Friday, December 20, 2013

Free Recorded Webinar for Parents: Keeping Kids and Dogs Safe Over the Holidays

Thanks to the Pet Professional Guild and Family Paws Parent Education for partnering with Doggone Safe to present this free webinar for parents. If you have a dog and expect visitors or if you will be visiting a family that has a dog, you will get some great tips from this webinar. Even a nice family dog can bite if stressed, and unfortunately many do at family gatherings. The dog owners are inevitably shocked and upset, and say that this "came out of the blue" and that they never would have thought their dog could bite. There are always warnings, although subtle in some cases. Learn to recognize the signs of stress and how to prevent situations in which a dog might feel the need to protect himself with his teeth.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dog Trainer Continuing Education: Incorporating Dog Bite Prevention into Dog Classes

Doggone Safe and APDT are pleased to offer this recorded webinar for dog trainers and dog behavior consultants on how to incorporate dog bite prevention education into dog classes and private consults. Every trainer and behavior consultant has many opportunities to help dog owners learn how to read dog body language, reduce stress and anxiety for their dog and increase safety for their children and others that the dog might encounter.

This webinar, presented by Doggone Safe President, Joan Orr covers the following topics:
  • Observation skills for the client
    • Dog body language 
      • Key signs
      • Tools you can use
    • Proximity check 
    • Reducing anxiety 
  • Incorporating teachable moments into your classes
  • Demonstrations that you can do with dogs in class
    • Handling 
    • Resource guarding 
    • Be a tree
    • Puppy biting
  • Dog bite prevention in the community - how this can benefit your business

How Does Grandma's Dog Feel About the Holidays?

By Jennifer Shryock

Holidays mean family time. I remember going to my Grandmother’s house and looking forward to seeing her dogs. My Grandmother had female Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and I loved visiting! I remember being so excited to walk them, throw the ball and just share time with them. Did I ever consider how they felt having their peaceful home invaded by a crowd of people? Of course not. I assumed they were as excited as I was to be together and for the most part I think they did enjoy our hectic visits. Looking back now though I think of many things we could all have done to help my Grandmother’s dogs feel more comfortable while we visited their home. Here are some tips that come to mind.
  1. Respect the dog’s comfy spot, bed, hide-a-way. Leave them alone! When a dog retreats to these places they should be praised and not coaxed to come out for the kids.
  2. Bring a yummy treat for the dog that will give them something to do and enjoy. (clear the treat with owner first before offering!)
  3. Have a designated adult supervising interaction with the dog and guests. Ideally with dog on a leash.
  4. If there are visiting dogs in the home along with the visiting family then even more supervision is needed!

Keep in mind that family gatherings can be stressful even when the stress is good. New smells, sounds and actions can be overstimulating for dogs that are used to a quiet environment. Allow your dog breaks from the action.

These tips and so much more are offered in our 1 hour long Grandparent webinar….Grandkids and dogs. We invite you to join us for this interactive webinar so that we can answer your questions and help increase safety and fun for all family members over the Holiday season.

Webinar for Grandparents with a Dog

Are you a Grandparent with a dog?  Do you have Grandkids that visit your home?   Everyday life for your dog may be peaceful and predictable until the Grandkids arrive.  Changes in schedules, energy and dynamics can cause even the most wonderful family dogs stress.  As the holidays near and families begin to plan their family celebrations we offer tips to help everyone succeed.

Join Family Paws Parent Education for this informative hour-long webinar where we will help you and your dog truly enjoy the holiday celebrations!

Some of the important topics we will cover:  Management, Observation of comfort, Activities for success and so much more!

Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn positive and practical tips you can begin right away to help make family visits more enjoyable for all!

This is a live interactive webinar!

December 18th  1pm ET $10.00

Click here for more information or to register

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Results of the Doggone Safe Childhood Dog Bite Survey

Doggone Safe conducted a web survey to get information from adults about childhood dog bites. The primary reason for this was to find out whether child dog bite victims report lasting emotional effects from this childhood trauma.

