“Ask the dog for approval before petting it…” How do I avoid bites?

Robberies on the street, games with children that go wrong… Dog bites are unfortunately common, at least 10,000 a year. In recent years, workshops have been developed to teach the general public the best behavior to avoid such scenes, sometimes very serious. Near Nantes, in the vineyards, Séverine Teresiak travels (through her association Dogizy 44) to families who call her to offer these training courses called “Pecram” or educational program on the knowledge of the dog and the risk of biting accidents. “Dogs used to be wolves, so they’re not necessarily always the nicest in the world,” the young woman gently explains to Samuel, Lucas and Kylian. These three brothers, aged 3 to 8, have just taken in a young black and white dog, a little crazy Australian Shepherd/English Setter cross named Mango, with their parents.

Accompanied by her two cuddly toys, Séverine has one goal: to teach the little ones to respect the animal in order to avoid “the explosive situations” that are already happening at home. First you have to understand the language of your new four-legged friend. “Of course the dog barks, but he sends us many other messages with his body,” the trainer explains to the boys. When Mango wants to play, he wags his tail. But when he’s scared, he’s arched his back, widened his eyes, or lifted his lips. Therefore, it is important for a child to watch their pet carefully before approaching them.

Séverine counsels the children with two stuffed dogs (here to Samuel, 6 years old)
Séverine counsels children with two stuffed dogs (here to Samuel, age 6) – J. Urbach / 20 minutes

Present your fist before touching it

It’s the same for caresses, by the way. Samuel and Lucas, the two eldest, have picked up a bad habit of sometimes hugging Mango very tightly to say hello in the morning. “A dog that feels blocked is afraid, but since it cannot walk, it risks biting,” says Séverine. He may also think he’s being attacked if his face is brought close to his head. For the taste buds, we therefore prefer the back, chest or stomach. But first, it’s a good idea to “ask” the pooch, whether it’s your own or that of a stranger on the street, for approval. “We lie on our side and present our closed fist next to our head,” says Séverine on one of her cuddly toys. If the dog sniffs or licks us, it’s good! Otherwise, it’s because he doesn’t want it, and again, it’s better not to insist. »

According to this trainer, no breed of dog is more prone to attack than another. But a bichon or a rottweiler will not do the same damage … If, despite the precautions, an attack does occur, there are again tips for use. “We stick our hands to the body, we lower our heads, and we don’t move,” mimics Séverine, who also suggests the little boy “make the tree.” If the dog jumps on us and knocks us over, then it is advisable to “swing”. “We stay on our knees, we don’t move and we put our hands around our necks to protect them,” explains the coach. We become uninterested in what makes the animal move away. »

Leave a Comment