But He’s Such a “Good” Dog! … When Dog Bites Happen to Good Dogs.

By Jackie Brown

As you lie on the couch cuddling your sweet dog, I bet you can’t imagine him ever biting someone. But did you know that more than 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs every single year? Of those who suffer bites serious enough to warrant medical attention (about 800,000 people each year), more than half are children. Kids are also the most likely to suffer severe injuries from dog bites. But for the most part, our dogs are so wonderful and loving, they are part of our families! So, how is it that so many people suffer dog bites?

You might be surprised to learn that the vast majority of dog bites to kids are from known dogs — often their own family dog, or a friend’s, relative’s, or neighbor’s dog. These dogs are generally not snarling, rabid “Cujo” types, but nice dogs. Good dogs.

If you have young kids, you probably enjoy watching them play with your dog in the backyard as they forge a true love of dogs, and create memories that last a lifetime. But take a closer look and something could be brewing beneath the surface.

Take your average “good” dog. I’ve heard so many parents say it: “Our dog is so good with the kids. He lets them do anything to him.” I’m sure you’ve seen it all, too: Kids bear-hugging dogs around the neck, draping themselves over a dog while he’s lying on the floor, and rolling around on the ground, wrestling with their dog. Or, toddlers “riding” a dog or chasing him around the living room pulling on his ears or tail.

Believe it or not, some of these “good” dogs will eventually bite if that type of behavior is allowed to continue indefinitely. Most dogs are not thrilled with hugging (think about it: do dogs hug each other?), although they put up with it. Pulling ears and tails can really hurt, even if many dogs don’t seem to show their discomfort. And wrestling or riding on a dog is just a really bad idea. These kinds of behaviors are setting a dog up for that one day, that one time when they are accidentally hurt or scared, or just plain tired of being chased and poked and tugged.

And that one time the dog might bite. Even a “good” dog. One bad bite to a child could be a death sentence for a dog who was previously friendly and non-aggressive.

Does this mean dogs and kids should never play together? Of course not! Dogs and kids can be the best of friends. Just do your part to make sure they can enjoy a fun relationship that is centered around safety and mutual respect.

Consider these tips:

No kids’ faces in dogs’ faces
Dogs have teeth. Sharp ones. And a bite can happen in an instant. If your dog wanders by and licks your kid on the face, that’s no problem. But don’t let your child routinely stick his face in your dog’s face.

No hugging, especially around the neck
Dogs can feel very threatened by this behavior. It also places the child’s face near the dog’s face, which you want to avoid.

No chasing the dog, especially while screaming or yelling
This can scare your dog or trigger a prey-drive response. If you have a herding dog, you might also need to work on not allowing the dog to chase the kids. It’s tempting for herding breeds to “herd” the kids, nipping at their ankles and legs, but this behavior can really escalate and become a problem.

Respect the dog’s personal space
If your dog is attempting to get away, make sure your child doesn’t back him into a corner or block his exit. Most bites happen from stress and fear; you don’t want your dog to feel trapped.

No wrestling, lying on top of the dog or attempting to ride him
Many dogs will find this uncomfortable or stressful. However, there are some dogs who seek out cuddling together, and even seem to enjoy it when their kids lay on top of them. You know your dog best.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Who’s a Lucky Puppy?

I’m the Editor-at-Large for a great new magazine called Lucky Puppy, for people who choose to rescue a pup (or kitty!) for all the same reasons we choose to think mindfully, eat healthy, and live green. It’s about giving back, and how a generous spirit can inform everyday choices — including the pet we bring home as part of our family.

Here are some heart-warming stories I’ve written for the website:

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Tilly Transforms From a Sick Puppy Into a Beloved Best Friend

When Project Buddy Dog Rescue took in Tilly, she had severe skin and ear issues. Now the healthy Pit Bull has a forev…

 

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Photo copyright Pet Pawtography

Bald No More, Oracle Enjoys Life With Her Forever Family

Montgomery Humane Society and Cheyenne Edwards helped the terrier mix heal from demodectic mange and begin her new life.

Photo copyright Petcha Photography/Tina Quatroni
Photo copyright Petcha Photography/Tina Quatroni

Great Dane Pups Quigly and Quilla Survive to Find Their Forever Homes

These strong little pups recovered from a sickness that took their littermates. Now Quigly and Quilla now have new homes and new names.

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Photo copyright Shelter Me Photography/Nanette Martin

A Magical Photo Helps a Family See Beyond a Dog’s Deformity and Into His Heart

Zulu the Pit Bull is so much more than his deformed leg, as a portrait by Nanette Martin shows.

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Photo copyright Seth Castell/One Picture Saves a Life

The Key to Pet Adoption? We’ll Give You a Hint: Smile and Say Cheese

Seth Casteel, Jackson Galaxy and Jorge Bendersky get behind the lens of pet adoption.

 

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Photo copyright Sarah O’Neill Photography

Samantha Loses an Eye But Gains a Loving Family

Samantha was in pain before photographer Sarah O’Neill and Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue changed her life for the better.

 

Photo copyright Petcha Photography/Tina Quatroni
Photo copyright Petcha Photography/Tina Quatroni

Oscar the Stray Gets Healthy in Pug Paradise

Thanks to a new life on a farm for rescue Pugs, the sweet senior no longer has the frequent seizures rescuers believe were the result of previous abuse.

IMG_0343A Hairless, Spunky Puppy Gets a New Life and a New Name

Ditto the German Shepherd overcame skin infections and kennel cough before becoming Miah in her new home.

