Canine training is big business, and everyone wants the perfectly trained pet, right? So, when Fido misbehaves, is it a question of a bad breed who doesn’t respond to proper training, or is it an owner who doesn’t know how to train a dog properly? What about when a good family dog turns vicious? Was it just a sudden, unexplained occurrence, or was there something that could have been done?
Often times, when a pet attacks, it can result in anything from a mere bruise to a severe dog mauling. Generally, one thing stands out: The dog wasn’t properly supervised. All children; particularly younger kids, should always be supervised around any animal, even the family dog. Sometimes rough play is misinterpreted and results in defensive actions by the animal: growling, snapping, or even biting. What a child may consider to be fun and silly a dog may construe as aggressive behavior and reacts accordingly with defensive moves: biting, attacking, growling.
To insure that your dog is well behaved around people, in particular children, start with teaching proper manners from puppyhood. Also, teach your child good canine manners, as well. To always make sure that a child remains safe around the family dog be sure to teach about boundaries, to both the dog and the child. this would include things such as not approaching a dog from the rear or the side. Not hovering over a dog can be extremely important. Encourage the children to play calmly and quietly with the dog at first, not making any quick or sudden moves which may frighten a dog and cause a defensive reaction. Another important thing to teach anyone who is around strange dogs is to avoid direct eye contact. Many dogs do not like being picked up, so include this in your “how to train a child to be around a dog” curriculum. Dogs, like humans, need to be alone sometimes, and should have their own personal space which should be respected.
Better training of humans makes for a better experience with dogs, but the reverse is also true. Often times, dogs may exhibit slightly aggressive behavior which is overlooked. Aggression doesn’t always begin with a full on dog bite attack. It can be more subtle, but is just as dangerous. If a dog bares his teeth at you when you are making a simple demand, or stands over his food bowl to guard against stealing, this is considered to be aggressive behavior. If you have trouble walking him because you can’t properly control him when greeting other dogs, or passing them on the street, you need to take immediate action. These are just examples of situations which may eventually manifest into aggressive tendencies which can end up in a dog bite incident some day.
Proper training and handling techniques of both humans and dogs will lead to a greater enjoyment of the time they spend together, and will definitely lessen the chances of a dog attack upon an unsuspecting person.