There were 1,693 responses to the survey. Approximately 55% report having been bitten by a dog as a child. This is consistent with the oft-quoted statistic that half of all children are bitten by a dog.

Approximately 10% of adults who were bitten by a dog as a child report that they have never recovered from the emotional effects of the bite.

We will  publish an analysis and discussion of these data in a future article. For now, here are the results from some of the questions.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Birthday Present from Family Paws!

It's fall and that means it is Jennifer's (from Family Paws and Doggone Safe) Birthday! To celebrate Jen is offering the Dogs & Storks DVD for $10 plus shipping!  If you are a rescue group or need 10 or more DVD’s please email Jen at for pricing!  There is nothing more important to Jen than offering positive and practical and affordable education and support for new and expectant families! Please take advantage of this offer through Oct 31st, 2013.

About the Dogs and Storks DVD

Get the answers and solutions you need to help decrease stress and increase your confidence and comfort once baby arrives.

Dogs&Storks™ is the trusted program for new and expecting families with dogs. Our Educational DVDs have supported families since 2002! Mother of four, certified dog behavior consultant, Jennifer Shryock offers practical tips and clearly explains how and why preparing before baby arrives helps everyone towards a smoother transition.

  • Will our dog be jealous?
  • Should we carry a doll?
  • Does bringing a blanket home help?
  • Tips for first introductions.
  • What activities can we do to prepare?

Purchase the DVD for $10 plus shipping until Oct 31, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Supporting the Child Dog Bite Victim

This article is a summary of the article “Supporting the Child Dog Bite Victim” by Michelle R. King, M.D. Click here to read the complete article.

"Dog bites are the second most costly public health problem in the United States with half of all Americans being bitten in their lifetime". - Hoff GL, Cai J, Kendrick R, Archer R. 2005. Emergency department visits and hospitalizations resulting from dog bites, Kansas City, MO, 1998-2002. Mo Med 102(6):565-8

You Are Not Alone!

According to the Centers of Disease Control roughly 889,000 children require medical attention for dog bites per year. Of those, 31,000 require reconstructive surgery. A dog attack is a form of violence and is traumatic for a child, as is any type of violence. Such violence to a child can and does result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other anxiety or mood disorders. If you are a parent of a child with lingering emotional effects as a result of a dog bite you are not alone, although you may feel isolated. One source of support you may wish to explore is the Dog Bite Victim Support Group, hosted by Doggone Safe.

Dog bite Laws and support are in their infancy with the children survivors being, as in the sexual abuse survivors of more than a decade ago, those who are now isolated despite the prevalence.

Mental Health Care for Your Child

A child attacked by a dog has experienced a traumatic loss of control of their body and may require mental health assistance in order to recover emotionally. Keeping in mind the age and maturity of the child, a parent should discuss the available options for help and allow the child to have a say or even make the decision about accessing mental health care. It is important for the child to be made aware that help is available, even at a later time down the road.

Ideally mental health care would begin as soon as possible after the traumatic experience. In many cases, law suits, insurance claim settlements or other factors prevent therapy from starting when it is most required.

Treatment options should include both psychiatric, meaning an M.D., who is a physician, Board Certified in Psychiatric Medicine as well as a therapist. A therapist includes a psychologist which is a PhD in psychology, or a social worker which is usually an MSW or LCSW, among others. The treating provider, if possible, should not only be specialized in the care of children, yet also have experience with treating traumatized individuals.

How to Determine if Your Child Needs Help

Children, particularly over the age of 9, are usually resilient and while they don’t forget the incident they will recover emotionally within weeks to a few months. It is beneficial to keep in mind that the child has suffered not only a tremendous personal event, yet also a loss of control at a young age when coping with such adult issues is simply not in their emotional repertoire.

