Your Dogs Safety, Phantom Dog bites and Children

Children Often Cry Wolf

An overactive imagination or fear by some children, can cause dog owners a lot of undue stress. I’m reminded of this by a question I recently received. On too many occasions  I’ve been called by parents or grandparents to help them with their dog, that supposedly had bit one of their kids /  grand kids.

Some times the dog did nip the child, usually brought on by the kid not listening to their parents telling them to leave the dog alone. Which is a huge problem for anyone that has children, or the child and dog were unsupervised. A significant number of adult dog owners have a hard enough time reading their dogs body language, let alone for a child to figure out that the dogs body language is telling them, “You better get away from me “.

Then there is the phantom dog bite that is commonly the result of a playful dog that jumps up on a child and mouths them (play bite) or gets so excited that he scratches the child with his paw. It’s likely in both instances for child to say, “mommy the dog bit me”.

And a normal response by some mothers that are a little frightened themselves of dogs and / or are not all that familiar with dog behaviors, is to believe the child was bitten. As long as they is some kind of mark on their child, and in some cases there doesn’t even have to be any mark on the kid. The outcome is usually the same, ” It’s a vicious dog and I want you to get rid of it”.

Anyway, back to what normally happens in these phantom dog bite cases.

After looking at whatever marks are left on a clients child, its easy to tell what the dog was doing at the time. What’s not as easy is determining what the child was doing unless you spend a little time with the kid, it’s then that you can figure it out what he or she was doing.

Well fortunately after evaluating the marks on the child and the dog you can clearly see that the dog was just playing. And when you recreate similar circumstance with the child or children involved, inevitably the dog will do the same thing. Only this time with the parents or grandparents watching. When the child has the same response of the dog bite me,  this time every body is watching and they see first hand that it wasn’t true.

The Spirit Dog

Copyright © 2008 A.S.Papszycki

One Response

  1. […] Susan Shephard wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAn overactive imagination by some children, can cause dog owners a lot of undue stress. I’m reminded of this by a question I recently received. Numerous times I’ve been called by grandparents to help them with their dog, that supposedly … […]

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