Dog Bite Prevention – Part II

Read Part I of this blog here.

Parents and guardians need to be responsible for their dog at all times, without exception, and especially around children.  A child should NEVER be left unsupervised with any dog at any time and dog and child should only be together when a responsible adult can actively supervise.  This keeps both children and dogs safe.  Education for parents and children is essential.  It amazes me that adults seem to be more ignorant than children about how children should greet a dog.

The following true story shows exactly what I mean:

A handler was holding the leash of what seemed to be a very friendly rescue dog that had just come into the shelter.  As I was standing in the room with the dog and the handler, a family came in with their six year old daughter.  The girl approached the dog and, without asking the handler, took the dog’s face in her hands and kissed it on the nose.  The handler asked the girl’s parents to take her away from the dog as its history was uncertain and the dog’s reactions couldn’t be predicted.  The parents replied that the handler was not to worry because the child had a dog of her own and was therefore great with dogs.  Now if the parents didn’t realize that they had just put their child in harm’s way by allowing her to greet a dog like that, there was no hope for the child.  What they should have taught her was NEVER to approach a dog that she didn’t know without asking her parents if she could ask the handler first and if consent was given, to pet the dog appropriately and never kiss a dog on the nose. If the child had been bitten the dog and the handler would have been blamed when the real blame should have been with the parents.  Fortunately in this instance the dog was very friendly and no one got bitten, but you get my point.

As a mother and a dog trainer I am dedicated to raising awareness and spreading the word about responsible pet ownership and dog bite prevention.  I have set up a Dog Bite Prevention Task force, made up of professionals from all around the country, including veterinarians, lawyers, canine bite investigators and pediatric surgeons, each dedicated to educating the public and keeping people safe.  I also utilize an excellent program called Doggone Safe to help me spread the word.  I am proud to be a ‘Be a Tree’ presenter and spend much of my free time teaching bite prevention to kids in schools and other organizations.  For bite prevention week, Doggone Safe has challenged its members and presenters to educate 50,000 kids during dog bite prevention week. Click here for more information about the challenge.

4 year old Ashlynn was the victim of a fatal dog attack and the inspiration for Dads Against Dangerous Dogs (DADD).

Here are some other great resources if you want to find out more about dog bite prevention:

This blog and my work on the upcoming  Dog Bite Prevention Week is dedicated to Ashlynn Anderson.   On February 28th 2010, Ashlynn was attacked and killed by a dog.  Her grandfather Don Wing and father Ryan have set up an organization called DADD (Dads Against Dangerous Dogs) in her memory, to raise awareness and educate children and adults so that this kind of tragedy does not happen again.  I have had the honor of meeting and working with this brave family.  Even though attacks of this nature are rare compared to the number of dogs in the United States, one fatality is too many.   May Ashlynn live on in the hearts of those you love her and teach families and children all over the world to be safe around all animals.


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  • Pingback: Dog Bite Prevention – Part I | Victoria Stilwell Positively()

  • gabrielle

    hi victoria im gabrielle i have a dog that will bit any one, run out the door when we open it, bark constently at the door or some one at the door or just plain nuthing, he likes to chew up our cloths or posubly any thing he can chew on, and he likes to go potty in the bath room along with the other two dogs we have. so if u could help us out with him and like to just email me at [email protected] thank you

  • Hi Victoria
    We created the Liam J Perk Foundation in March of 2010 after 2 year old Liam was fatally bitten by the family dog in December 2009 3 days before Chirstmas. Our founadation's goal is to help spread awareness and education on dog bite prevention in schools, youth groups and more. Doggone Safe has been a wonderful resource for us. It is important that all these organizations work together to reach our ulitmate goal of keeping children and dogs living safely in their homes together. You can read Liam's story on our website.

    It is my hope that people will recognize dog body language, be a tree, and proper way to meet a dog just like they know stop, drop and roll for a fire or don't talk to strangers.

    Thank you for supporting these organizations to help get the word out.

    Laurie
    Liam J Perk Foundation

  • I am a pregnant dog trainer and I have 3 dogs. These statistics scare me! I have been prepping my dogs for the arrival of my daughter with training, but I still worry. I also do my best to teach other people's children dog safety through teaching canine body language (flash card from doggonesafe.com), but I feel like I am not being taken seriously. When is society going to realize that punitive forms of training, poor socialization, and poor breeding are a real problem and our children pay the price? I was just at a career day at a school with my Delta-registered therapy dog with whom I had very strict rules about how many children could pet her at once just to make sure that my dog was totally relaxed (and she was!). I had a great time and the children loved the presentation and my dog, but at that same event, police dog handlers brought in their dogs- one of which was muzzled and neither of which were what I'd call therapy dog material. I saw children just run up and pet these police dogs, and they were not being told not to by the handlers. My dog had a therapy dog vest on, there dogs did not. I just have to wonder what we are implicitly teaching our children!

  • Pingback: Victoria Helps Launch Dog Bite Prevention Week | Victoria Stilwell Positively()

  • Pingback: Stilwell Dedicates Work with Dog Bite Prevention Week to Ashlynn Anderson | DADD (Dads Against Dangerous Dogs)()

  • Linda

    I am soon to be a grandmother. I have been thinking about this issue a lot, and am doing some prep work. However I know the best protection is to manage the dogs carefully, and to watch for their arousal thresholds. It's all about prevention, prevention, prevention. My granddaughter's parents have a dog, we have two dogs, and a cat, and her uncles and aunts have dogs, so we will have to be vigilant so that she can grow
    up to love animals.

  • Pingback: YOUR Role In Dog Bite Prevention | Conscious Companion()

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