn't give everyone the freedom to touch him or her any way they please.  By protecting your dog, you are protecting others of what could be a serious situation.  Understand and respect your dog's rights just as you would a child or any other human.  They are counting on you.   


Kristine said...

Such a great post, thanks for taking the time to right about a difficult issue.

Being a hard-core people pleaser who despises confrontation, it was really difficult for me to say the word "no" when it came to strangers wanting to pet my dog. Often I would hedge, tell them she was scared of strangers and was likely to bark if they came too close. Some people got the hint but a lot of people did the whole "she won't be scared of me!" routine and then freaked out when she barked and lunged at them. Which is exactly what I told them she should do. :-P

Over time I grew a lot more confident and was able to say no. Now it's not as big of a deal as Shiva is a lot more polite with strangers. She still doesn't love petting but if I hand them a few treats to give her she will normally tolerate their presence.

I really like what you had to say about our dogs being our responsibility. If Shiva had gone too far and actually hurt someone, it wouldn't have been her fault. It would have been mine. It's our job as humans to protect our dogs from others, as well as from themselves.

Anonymous said...


Trixie, Lily, and Sammy-Joe said...

We will have to pass along this tip to our Mama! Trixie loves being petted and is happy to greet any stranger. Lily, on the other hand, gets a little nervous of strangers... but because she is so tiny and cute, people always want to pet her and even hold her! Lily doesn't usually bite, but sometimes she gets a look on her face that Mama is afraid means she's THINKING about biting!

Anonymous said...

We teach our kids not to talk to or interact with strangers...why should it be any different with our furkids? Ours are all taught to sit next to us when confronted and they wait for a signal to greet and meet. We so believe in the right to say "No" and do!

Still cannot leave comments the normal way...White Dog and The White Dog Army

Yas said...

Great post!!

Maxx and mommy

24 Paws of Love said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Khady Lynn said...

Great post. Another thing is when people just walk up and start petting the dog without even asking. I hate that!


Maddie Burke (Faded Paw Prints) said...

Wonderful and important post. It is unfortunate that people just assume a dog will be friendly towards them based on the dog's looks. Sometimes people do not even notice a dog's hair going up or hear the low growling until its too late. I love that you mention understanding how your dog feels and understanding their body language as key in protecting your dog. So true!