Signs that indicate the child is not coping:
·         Intense fear of dogs (or other fears not present before the attack)
·         Sadness
·         Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
·         Failing to attend to personal hygiene
·         Change in interactions with peers (isolation from or aggression towards)
·         Decline in school work
·         Obstinate conduct toward caregiver, teacher or peers
·         Aggression, anger or irritability
·         Social withdrawal
·         Child is emotionally distant (appears not to feel joy or sadness)
·         Child seems cold, detached, robotic in their interactions

The latter three are associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and professional help is required immediately.

Keep Parental Stress Private from the Child

A parent may have very real and significant feelings about the trauma, which may involve guilt, anger, frustration, fear, worry, and can include PTSD as well as other mental health issues as a result of their own trauma. These need to be dealt with privately with the parent’s own mental health provider and not be an additional burden to the child.

Talk to the Child

Parents can support the child in the immediate aftermath by talking and listening to their child without judgment or opinion and without being overly concerned about the future or complicating the child’s concerns with the parents’ own feelings. Discussing initially with the child, in a compassionate yet problem solving manner their current issues such as social problems, where their scars are concerned, without deliberating the future of surgeries or wearing makeup if it is a younger child, can be a way to remain problem-focused. Should the child survivor have difficulties with problem-solving during this acute or immediate phase after the trauma, despite the caregiver’s efforts, it may be important to revisit the option to seek mental health guidance, so that the child may still be able to maintain their own independence in control-related matters. 

Give Child Control in Decisions Affecting their Body

When possible and when the decision does not interfere with the child's physical wellbeing, giving them back some of that control can be quite valuable. For example, if at some point scar revision as a result of the attack becomes an issue, the child should have a voice in the matter. Oftentimes children receive reconstructive operations, without their voices being heard, due to the physician’s discretion primarily. Another influence in the decision to undergo scar revision arises from parental distress about their child's scars or deformity, a reminder to the caretaker yet not necessarily to the child, of the traumatic experience. A reasonable manner to approach the topic, depending upon the age and the individual child, would be to simply in an age-appropriate manner, ask if the revisions are within their wishes at the present time and how they feel about their scars. It is a very personal issue and providing them with some control again can be for many children, of vital importance regardless of their age.

Reestablish Normal Routines

Once it is medically reasonable, reestablishing usual household routines can be of benefit for the survivor and also the caretaker. Disruption of school, playtime and vacations may exacerbate and even draw further pathologic attention to disturbing issues that are of concern to the child and family as well.

Talk About the Fate of the Family Dog

In some cases (in fact most dog bites are by the family dog or a dog known to the child), the family will have to decide the fate of the dog that bit. The decision should be made with the child's opinion taken into consideration. The strength of their ballot so to speak, as with any loss, being more so depending upon their age and maturity level, rather than their physical injury level or immediate, emotional components. A reasonable rule of thumb is to seek professional guidance on this issue, if it arises, as such a decision warrants perhaps, outside objective thoughts beyond that of the authority figures who may be acting to some degree, out of, understandably their own anxiety. In addition, seeking some professional mediation may dampen any potential ill feelings within the family dynamics during a time when cohesion is of far more import. 

Caregiver/Parental Concerns

Parents are affected by their children's exposure to traumatic events and their own responses and behaviors may often adversely affect the child. If a parent begins to feel sad, anxious, or begins to experience any behavioral changes themselves, these changes, would quite likely affect the child as well. Taking care of oneself is essential to taking care of one's child during such a difficult time. 

If the parent suffers from a pre-existing condition, depression or anxiety disorder, in particular PTSD, then seeking a mental health care provider is essential for the caregiver immediately after the attack. Generally it is the caregiver more so than the child survivor at some point who understandably, requires psychiatric and oftentimes psychological assistance, given the burdens and suffering of the uniqueness of the parental trauma after their child has been bitten.

