Dog Bite Prevention Week

So many dog bites can be prevented if people just understood a little more about dog behavior, which in turn means there could be far fewer injuries to people and far fewer dogs killed.  Remember, any dog can bite.

Another important thing to remember is that our behavior is based on simian behavior, while dogs’ behavior is very different and very canine.  One of the most striking differences is how we hug & kiss other humans.  In the canine world, just about everything about a hug and a kiss is extremely rude and potentially threatening—forced face-to-face contact, wrapping your arms around them, squeezing them, etc.  Dogs prefer to approach each other more from the side instead of face on, putting a paw on the back of another dog (unless in play) is really pushy, holding another dog down (unless in play & they take turns) is also pushy and rude.  That’s what our simian hugging and kissing is to a dog.  Most of our amazing dogs learn to tolerate our rude behavior, but not all of them do and even the ones that have may react if they’re stressed, scared, or injured.

Let’s take the opportunity of Dog Prevention Week to educate others and even ourselves.  Talk to your kids, grandkids, neighbors, mail carrier, UPS person, etc.

Here are some of my favorite resources:

Play

Sophia Yin On News Anchor’s Dog Bite

You’ve probably seen the story and maybe the video of Kyle Dyer, a Denver news anchor, who was bitten in the face by a dog on air.  Sadly, the whole incident could have been avoided if anyone had been paying attention to the dog’s behavior.  Dr. Sophia Yen has written an excellent article analyzing the video.  Even more importantly, she give clear information everyone should learn about how to greet dogs and about reading their body language so you don’t miss signs of stress.  Good information for adults and children!

Kids & Dogs—Dr. Sophia Yin’s Educational Poster

Sophia Yin rocks!  Check out this excellent article and poster on how children should and should not interact with dogs. The poster shows how a rude behavior with people is also a rude behavior with dogs.  For instance, people don’t like it if someone takes somethingof theirs and, likewise, neither do dogs.  Super easy to understand so even young children will learn.  You can print out copies for free.

We Like: The Bark Magazine

We like The Bark a lot! When the economy took a nosedive, one of the money-saving things I did was let a bunch of our magazine subscriptions run out, but not The Bark. This is a magazine I often read cover-to-cover and not just because it’s about dogs.

Bark is a progressive magazine with outstanding columnists like Patricia McConnell, PhD who has written on topics like: how to tell the difference between playing and fighting, fearful dogs, pain as a cause of behavior problems. It also includes excellent contributing editors like Sophia Yin, DVM, MS. who has written about: nutrigenomics–the study of how nutrition affects gene expression, summer health tips, pollutants and dogs

Contributors are top-drawer.  The photography and illustrations are always engaging.  This isn’t a fluff magazine, but it is a fun magazine.  In addition to outstanding articles on training and health by people who actually know what they’re writing about, there are great pieces on art, law, history, crafts, science, fiction, you name it.  Bark also has actual, critical book reviews, which I especially appreciate.

Bark is great about promoting adoption without beating you over the head.  Their “coverdogs” are both purebred & mixed breed.  They even had a tripod dog on their cover. (see top image) Articles look at issues facing purebred dogs as well as issues facing strays, animal shelters, & animal rescue workers.  Bark rocks!

(Note: I am in no way connected with The Bark magazine.)