Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's Not Too Late! Teach Your Dog this One Important Thing Before the Holidays

Holiday get togethers are stressful for dogs, especially Grandma's dog who is used to a calm existence and a set routine. A houseful of guests with excited children can be too much even for the calmest dog. If you are a parent hosting a party, it is not easy to keep track of the dog every minute, while attending to guests, serving food and supervising children. If the stress gets too much for the dog and he can't escape the unwanted attentions of children, he may resort to growling or snapping to protect himself. A friendly family dog that bites a child at a family gathering is an all too common, and completely preventable situation.

One of Doggone Safe's holiday tips is:
Yes, you are doing your dog a favor by crate training him! Dogs like small spaces and they like to feel safe. A comfortable crate fits the bill perfectly. Having a dog that loves to be in his crate gives you peace of mind, especially during hectic times such as a holiday party or large family get together. The crate is NOT a punishment, but rather a sanctuary for the dog. He should have a long lasting and especially yummy chew treat to keep him occupied and happy and out of the fray, especially during high commotion activities such as guests coming and leaving and  the serving of food.

You should also exercise your dog and tire him out before any family gatherings. He will be content to chill out in his crate if he is not full of pent up energy.

Here's what it looks like when a dog loves to go into the crate:

Here is a video that gives some ideas from the Kong company about how to train this.

Here is another video showing how to crate train. Notice that both these videos show how to use positive reinforcement and food to teach the dog to love his crate. The crate is never a punishment and the dog is always rewarded with something great when he goes into the crate.

One of the secrets to having a dog that loves to go into the crate and is content to stay there, is to give him something extra special and long-lasting to chew on.

Get a Chewber!

Doggone Safe recommends the Chewber - a tough but flexible rubber disk that dogs love to chew. Toss it, play tug with it and feed your dog from it. This will be your dogs's favorite toy! Click here for more information, training tips and videos.

Get a Kong and Stuff It!

Doggone Safe recommends the Kong toys that can be stuffed with just about anything your dog loves and even frozen for longer lasting chew sessions. Prepare and freeze a few stuffed Kongs to have them handy to give your dog when he goes into the crate while you are entertaining guests. Click here for more information, training tips, videos and Kong stuffing recipes.

Get a Pet Tutor to do Some of the Training for You!

Here is a brilliant new product that applies the science of learning to a remote training system that reinforces desired behavior and ignores unwanted behavior. Don't confuse this with the other kind of remote training system in which the dog receives a shock (often, euphemistically called a "tap" or a "stim") when he barks or otherwise misbehaves. The Pet Tutor is the complete opposite and is based on positive reinforcement and not punishment. This will be a huge help in crate training. Get one of these to help you with the time consuming aspects of early crate training when you need a high rate of reinforcement and concentrated attention to the task. Then use it to help your dog stay content in the crate.

Here is a video that explains how this works

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Family Gathering Safety Tips for Kids and Dogs

The holiday season is coming up and with it the inevitable spate of parties and family celebrations. 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.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Doggone Safe Holiday Safety Tips

Doggone Safe has created images to go along with its child/dog safety tips for the holidays.

There are 22 tips altogether. You can download these individually to share any way you want, or you can download all the tips in one free ebook and share that as well.

Click here to download the tips individually or as a PDF. You may share these any way you want, without any changes.

Here are some of the tips:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Announcing Our New Spokesperson: Kaylin Roberson

Doggone Safe is thrilled to announce that recording artist Kaylin Roberson will be its official

Kaylin, a dog attack survivor, recently released her single “Life Must Go On” which details her experience of coping with her attack and subsequent scars, both emotional and physical. “Kaylin’s song is a great fit for Doggone Safe, with its messages of hope and strength for dog bite survivors, and indeed anyone facing challenges in their lives”, said Doggone Safe president, Joan Orr.

Doggone Safe’s mandate includes supporting dog bite victims and educating kids, parents and dog owners about how to read dog body language, act safely around dogs and avoid dog bites. “When I found out about Doggone Safe and the amazing work they are doing to educate kids all over the world and help dog bite victims, I knew that I wanted to help them spread their messages”, said Kaylin Roberson, who was severely injured at the age of 9 when a family dog bite her in the face. “Dog bites are seriously life changing and most could be prevented if people just knew more about dogs”, said Kaylin.

“We are really excited to have Kaylin join our team. Her song is very moving and inspirational and she will make a great role model and spokesperson to help us reach more young people with our safety and victim support messages”, said Kerry Potter-Kotecki, Doggone Safe vice president and herself the mother of a child who survived a vicious mauling by a pack of dogs when she was just 5 years old.

Kaylin will be the face and voice of several educational campaigns that Doggone Safe will run on social media over the next 3 months. Kaylin will be available for radio and online interviews worldwide and television and live appearances in the New York City and Raleigh-Durham areas.