About Dr. King

Michelle R. King, M.D. is a recently, retired physician, who was nearly mauled to death as an eleven-year old child, with subsequent, multiple reconstructive operations. She went on to undergraduate, graduate and medical schools, then residencies in Family Medicine, Neurology and Psychiatry. More recently, over the last two decades, she worked primarily with PTSD patients, predominantly with combat veterans from the Vietnam and Korean Wars. In her private office Dr. King has worked with both traumatized Veterans as well as distressed civilians as a result of dog bites and attacks, as well as those who are survivors of the violent, modern world. Dr. King continues to this day rescuing homeless and abused dogs.

Additional Resources

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Family Gatherings - Train the Dog in Advance

Coming up we have Canadian Thanksgiving, followed by Halloween, then US Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve. All these provide opportunities for family gathering and parties. These events are great fun for the people, but can be very stressful for dogs. Here are some tips to help keep both kids and dogs safe and happy during family gatherings

Holidays Are Stressful for Dogs

The holidays are especially stressful for dogs due to changes in routine and the comings and going of visitors. Many dog bites happen at this time of year.

When visiting a house with a dog, children should be taught not to approach the dog (even if the dog has been friendly on other occasions). If the dog comes to them they should stand still like a tree and let the dog sniff. Only if the the dog is wagging and panting and coming to them for attention, and parent and dog owners are supervising and have given permission, should a child touch the dog. Dog owners should gauge their dog’s reaction to visitors. If the dog is overly excited, barking or growling, cowering away, trying to hide or otherwise showing signs of anxiety or aggression, the dog should be kept separate from visiting children for the ENTIRE DURATION of the child’s visit. The dog should have its own place in a crate or another room with toys, a bone to chew on and its special bed or blanket so that it can be happy and comfortable and away from guests. Even dogs who seem happy with visitors should never be alone in the room with visiting children. No preschooler, toddler or baby should be allowed to be near your dog unless you personally also have your hands on the dog and can prevent face to face contact between child and dog and can prevent the child from hugging or otherwise bothering the dog.

Greeting People at the Door

Dogs should not be allowed to greet visitors at the door. This is for the safety of the dog and the visitors. Keep the dogs in separate room or crate until the visitors are settled and then allow the dog to say hello if appropriate. If you are not sure about your dog, then leave him confined or keep him on a leash. Make sure that the dog associates visitors with something good for the dog, such as special treats or a stuffed bone.

Not the Time to Train the Dog

If you do perceive a problem between your dog and visiting children - THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO WORK ON IT. It is not reasonable to use visiting children to help train your dog. Take preventative measures to ensure that your dog does not have the opportunity to bite and once the holiday season is over seek the help of a dog behavior specialist who uses positive reinforcement methods to solve the dog's problem.

Family Gatherings

Family gatherings at a relative’s house are the source of fond memories for many. The relative’s dog may not enjoy these events as much as the rest of the family. Noise, confusion and changes in routine are stressful for dogs. Even a normally calm and docile pet may become agitated enough to bite under the extreme circumstances of a boisterous family celebration. Supervision may be lax if each adult thinks that another is watching the children. Children are the most likely victims of dog bites in this situation. Doggone Safe offers the following tips:

  • Put the dog in his crate with a bone or favorite chew toy, at least during the most hectic times – guests arriving and leaving as well as dinner preparation and serving.
  • Assign one adult to be in charge of the dog, to watch for signs of stress and protect from unwanted attention from children.
  • Signs of stress include: The dog yawns or licks his chops.The dog shows the white part of his eye in a half moon shape.
  • If the dog shows any of these signs, then he is worried and wants to be left alone. Put the dog in his crate or in a room away from the guests with a favorite chew toy or bone. 
  • If the dog licks his chops, yawns or shows the half moon eye when a child approaches or is petting him, intervene immediately and ensure that the child cannot access the dog. 
  • Do not allow visiting children to hug the dog. Dogs don’t like hugs and kisses. Even if the dog tolerates this under normal circumstances he may not tolerate this from strangers or in a high stress situation with lots of noise and people. 
  • Other signs that the dog does not welcome attention from children (or adult) guests include the following:

  • The dog turns his head away, walks away or tries to hide under furniture.
  • The dog freezes and becomes very still, with his mouth closed. He may be staring intensely at the person who is bothering him and may growl. This dog is a few seconds away from a bite.
  • The dog growls or raises the fur along his back.

