I am very distraught over the number of dog bite cases I read and hear about, many involving children and some fatal. This is tragic and most could be avoided. As a dog owner and foster mom, I teach ALL my dogs not to be toy or food possessive. This is not the problem all the time in dog bite cases, but it is a big factor in homes. If this is a problem with your pooch, please maintain close supervision !!! Operating a cage-free pet sitting business and being a foster mom, I am a very responsible dog owner (and cat).
POSSESSIVE: Young children are so possessive they will not allow others to play with their toys.
I foster for a “bully” breed rescue, they are not bullies, and these dogs may go to a family with children. I do teach every one of these dogs not to be food or toy possessive, meaning they will bite if you go near their food or toy. These dogs are very human friendly and loveable, contrary to what the media reports. (Another story for another day). They are however, very powerful dogs.
If confronted by a growling dog, children should be taught to walk away slowly and not to run.
When feeding my fosters, I make them sit first before receiving their bowl of food. When the bowl is placed on the floor and the dog takes a couple of bites, I take both my hands, they are small, and cover the dogs food dish. When the dog is not “rooting” anymore for the food, I remove my hands. A word of caution here, please do not jump in and just cover a dog’s food dish with your hands if you are not sure how the dog will react.
I get to know the dog a little and feel confident I can do this. If you are not sure, please use a fake hand. (like you use for Halloween) I also put my fingers on the dog dish while eating. If you start this at puppy stage, this will not be a problem. For those teaching adult dogs, please use caution!!! This gets the dog use to the idea of having hands around his dish and will not lash out at anyone near his food. Keep doing this periodically to keep this instilled in your dog.
I have several Nylabones in the house. No one fights over them. While the dog is chewing on it, I gently take it away. Wait for them not to react and just sit, lay or stand there patiently. Give the dog back the bone. Do this several times. If the dog reacts, do not give the bone back. Try again later. This process can be used for any toy.
Teach your children that unfamiliar dogs — no matter how small or cute— should not be touched or approached without adult permission. On the other hand, do not teach them to be afraid of dogs.
Note: Please be a responsible pet owner. If your dog is possessive over toys, do not take them (toys) to the dog park. (I have actually seen this). If you have small children around, please supervise them, especially during meal time. Make sure your dogs cannot escape yard/house while you are gone.
- Keeping Kids Safe From Dog Bites – Every Day Health
- Are You Setting Your Child Up for a Dog Bite Injury this Summer? – People Training for Good Dogs