This month's case file was kindly provided by Kerry McDonald of Pembroke ON (previously published in the Jan 2005 issue of the Doggone Safe newsletter)
When my son Thomas was 4, there lived behind us two Amstaff/Pit Bull type dogs. These dogs were owned by irresponsible people. Despite active interventions by the local animal control, and fines, these people continually left their dogs unrestrained and unsupervised in their unfenced yard. The male frequently jumped the fence at the back of our yard if we had our dogs out or if any of us were out. Our child was never out in the yard unsupervised due to the fact of his age, and the dogs behind us. Normally, in the summer the dogs were friendly enough, but we found out that the male was afraid of people bundled up for the winter, and would charge you, growling. One day my son was outside playing, those dogs were in their house, I was standing in our doorway watching Thomas play. Suddenly the back door to the house behind us opened and out flew the dogs. The male spotted Thomas immediately and charged him, clearing the fence easily, Thomas saw this and began to run for me. I yelled immediately for him to STOP and stand like a "tree". Thankfully Thomas did both, for the dog stopped, looked around and then headed back over the fence to his own yard. Another call went out to animal control, and a big hug to my son.
A possible tragedy was averted here and we can learn a lot from Kerry's experience. Kerry was right there supervising, not just watching from the window. She has also practiced the tree with Thomas and had the type of relationship with her son whereby he trusted her and followed her directions. Kerry's diligence, good parenting skills and knowledge of dog behavior paid off in a huge way that day and all parents of young children can learn from her example. There is a persistent myth that some breeds of dog will attack no matter what. In fact, standing still is the best thing to do regardless of the situation or the type of dog involved.