  • Assign one adult to supervise each baby or toddler with no other tasks expected. 
  • If you have multiple dogs, consider kenneling them, crating them or keeping them in another room during large gatherings. 
  • Supervise at all times.

Download our handout with a summary of tips for parents and dog owners


Visit our article library for some articles about keeping kids and dogs safe during the holidays. Scroll through the list looking for those articles marked with a candy cane. Download the Doggone Safe Holiday Press Release with more tips


Doggone Safe Members: Download the Doggone Safe Holiday Press Release that you can edit to send to local newspaper, radio and TV media to promote your business and disseminate our safety messages. Join Doggone Safe.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Deadest Horse of Them All: Dogs & Kids

By Eryka Kahunanui, KPA CTP, OSCT

Reposted with permission from

“There is really only one absolute rule in our home,” I tell K’s new nanny, “Baby and dogs are to never interact. Ever.”

The expression that covers her face is a reaction I see all the time from parents with dogs. It’s one filled with questions: Are the dogs “aggressive”? Does that mean they’ll bite me, too? Is that just while she’s gone? Are the dogs even safe to be around? My dog would never do anything to hurt us…

I explain to her, “I’m working on their tolerance for her behavior. We’ve made some significant progress so I need to make sure I can trust everyone before I will allow interactions without my supervision.”

Call me paranoid. Call me a helicopter mom. It’s a rule I will not bend.

In my profession, I hear all sorts of love stories involving children and dogs. One man’s dog guarded their newborn baby from anyone who tried to come near. Another woman told me how her dog would endure being placed in a bucket by her three-year old nephew. And better still, the stories of the dogs that let kids lie, ride or [insert verb here] on them. “The kids could do anything to this dog – he just stands there and takes it.” I always have to play along and force laughter.

Usually, it’s the dog having to endure the child. Never have I heard a parent proudly exclaim,”My child was so good! She just sat there as our puppy pulled on her hair!” And that example isn’t a stretch: almost all of my clients with puppies and children complain of puppy pulling and biting little one’s hair.

Look, I get it. A dog’s loyalty is one of their most endearing qualities. They love us despite us. So when we have children, the one thing we love more than ourselves, we want to know that our dog will be just as loyal to them, if not more.

But we forget our relationship had to be earned with our dogs and it doesn’t just transfer over. It’s fair to assume your dogs will need time to form their own relationship with your child. My kid has to earn my dogs’ trust and so far, so good. And it might not even be the relationship you are dreaming of.
"I’m very aware that it may take a long ass time – as in 5+ years – before my child fully understands how to respect a creature with steak knives in its mouth."
My job until then is to convince my dogs that I will be a fair and consistent referee. I need to convince them that “I got this” – they don’t need to intervene because I will keep her away. Right now, it seems like she’s always crawling in their direction. At first, the dogs would immediately jump up and go somewhere else. After weeks of me intervening, they’ve come to trust that I won’t let her get near them and now they won’t even wake up from their slumber.

And I’ll say right now: I’m sure your dog is the exception. But what does it hurt if you take the extra precaution and just take it slow? Play your cards right and your dog and child will have many years to grow up alongside each other and get to know one another. Isn’t that worth a slow introduction in the beginning?

