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Old 06-21-2012, 08:15 PM   #1
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While reading this I laughed and thought instantly of curlysue!

Dog Bite Prevention Week: How to Safely Interact with Humans | notes from a dog walker

Dog Bite Prevention Week: How to Safely Interact with Humans
by notesfromadogwalker on May 23, 2012
Dog Bite Prevention Week is a favorite of mine - every year there’s a ton of great advice floating through the interwebs.

Thanks to trainers, vets, and other dog pros, we know how to prevent dog bites: understand dog body language, manage dogs properly, socialize and train them, teach kids how to safely interact with dogs, don’t chain them in your backyard or let them roam unsupervised. Got it.

Here’s one more from me: Get fluent in human body language and communication. Nothing for nothing, but is anyone else stunned at how often fellow humans completely ignore or miss huge, obvious cues from other humans who are trying to communicate on behalf of their dogs?

You know, the ones that are saying, “Please don’t come any closer!”

How come so many of us keep getting closer?

I feel like the dogs would benefit if we humans got better at communicating with each other. In that spirit, here’s my contribution to Dog Bite Prevention Week.



How To Safely Interact with Humans and Their Dogs

Right there! Do you see it? It’s a human walking their dog.

In order to approach them safely, observe the human. Before you or your dog gets closer, let’s look at the human. What can you tell from their body language and facial expressions?

Start with the eyes. Are they darting back and forth, looking for a way to escape? Are the human’s eyebrows furrowed and pinched? You’re witnessing signs of stress. Do not ignore them.

Scan their bodies and look at their hands. A human that is not comfortable being approached by a stranger will often raise one or both hands towards you. If you see body language such as an outstretched hand, palm towards you, this is a clear signal to stop! Do not continue approaching.







Next, focus on their mouth. Is it open? Are sounds coming out? It is not unusual for a human who is feeling trapped to say: ”Call your dog” or “My dog needs space.”

Occasionally, humans caught by surprise might have a hard time using their words. In that case, screams, shrieks, and expletives might be used.

Do not ignore these verbal warnings. Do not argue with the human. Do not tell them they are wrong and that it is ok for you to approach them because “All dogs love me” or “It’s ok, my dog is friendly“.

Listen to the exact words the human uses. This is a clear warning.

If you’re still not sure if you should approach, look closely at their feet. Are their feet facing towards you or have they turned to sprint in the opposite direction? When a human is running away from you, they are clearly signalling that they do not want to hang out.

Do not follow them across the street. This is not a game of chase.

In some cases, it can be difficult to read a human’s body language because it is so subtle. But the signs are always there, even if we don’t recognize them right away.

For example: you spot a human standing off to the side of a walking path. They may look relaxed, but study them at a bit closer. Are they standing in front of their dog? Are they giving their dog treats as you pass? These are signs that the human is busy working with their dog.

Tip: When someone sees you, then turns away from you, they’re just not that into meeting you.

But what if the human is hiding, you ask? Should I approach them then?

If you spot a human hiding behind a tree, car, or telephone pole. Do not make eye contact. Continue walking. Pretend that you do not see them and their dog. This human is cornered and making one last attempt to escape. If you approach you will be forcing them into a situation where they might feel trapped and bite you. Keep moving.







Some times we can’t help but encounter loose humans walking their dogs on leash. If that happens to you, please do the following:

Do not flail your arms or shout.

Control your dog, so that they cannot approach the loose human and their leashed dog.

In a calm voice, ask, “Can we meet your dog?” or “Is it ok if I say hello?”

Wait for the human to respond.

If they say no, do not force the situation. The human has clearly expressed a desire to be left alone. Do not ignore these signals.

Give them enough space to pass and keep moving.

Whew. That was close.



Well, there you have it folks. The last piece of the Dog Bite Prevention puzzle: Human Body Language. If we just pay a little more attention to each other’s signals and respect each other’s space, we’ll be doing our dogs a solid.

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Old 06-21-2012, 08:34 PM   #2
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This had me rolling! What a great post!
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:36 PM   #3
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My favorite part of the entire thing is

"Do not ignore these verbal warnings. Do not argue with the human. Do not tell them they are wrong and that it is ok for you to approach them because “All dogs love me” or “It’s ok, my dog is friendly“.


Do you know how many times I heard this A DAY!?!? "Oh it's okay I love dogs" *Chomp*

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Old 06-22-2012, 12:12 AM   #4
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I love it.. it is SO true..

Humans are pretty stupid at times!
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Old 06-22-2012, 06:48 AM   #5
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Dittio Moo I have for a long time done this when out with Nipper she is NOT allowed to approach any dog with out me asking the other owner first if it's ok I have all sorts of responses for of course my dog is ok it's of leash (so that makes the off leash dog ok then??) Nipper has to sit till I get a ok from the other owner! I haven't always done this but glad
I now ask. I have some see minor scraps and I have seen some bad ones I think it's also important to look at the owners dog(s) body laungauge too it does cut the risk down a heck of a lot IMHO And it's fairly easy to get your dog to sit and wait till cued to go and meet and greet Mind you some owners can't even get their dog(s) to sit which is one of the most basics of commands in my book!
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:53 AM   #6
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OMG! This had me rolling on the floor with laughter! What a way to start my day. Thanks Louuie for the post!

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Old 06-22-2012, 11:12 AM   #7
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Fantastic! I wish everyone would read it. I wear a yellow vest with reflective stripes and mostly walk the same routes. Enough so people in cars i don't even recognize wave at me.
They know if they are children or adult, Lucy is very friendly but stay away if you have your dog with you.
So true.
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