To book an interview or appearance from Kaylin please contact Larry Spann

Check out Kaylin's music video (click on the YouTube logo to view it on YouTube, where you can click on the Like icon and also see Kaylin's other music videos):

 Halloween Tips from Kaylin and Doggone Safe


 Public Service Announcements Featuring Kaylin and Kerry Potter


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Halloween Safety Tips

Check out this video for some great tips for keeping kids and dogs safe on Halloween.

Download and share our Doggone Safe Halloween safety handout, press release and safety tips.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

World Rabies Day Celebration Report from Liberia

By Morris Darbo - Doggone Safe Liberia Coordintaor

The issue of rabies still remains a serious and neglected concern in Liberia, a country without easy accessibility to anti-human rabies vaccine or rabies vaccine for dogs. Very little is known about this neglected and deadly disease in Liberia. The people of Liberia keep dogs for several reasons- for hunting, securities, pets, and income. When there is an outbreak of rabies in any community, killing of dogs has been the common and only method used to eradicate the spread of the disease. Dogs are killed randomly and eaten by organized groups. LAWCS has done lot of education in discouraging people from eating dog meat and changes are taking place gradually.

Every year, the Liberia Animal Welfare & Conservation Society with support from Doggone Safe Canada organizes educational activities with school children and community members educating them about rabies and dog bite prevention.

In the heat of the currently serious health crisis Liberia is faced with in fighting another deadly disease, Ebola that continues to take the lives of many innocent people, LAWCS in partnership with Doggone Safe Canada conducted educational programs from September 1 to 30, 2014. These sessions educated children and their parents about rabies, dog bite prevention and responsible pet ownership. All of these activities were geared toward protecting children and their parents from dog bites, and improving the relationship between dogs and their owners. When people are educated about rabies, they can become prepared to address any outbreak without killing all the dogs in the communities. They will also start to care for their dogs and to improve the health and living conditions.

LAWCS` volunteers visited 35 communities with the world rabies day celebration program and educated 2653 parents and 3972 children. A total of 6,625 people were reached and inspired with the rabies and dog bite education activities.

We are grateful to the family of Doggone Safe, most especially Joan C. Orr for the financial support given to LAWCS which made the program a successful one.

Editor's Note:

Morris and the team at LAWCS in addition to rabies and dog bite prevention have been providing hand washing supplies and educating in the poorest communities about Ebola prevention. The area served by LAWCS is the hardest hit area by Ebola and there are many orphans. LAWCS is also trying to provide shoes, clothes and psychological support for the orphans. If you would like to help Morris and his team to provide life-saving supplies of buckets, soap and bleach and most importantly hope and education, please donate to Operation Handwash. Click here to donate - even $2 is a big help!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Back to School Sale - Doggone Crazy! Board Game - 20% Off

The Doggone Crazy! board game was created as a fun way to teach kids and parents how to read dog body language and act safely around dogs. Statistics show that most dog bites are by the family dog. In most cases the family is stunned and did not see it coming. The dog has always been good with the kids, he loves kids, he bit out of the blue with no warning. These beliefs are generally fasle and stem from unrealistic expectations about the dog. No-one has ever watched the dog closely to see whether he really does enjoy the attention he gets from the children, or whether there are signs that sometimes he does not want to be bothered. The family just assumes that because the dog has tolerated certain behavior from the kids (hugging, kissing, lying on the dog, lying in the dog's bed, taking the dog's toys and food away), that he will continue to do so, or that he "lets the kids do anything". The fact is that dogs do not bite for no reason and they give many warnings before they do get to the point of biting or growling. Most people simply do not know what to look for and so do not notice that the dog is communicating his discomfort with the kids. The Doggone Crazy! board game offers a fun way for kids and parents to learn about the signals dogs send and how to tell if a dog is happy or anxious.

The game also teaches about the proper way to act in any scenarios with dogs that kids might encounter both with their own dog, with other people's dogs and with strange dogs running loose. Playing the game provides many opportunities to practice the critical skill of "being a tree" if a strange dog approaches or any dog is frightening or bothering them. This practice give kids a much better chance of being able to do the right thing in a stressful situation with a scary dog. Indeed many parents have written to tell us that their child (or even themselves) remembered to be a tree in a situation with a loose, threatening dog and the dog went away.