Read more from Eryka

Check out the Babysitter Rules from Doggone Safe

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dog Bite Prevention Challenge in Liberia

By Morris Darbo

The Liberia Animal Welfare and Conservation Society (LAWCS) is a locally based animal welfare organization established in 2000 and legally registered with the government of Liberia in 2004. LAWCS renewed its legal status with the government of Liberia on January 3, 2012.
The vision of LAWCS is to create a society where the welfare of all forms of nature matter. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

Liberia is one of the countries that do not provide rabies vaccine to dogs and anti-rabies vaccine to humans. Dogs are the main carriers and transmitters of rabies in Liberia. Children have been the main victims of dog bite. In partnership with a Canadian based organization, Doggone safe, LAWCS has been actively involved in dog bite prevention education in various schools in Lofa County using ``Be a Tree`` dog bite prevention program. From April to May, 2013, LAWCS` volunteers visited and inspired 10,076 school children in 19 schools.

See the details in the chart below:
Name of School
# of female
# of male
Kormah Shepherd hood Day Care
Japan Day Care
Kids Connection Day Care
William A. Brown School
Voinjama Central Academy
Voinjama Public School
St. Joseph Catholic School
New Life Community School
Answeru English & Arabic School
Kintorma Community School
Yandasu Public School
Selega Public School
Lawalazu Public School
Voinjama Free Pentecostal School
Malamai Public School
Koiyama Public School
Mamai Public School
Kabata Public School
Vezala Public School

Grand Total

We want to extend our thanks and appreciation to Doggone Safe for their support. In particular, we want to thank Joan Orr of Doggone Safe, and all LAWCS` volunteers who worked with LAWCS to implement the activity.

Click  here to donate to LAWCS and help them to spread their messages against animal cruelty, to provide vet care and rabies vaccinations, and to provide dog bite prevention for school children.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Seminar! Kids & Dogs: Pitfalls and Potentials

Join Doggone Safe VP Jennifer Shryock and author Colleen Pelar for a weekend of learning about managing and enhancing the child/dog relationship.

Date: Sept 21-22, 2013
Location: Boston/Cambridge MA

This seminar is for trainers, shelter staff, vets, vet techs, parents and expectant parents.


Click here for more details or to register

Download seminar flyer

Seminar Agenda




  • The “Good Dog Myth”, impossible standard and unrealistic expectations
  • No “One size fits all” solution to rough toddler handling of dog
  • Tolerance vs Enjoyment: when does kid behavior reach “enough already!”
  • Teaching how to supervise and read body language & stress signals
  • Setting Rules & Boundaries: what to look for & when to intervene
  • Teens can be as tough as Toddlers!


  • Strategies to Decrease Bite Incidents (1:00PM-2:30PM) Learn proactive planning for dog & child safety zones before baby’s arrival; We will go over increase in problems due to unpredictable baby/toddler body movements; Inclusion of dog in daily activities with baby/toddler always requiring SUPERVISION; Learning/teaching canine body language and stress signals; Resident vs family dog; What we know about “inclusion”
  • Essential Tips For In Home Consultations (2:45PM-4:15PM)


TIME: 9-10:15AM CAPTURING THEIR ATTENTION: Activities for Kids

PRESENTERS: Jennifer Shryock & Colleen Pelar
  • Kids learn best with active involvement. You’ll learn specific ideas for capturing kids attention and teaching them about dogs, either in private lessons or when teaching a roomful of kids basic safety like “Be a Tree”


PRESENTER: Jennifer Shryock
  • Toddlers & dogs can clash if things get too close and parents miss a signal of discomfort from the dog. You’ll learn about age characteristics and behaviors that often lead to tense moments; Grumble & Growl Zones and how to prevent or handle them; age related behaviors and dog/children interactions; how and when to intervene. You will learn solutions for doing “things” differently & talking to clients without causing fear or shut down.


PRESENTER: Colleen Pelar
  • Sharing what you know about kids and dogs can improve safety and understanding. You’ll learn strategies to teach people and promote your business in your community, from fun fairs to library visits to school career days.. Be A Tree; The 3 Steps For Meeting Dog; Pros & Cons of bringing a demo dog; Activities to teach kids about dog body language.

