Thursday, November 3, 2011

Parents: Learn About Dog Body Language Before the Holidays

Many dog bites happen over the holidays, partly because dogs are stressed and overwhelmed by changes in routine and increased activity levels in the house. Parents are also stressed and frequently overwhelmed as well. The combination can lead to a set of circumstances that conducive to unfortunate accidents in which a child is bitten. These bites DO NOT HAPPEN OUT OF THE BLUE. Sorry for yelling, but we have just heard so many parents and dog owners tell us that the dog bit without warning, that he has never bitten before, that he loves kids. The latter two statements are true in most cases, the former is not. The fact is, that the dog did warn in some way, it was just that no-one noticed. By the time the dog gets to the point of growling or snapping, he is stressed to the point where he is likely to bite. For many people these overt warnings, or even the bite itself are the only things blatant enough to be noticeable. Before a dog brings out the big guns of overt aggression he will signal his distress and anxiety with more subtle signs. Most commonly these include licking his chops or flicking his tongue out, yawning, scratching himself or showing a half moon of white in his eye when a child approaches or tries to interact with him. He may give a whole body shake after an interaction with a child. Slightly more obvious, but often ignored are signs of avoidance, such as turning his head away, shifting his body away or getting up and leaving. Effusive licking of a child's face is another way that a dog might try to increase distance. This type of licking should not be confused with affection. Read more about this.

We want parents to learn all about dog body language so that they know what to look for and how to tell if their dog is happy or stressed around their child and how to tell when intervention is required. We want all parents to know the warning signs so that no family's holidays are ruined by a dog bite incident. There is lots of information at our website, but the best source of information for parents is our online course: Basic Dog Body Language. To celebrate the coming holidays and hopefully prevent some nice family dogs from biting "out of the blue" we have put this course on sale for $20 until Nov 15.

Click here for more information

Click here to register

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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