BearAfter1-800x500Puppy Survives Storm and Gets Sent to Prison

Found in a storm drain, the Boxer-Lab pup now known as Bear graduated with honors from a prison training program and found his forever home.

PaisleyAfter3-copy-800x500Paisley the Pit Bull Is a Mangy Puppy No More!

Austin Pets Alive! helped the sweet puppy heal from severe manage and find her forever home.

 

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Phoenix the Pit Bull Is Reborn

This sweet Pit Bull has a new life thanks to a Good Samaritan and the SPCA of Texas.

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Photo copyright Fiona Green Photography

Baxter the Beagle Catches a Photographer’s Eye and Gets a New Life

Shelter workers thought Baxter had sarcoptic mange, which made his chances for adoption poor. Photographer Fiona Green saw beyond his patchy coat.

HowardAfter-62642a16-800x500Shelter Dog Makeover Contest Winners

Wahl and GreaterGood.org show how simple grooming can reveal a hidden gem.

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Nacho the Pit Bull Is a 100-Pound Love Bug Who Wants His Forever Family

He was found with severe injuries and chained to a fence. Despite his history, Nacho holds no grudges and absolutely loves people.

 

 

Dogster!

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I love writing for Dogster, both the website and the magazine. Check out some of my recent articles.

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I Groom My Own Dog — and I Even Get Compliments!

With DIY grooming, I spend more bonding time with my Poodle, Jäger, and save money.

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7 Ways to Stay Bonded With Your Dog After You Have a Baby

With just a little effort, it’s possible to find balance between caring for your “first baby” and your new human baby.

 

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We Chat With “Reporting for Duty” Author About Veterans and Their Service Dogs

Tracy Libby’s new book chronicles how service dogs have improved the lives of veterans, including Irwin Stovroff, a 93-year-old WWII vet.

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We Chat With Photographer Lori Fusaro About Her Book “My Old Dog”

Los Angeles photographer Lori Fusaro has always had a soft spot for animals. In addition to being staff photographer for Best Friends Animal Society and owner of Fusaro Photography, she volunteers her time taking pictures of shelter and rescue dogs.

Achoo! What You Need to Know About Dog Flu

If you’re like me, you spend the winter obsessively washing your hands and avoiding anyone with the slightest sniffle. The human flu season winds down come spring, but dog flu can spread year round.

The Humane Alliance Is Spaying It Forward

Humane Alliance has perfected the process of providing high-quality, high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter services, and it mentors other groups as well.

Western Canada Bans Ear Cropping

British Columbia joins a handful of countries (but not the U.S.) in banning the controversial procedure.

Herding Breeds Are Awesome!

Guild of Shepherds & Collies

I’ve written several articles about herding breeds recently for the Guild of Shepherds & Collies website. Have you heard of any of these breeds?

Meet the Icelandic Sheepdog

Viking settlers brought the ancestors of the Icelandic Sheepdog to the Nordic island of Iceland between 874 to 930 AD.

A Heart Wrapped in Fur

The rugged, shaggy Briard, also known as the Chien Berger de Brie, has long been used in France as a sheepherder and guardian against predators and poachers.

Meet the Pumi: The Herding World’s Best-Kept Secret

The Pumi is pretty uncommon, but absolutely adorable!

The Berger Picard Will Take Your Breath Away

If you saw the 2005 movie Because of Winn-Dixie, you might recognize this breed:

The Shaggy Little Sheepdog

The cute and clownish Polish Lowland Sheepdog is a medium-sized herding breed developed in — you guessed it — Poland.

Rescue Proud!

Rescue Proud RESCUE1503_Digital

Of all the magazines I’ve worked on over the years, one of my favorites was Rescue Proud! I helped develop and launch this magazine in 2014. In less than six months, we went from concept to holding the first print issue in our hands, and concurrently launched a website: www.rescueproud.com.

Rescue Proud focuses on animal welfare issues and the adoption of all animal species, from dogs and cats to horses, cows, bird, reptiles and guinea pigs.

During my time as the editor, I traveled to animal welfare conferences and met influential leaders in the animal welfare movement. I also met a ton of incredible rescue pets. This magazine is heartwarming, informative and also gives back a portion of subscription proceeds to animal rescue groups of the subscriber’s choice. What could be better?

Cats and Kittens

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Most people are either “dog people” or “cat people.” I get it. Cats and dogs are totally different animals, so to speak. Dogs are exuberant and loyal–no human will ever be as happy to see you at the end of the day as your dog. Or as happy to see you after a two-minute trip to the mailbox. Cats are more subtle. They are to be admired and adored, and when you cat lavishes you with affection you feel like the luckiest person in the world.

I’m an anomaly. I really truly am both a cat and dog person. I appreciate cats for being cats and dogs for being dogs. I have owned both and will always be devoted to both.

As the editor of Cats USA and Kittens 101 magazines, I got the chance to expand my cat knowledge while interacting with tons of adorable cats and kittens at photo shoots (including the two sweeties shown on the Kittens 101 cover above).

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies

Puppies 101

As the editor of Puppies 101 magazine (originally called Puppies USA), I had the super fun job of looking at hundreds of photos of über-cute puppies and sometimes even playing with these sweet babies at photo shoots (including the impossibly adorable Boxer pup on the cover above). I also became a certified puppy expert, from training and behavior to nutrition, grooming and vaccines, I can answer almost any question about puppies.