TIME: 2:45P-4:15PM – DOGS & STORKS COMMUNITY EVENT (open to expecting parents in the community)

PRESENTER: Jennifer Shryock
  • A live presentation of a Dogs & Storks program. You’ll hear actual questions & answers learn tips to share with clients who want to help prepare their dog for life with a baby!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

We Met our Goal to Educate 30,000 Children in May 2013 - Thanks to Our Fantastic Presenters!

Presenters around the world from non-profit Doggone Safe educated more than 30,000 children about safety around during the month of May in celebration of Dog Bite Prevention Week. Events took place in ten countries, six Canadian provinces and seventeen US states.

Half of all children are bitten by a dog and most of the time the biter is the family dog or another dog known to the child. Dog bites can be emotionally and physically scarring for a child and can cost the dog his life. “Dog bites are preventable and we are very proud of the efforts of all our presenters as they work hard during Dog Bite Prevention Week and all year doing community education to help reduce the risk of dog bites to children”, said Joan Orr, president and cofounder of Doggone Safe.

The “Be a Tree” program is a dog bite prevention presentation for school children. Children learn that a happy dog pants and wags his tail loosely, while an anxious dog may show a half moon of white in his eye, yawn, lick his lips or turn away. A dog that does not want to meet them has his mouth closed and may hold his tail and body stiff, or wag his tail slowly. They learn how to let a dog approach them and how to pet it safely, after asking permission. They learn to avoid dangerous situations with dogs and how to Be a Tree if a strange dog approaches them or any dog is bothering them. To Be a Tree they stop, fold their branches (hands clasped in front), watch their roots grow (look at their feet) and count their breaths in their head until help comes or the dog goes away. The Be a Tree program is fun and interactive with a goal to empower and not to frighten children.

Diane Kamitakahara, principal of Earl Grey School in Calgary Alberta said, “Thanks so much for the presentations. They were great and very well received. One of our teacher’s daughters who is in grade 1 here had an encounter with an excited pit bull at the dog park the weekend after your presentation. She did exactly like you instructed and the dog backed off and went away. Her mom was amazed.”

For more information about Doggone Safe, to become a sponsor, to book a presentation for your school or to become a presenter please visit the Doggone Safe website at

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

At What Age is a Child Old Enough to Walk the Dog Alone?

Kids in the age range of 12-16 can take a great deal of responsibility for the care and training of a puppy or a well-trained older dog.

Puppy Care and Training

They can feed, groom, train and clean up after the puppy. They can let the puppy in and out of the crate. Most children in this age range can handle the puppy independently in a group obedience class (while a parent observes) and can continue as the puppy grows older and stronger. Behaviour specialist Teresa Lewin suggests that a child is old enough to handle a dog independently when the dog respects and obeys the child, when the child can read the dog, predict an impending problem and can intervene appropriately. This will occur at different ages and depends on the maturity of the child, the relationship the child has developed with the dog and the temperament and level of training of the dog.

Walking the Dog Alone

Some kids age 12-16 will be safe walking the dog in the neighbourhood without adult supervision. This depends on the maturity of the child and a number of factors. According to Teresa Lewin of Doggone Safe, some basic criteria must be met:

·            The dog knows how to walk on a loose leash and this behaviour is reliable
·            The child can read the dog’s body language
·            The child and dog have a mutually respectful relationship
·            The dog will happily and willingly follow directions from the child
·            The dog has never shown any sign of aggression toward people or other dogs
·            The dog does not chase cars, cats, or other animals
·            The child knows how to interpret situations and take appropriate action.

In addition, the size and strength of the dog relative to the child must be taken into consideration. The child should be strong enough to control the dog if the dog did decide to bolt or pull hard on the leash. Another consideration is the situation in the neighbourhood with respect to other dogs. If there are loose dogs, or dogs that act aggressively on the walk route, then the child should take a different route or not walk the dog without an adult.

Make it a Family Event

Better still, make walking the dog a daily family event. This has many benefits for the family as well as the dog.