LOS ANGELES — A most frustrating part of dog ownership is bearing witness to people and most especially young children, behave improperly around dogs. The annual number of reported dog bites, which is in the millions, in America is astonishing. Yet, so many of these incidences are entirely preventable. They simply don’t have to happen.
Los Angeles artists Lili Chin and Eddie Mort are doing their part to raise awareness, and provide an increased understanding of the body language of dogs. Their 30 second You Tube video illustrates just how quickly things can go wrong, and how easily it could have been prevented.
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Proper education is paramount in preventing dog bites from happening. It’s imperative that we teach children, and ourselves, how to approach and introduce ourselves to a dog, how to properly behave around dogs, and most importantly to have a keen awareness of the signs to watch for in dog’s body language to indicate they’re uncomfortable.
Knowing that seeing a dog cower, flatten their ears, push their tail right between their legs, show their hackles being or turn their heads away, are all warning signs is key. Understanding that seeing these behaviors mean that a dog is uncomfortable, feels threatened, and might bite, is crucial.
Most dog bites are entirely preventable, with proper education. From a very young age it’s a most responsible decision to teach our children how to say hello and the right way to behave around animals. Teaching them about gently touching them, petting them lightly, and that it’s not okay to hit, or pull their tails or ears. Reminding them that they mustn’t make a sudden approach, scream at them, or move too quickly as those can be frightening and prompt an unfortunate response. World renowned dog trainer, Cesar Millan, highlights the importance of staying calm (a hyper child can be frightening to a dog), petting them on their chest or neck (and often times not on their heads), and accepting when they aren’t interested in saying hello and not to press them for their attention.
With awareness and understanding the number of dog bites will inevitably fall, and dogs will no longer have to pay the ultimate price for having bitten someone.