Avoiding dog bites:
Many of us share our lives and households with dogs and we see and meet dogs often when out in public. Dogs are very social animals and generally the relationship between people and dogs is a friendly one.
Dogs have a ritualized system to communicate how they are feeling and many people are familiar with the relaxed behavior of a happy, friendly dog. Like humans though, dogs can also feel stressed, anxious and afraid. Unless we are familiar with the signs of these emotional states in a dog and change our behavior around the dog if we see the signs, the dog may bite. Children are the most likely to be bitten.
Fortunately studies have shown that children, when taught about dog body language, can learn to recognize the different emotional states of a dog and to read and interpret dog behavior. Children are then able to change their actions around a dog when they recognize the dog is uncomfortable.
The “Be a Tree ®” program is a dog bite prevention program which teaches children through fun and interactive activities how to behave around the family dog and in the presence of unfamiliar dogs.
Children will learn that dogs generally don’t like hugs and kisses (in fact bites to the face occur most often when a child is making face to face contact with the dog or hugging the family dog). Children are taught to “be a tree” if an unfamiliar dog approaches and to avoid disturbing a dog that is sleeping or protecting something. Parents and dog owners learn to reduce the risk of a bite by always supervising dogs and children and by training the dog using rewards (dogs who are trained with punishment are likely to show aggression to a weaker family member like a child or elderly person). Starting in puppyhood, dogs should be given lots of good experiences and owners should intervene if children are making the dog uncomfortable.
For more information on this program contact us.