Parents have also told us that playing the game reduced a previous fear of dogs in their child. We think this is because the game clearly shows the difference between a safe and a dangerous dog and shows many ways of interacting safely with a dog. This knowledge empowers children to make safe choices and to know that dogs communicate their feelings and that happy dogs are safe. The notion that dogs have feelings too makes them less scary for kids with fears.
"Doggone Crazy! is the first board game in a long time to keep my kids attention...they played the game so much that I wasn't allowed to touch the game for review until the week-end was over." Alyice Edrich - Editor-in-Chief - The Dabbling Mum - National Parenting Magazine
"This game makes it fun for children to learn how to behave toward dogs, and how to understand what dog expressions and actions mean. It's a positive and reinforcing tool for enhancing child safety, reducing bite risk, and improving the human-animal bond." Karen Pryor, author of Don't Shoot the Dog and CEO of Karen Pryor Clicker Training (
"I love your game! It's the dad, my mom, my sister and I played. We all loved playing your game. It taught me a lot about dogs and how to act around them." Rachel - Age 10

The game is on sale until the end of September 2014 at the Doggone Safe store. Use the code FALLGAME to get 20% off. North America only.

Watch this video for an overview of the game:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

World Rabies Day, Sept 28 - Free Resources

World Rabies Day is fast approaching. Click here for a list of things you can do to take part.

September 28 is an opportunity for people around the world to unite in rabies prevention.

Every year hundreds of thousands of people like you organize and take part World Rabies Day. All over the world people take part in local, regional and national events, held to raise awareness about and/or prevent the spread of rabies.

What can you do?

The individual events themselves vary enormously, from educating village elders in remote areas to national media campaigns, from sponsored runs to mass dog vaccinations.


When people know about rabies, understand how is is transmitted and what to do when a person is exposed to the virus, lives are saved.

There are lots of ways to raise awareness - you could organize a rally, visit a school to talk to the children about safety around dogs, and/or encourage your local newspaper or radio station to recognize World Rabies Day.

Free Resources

Visit the Alliance for Rabies Control for free resources (posters, fact sheets, videos and more)

Download one of our free postcards. One features animals from North America and the other features dogs and cats.

Side 1

Side 2 - Dogs and Cats

Side 2 - North American Animals

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Photo Contest Winners! Many Moods of Dog

Doggone Safe is pleased to announce the winners of our Many Moods of Dog photo contest. One of our key educational goals is to teach kids, parents and dog owners about dog body language and get people thinking about what dogs might be feeling. Dogs have feelings and they show their emotions through their body language. Dogs will be happier and people safer if everyone learns to read dog body language and interacts with dogs in ways that make them happy and content and not in ways that make them fearful, anxious or angry. This contest was intended to generate photos showing the various moods of dogs. The judging was based on photographic merit.

We are grateful to our wonderful judges Tula Asselanis and Judy Johns who had a difficult job in choosing from among all the wonderful entries.

Click here to view all the photos that were selected as semi-finalists from the more than 1100 entries.

Thanks to everyone who entered our contest and congratulations to the winners. We want to give special mention Kaitlyn Vance of La Bella Vita Photography, who had 3 photos chosen for the top 10!

1st Prize: Andrea Mathews: Parker

2nd Prize: Kim Johnson: Ditto

3rd Prize: Nate Dahmers: Pepe and Pancho

Remainder of the Top 11 in no particular order:

Erin Maher: Willow

Yasemin Dunn: Riia and Fluffy

Karen S

Sarah Maher: Charlie

Michael Haslam: Laddie

Kaitlyn Vance: Brandy

Kaitlyn Vance: Pepper

Kaitlyn Vance: Clover and Leyla

Photo Contest Winners! Kids and Dogs 2014

Doggone Safe is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Kids and Dogs photo contest. The goal of the contest was to promote images of safe kid/dog moments to provide an alternative to the "cute but dangerous" photos of kids and dogs that are popular on social media. We wanted photos that show a wonderful bond between kids and dogs, where both parties are safe and content and the dog is with the child by choice. We want to show photos in which both the child and the dog are happy, with no hugging, kissing, sitting on the dog or other actions that dogs generally don't like.

We are very grateful for the help of our terrific panel of judges, who had a very difficult job choosing among the amazing group of entries. Thanks to Judy Johns, Tula Asselanis, Lisa Kelderman and Susan Fishbein!

Congratulations to all our winners and thanks to everyone who entered! Click here to see the 65 photos that made it to the semi-finals out of the several hundred entries. Please share your favorites on social media to help spread our child/dog safety messages.

1st Prize: Dana Martin: Sadie and Amelia (also winner of the Grand Prize draw for an ipad from among the top 3 winners from each of our 2 photo contests)

2nd Prize: Emelie Johnson Vegh: Samuel and Scout

3rd Prize: Marie Nolan: Samantha and Jasmine

The rest of the top 11 in no particular order.

Kianna Lindsay

Jenny Osborne

Madeline Gabriel

Pat Gipps

Nancy Canty

Sara McLoudrey

Stacy Greer

Debra Berger