Print this coloring page and
take the opportunity to
talk with your kids about
the many ways they can be
kind to animals!
Tails from the Bark Side
I love dogs! I love them in all their various shapes and forms, I love their unconditional love, I love the way their tail seems to wag right off their body because they are so happy to see the person they love. Dogs have the ability to bring joy and laughter into our lives. They live in the moment and can teach us to do the same. But living with our canine friends can have its challenging moments. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that, in 2016, 4.5 million dog bites were reported.
Why on earth would our beloved pet bite someone? Whether its family, friend or complete stranger, it’s a scary situation to witness and deal with. The unfortunate truth is that, while a few dogs are born with aggressive tendencies, most dogs that bite are made that way by the people in their lives. No matter what the cause, the fact is that there are actions everyone can take to minimize the chance of ever being bitten.
I always think that forewarned is forearmed so I’d like to share with you some of the reasons a dog may bite. A dog who has not been properly socialized, who has not had the opportunity to meet new people or experience new situations may have adverse reactions to stressful conditions as they are more easily scared and may feel threatened by circumstances that the humans in their life don’t even recognize.
Other biting instances may occur if a dog is protecting something…..themselves, their puppies, their owners, their possessions. If a dog is ill, it’s already not feeling well and may snap or bite to signal its desire to be left alone. A startled dog may bite in self-defense, such as when a sleeping dog is suddenly awakened, its first instinct is to protect itself which could very well result in a bite.
We all know that puppies are rambunctious, and aren’t they cute when they nip and play bite? Not really. Because this “playful” behavior is a clear indication to the puppy that its teeth on human skin is a fun game. Sometimes it helps to look at the world from a dog’s point of view to gain a clearer understanding of their thought process. A puppy who is allowed to bite grows into an adult dog who thinks biting is an acceptable response during playtime.
So the question becomes, how do we protect our children and ourselves from being bitten? Here’s are a few pointers you can review with your children.
*Never approach an unfamiliar dog
*Don’t run from, panic, or make loud noises such as screaming if approached by an unfamiliar dog. Be a tree….stand still, bring your “branches” (arms) slowly to your sides and stare at your “roots” (feet) until the dog loses interest and moves away.
*Avoid direct eye contact. Some dogs find this very threatening.
*Don’t disturb a dog while it’s eating, sleeping or caring for its young.
*ALWAYS ASK FOR THE OWNERS PERMISSION BEFORE TOUCHING THEIR DOG! I cannot stress that enough! When given permission to touch, let the dog sniff you and then gently scratch under its chin….not the top of its head.
*If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball, cover your ears and neck with your hands and arms. Remain quiet and motionless.
*Parents—teach your children to respect animals. Teach that animals have feelings and hurt when their fur, tail or ears are pulled. Dogs should never be teased, climbed over/on or ridden.
Never leave your child alone with any dog, they need to be supervised at all times.
- Jeanna Billings
Jeanna Billings is an Animal Communicator serving an international clientele, a Reiki Master and a Certified Crystal Healer. She volunteered for many years with humane societies and animal rescues, serving as a Board Director, Adoption Counselor and Humane Educator. She currently teaches animal communication classes and provides private consultations. She lives in Indiana with her husband, three dachshunds, two cats and a very chatty parakeet. You can find her online at www.ShamansSpirit.net .