Last month I spoke about dog bite prevention. I recommended the Be A Tree method—stand tall like a tree trunk, put your arms (your branches) in, and lower your head to look at your feet (roots) when a strange dog approaches. I want to talk about what to do if you are walking your dog and a strange dog approaches.
Last week my dog, Geo, and I were taking a walk. Geo was sniffing a grass patch in a vacant lot. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a black furry blur, a stealth bomber moving very fast, aimed at Geo. The black dog grabbed Geo’s and Geo whirled around and froze. Thankfully Geo has very good dog skills, diffusing a violent fight. I yelled for the owner to come, I stomped my feet at the dog, I told him to go home in my most commanding voice. He did go back across the street to his yard. His owner put him in the house and then came out on his porch to ask me if my dog was ok. I checked Geo and he didn’t seem to have physical injuries, but he was shaking and his tail was tucked. I was quaking inside. The next day I did find a scab on Geo’s neck where the attacking dog bit him. I started thinking about what I could have done differently and what the black dog’s owner could have done to prevent his dog leaving his yard.
It is all about management and training. Good management choices the black dog’s owner could have used are: 1) a more secure fence around his yard, 2) have the dog on a cable tie 3) be with his leashed dog, interacting with him and enjoying a warm evening together. Those would have been on the owner’s part. He could train his dog not to leave his yard.
A good management tool if you walk your dog a lot is a dog deterrent spray such as a pepper spray or one specifically formulated to deter dogs. Train you dog to move around behind you and sit so you can handle an emergency situation. If there had been time I could have had Geo sit behind me so I could interact with the black dog and possibly prevent Geo’s injury.
The main goal is to avoid dog bite injury. Make sure fencing or tethering is secure. Train your dog to stay in its yard. When you’re walking your dog, look at your surroundings. Is there a dog in a yard? Move to the other side of the street. This will help make both dogs feel more comfortable. Carry a pepper spray. Train your dog to move behind you so you can better handle any situations. Management and training go hand in hand.
May is National Dog Bite Prevention Month. I will be given a Be A Tree Presentation at the Creswell Library in the Children’s Reading Room on April 26th at 3:30 PM to start it off. This is an interactive presentation for children age 7-12 and will run approximately 30 minutes. I also offer dog training classes, private and group lessons. Pease call Rock Nest Training & Pet Care at 541-895-3162 or visit www.rocknestpetcare.com for more information.