Hello everyone! I hope that the weather where you are is warm and conducive to lots of outdoor play for you and your dog. Spring and summer are great seasons aren’t they? You get a chance to get out more, take walks see the sights, get some fresh air, perfect really!
Spring and summer ( and most of the fall) bring out the dog owners and their pets. At this time of year we see dogs everywhere don’t we? But dog owners aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the great weather, we also see a lot more parents out with children. It is those parents that I wish to address today.
Most of you (in my experience) will allow your children to run right up to a strange animal they meet on the street. You see nothing wrong with allowing junior to boisterously approach a leashed animal being walked by it’s owner. Problem with that is, it IS the WRONG way to approach an animal you have never met. You are teaching your child to become a bite statistic by condoning this behavior. You are also teaching them the wrong way to deal with dogs. If you can’t teach your children to properly approach a dog on the street chances are that at some point in time your child will be bitten either by a strangers dog on the street or by your family dog in your own home. You are setting your own trap.
Most people look at a photo like this and they think it’s cute, and I suppose on some level it is, but when I see a photo like this I don’t think “cute”, I think “why are those parents setting their kid up to get bit?”
Just for a second put yourself in the position of the dog. It’s hot outside, you are just trying to find some shade and lay down and enjoy the sun when suddenly a small human plants himself square in the middle of your back and begins to bounce up and down. You look to the bigger humans, the ones who call themselves your “owner” with pleading eyes. “Please” those eyes say “can you take your offspring off my back? I am very hot and tired and I don’t like this game.” You might even let out a little growl of warning, but much to your surprise all your humans do is laugh and encourage the small human’s behavior. You are a good dog so you try to ignore the small human’s behavior, but he then begins to pull on your tail and ears. Suddenly you have had enough! Your humans won’t make the annoying behavior stop. You are a dog so you can’t speak up to say “stop that” so you do the only thing you can, you snap at the small torturer jumping up and down on your back. Suddenly everyone is angry with YOU because you bit someone!
The above scenario is VERY easy to avoid. So why do so many parents fail to avoid it? The answer is very simple. People seem to think that the family dog should put up with any sort of abuse from the children. As a matter of fact most people don’t see their children’s rough behavior with animals as abusive. They make the excuse that junior is just being a child and doesn’t know any better! That is where their excuse falls apart. Of course your child doesn’t know any better, it is YOUR job as a parent to teach him! Your child isn’t going to magically discover that animals should not be handled roughly, you have to teach them, the same way you teach them that they can not hit people or that standing on a balcony rail is a really bad idea. It is not your dog’s job to “tolerate” juniors antics, it is YOUR job to correct junior and teach him the right way to interact with animals. It is within your power to prevent dog bite incidents from happening to your child. It’s called “parenting” try it some time!
Until Next Time Remember
WE ARE THEIR ONLY VOICE!