Reduce Dog Bites by Learning a Dog’s Language

By Sara May, NCCMT, NCCAP

Have you ever heard someone exclaim that their dog bit them “out of the blue”? Fact: Dogs very rarely bite without warning.  Bites may seem like they come out of nowhere because, in many cases, the humans who are bitten don’t understand canine body language well enough to be able to read what the dog is communicating.  Most dogs will provide plenty of warnings when they are feeling uncomfortable or threatened, but we often lack the ability to “hear” what the dog is telling us.  

Unfortunately, the people at most risk for dog bites are children, and it’s the responsibility of the parents to educate themselves about canine body language so they, in turn, can educate their children.  Kids need to learn that even the most lovingly expressed gestures can feel threatening to a dog, even to the most gentle of family companions.  A hug, a kiss on the head, or a face-to-face nuzzle are not interpreted as loving gestures by dogs.  One of the most effective ways to teach our kids how to safely and respectfully interact with dogs is to take a bite prevention class specifically designed for kids and their caregivers.  In a short amount of time, parents and kids get to learn from an experienced professional how to greet and interact with dogs.  Classes like these are fun for kids, and parents learn a lot, too.

Reducing the number of dog bites that occur each year, as well as reducing the number of dogs who get put down as a result of bites, can be as easy as getting schooled on canine body language.  What it comes down to is understanding how to read a dog’s cues and knowing how to respect the dog’s space.  Whether it’s your dog or a dog you meet on the street, being able to communicate with the canine species benefits everyone.

 

May 22nd Pet Parent Classes

Canine Massage 101 | 9:00 - 11:00am | $50

Massage helps strengthen the special bond you share with your dog, and it empowers you to play an important role in your dog's physical and emotional well-being.  When you use massage at home, you can help reduce your dog's anxiety, detect potential health issues early, and support your dog through any ongoing rehabilitation or medical care.  Massage is ideal for dogs at every stage of their lives.  

Bring your dog to this 2 hour hands-on massage class and we will give you the basic tools to provide an assessment massage on your dog and show you techniques that you can use to relax your dog and to soothe those overworked and sore muscles. We will also teach low stress handling and ways to reduce anxiety.

Click to register.

 

Canine Communication | 11:30am - 12:30pm | $20

Dogs use body language to communicate with each other and with humans. Those who love dogs but don't understand their language can send the wrong signals even with the best intentions. This class will help you to understand what your dog and other dogs are actually communicating. Learning dog speak will not only strengthen your relationship with your dog but help you interact with all dogs in general. 

Click to register.

 

I Speak Doggie (For Kids: Ages 3 - 6 years old) | 1:00 - 11:40pm | $25

When 50% of our children are being bitten by a dog by the time they are 12 years old and 77% of bites come from their family or a friend's dog - that's an opportunity for education that anyone who loves kids or dogs simply cannot ignore. This program helps kids learn how to act around ALL of the dogs they see in their lives whether their families own one or not. The "I Speak Doggie" program is designed especially for preschool-aged kids. The message is simple, fun and based on a music video that will have the kids singing about dog safety long after the program ends. (1 parent per child is required for attendance) 

Click to register.  Program brought to you by Pitter Patter Parenting

 

Be a Tree (For Kids: Ages 6 - 12 years old) | 2:00 - 3:00pm | $25

The "Be A Tree" dog bite prevention program is effective because it teaches children and their parents to read dog body language. This preventative skill helps you understand what the dog is saying, so you can better manage the environment to prevent any unfortunate situations. The program also teaches about respecting dogs, which will help create a safe environment. This program for elementary aged children uses pictures with easy to understand explanations and interactive role playing which helps children learn in a fun and engaging way. (1 parent per child is required for attendance) 

Click to register. Program brought to you by Pitter Patter Parenting.

 

Introduction to Acupressure | 3:30 - 5:30pm | $50

Acupressure, a bodywork technique based in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a non-invasive approach to preventive care. Providing Acupressure to your own dog will allow you to play an important role in your dog's overall mental and physical health and wellbeing. The goal of this work is to restore and maintain the harmonious flow of Chi energy in the body, thus helping your dog achieve a state of balance. Acupressure is ideal for any dog at any stage of life.

In this 2 hour introductory hands-on class, you will learn the basics of Chi energy and how it flows through energetic pathways called meridians. You will also learn how to apply gentle pressure on specific superficial acupressure points to enhance this energy flow. The class will provide you with the basic tools to provide your dog a simple, but effective, at-home session using acupressure points that specifically focus on musculoskeletal soreness, calming, and overall relaxation and comfort care. 

Click to register.