Treating dogs with severe separation anxiety

Personal protection puppy training
Read an interview with Doggone Safe president Joan Orr with advice for parents about choosing a dog and fostering a safe bond between dog and children. Ensure that when a child visits a house with a dog, that the dog will not be unsupervised with the children.
Teach your child to "be a tree" when confronted with an unknown, overly friendly or hostile dog.
Teach your child to "be a rock" if the dog actually jumps on them and knocks them down (curl up and protect face and neck with hands and arms).
A dog about to bite may be growling, showing his teeth, raising fur along his back or holding his tail high in the air (he may even be wagging it). Teach children to play safe games such as fetch that do not involve running or rough play and to play only with their own dog. Sometimes it is difficult for children to understand that the family dog may not always welcome their attention.
When you are home at night watching TV or reading a bedtime story you might like to sit on your Mom or Dad's knee or have them whisper "I love you" in your ear. A dog may indicate that it wants to be left alone by leaving the room, showing a half moon eye (see below), yawning or licking its chops when the kids are bothering it for weeks, months or even years before finally getting to the point that it feels it has no choice but to bite. You may not care about maintaining a good relationship with a dog, you just want to keep yourself and your kids safe.
If your child is going to visit at a playmate's house, ask if they have a dog and whether the dog will be confined when your child visits.

A child should not be left alone with a dog unless that child has demonstrated competent dog handling skills and the dog respects the child. It may seem hard to believe, but most bites to children are by the family dog or other dogs known to the child. However if you are out on the soccer field or at school with your friends or acting in the school play you might not want to sit on a parent's lap or have them run out in the middle of the game or the play to whisper in your ear. Dogs are everywhere and whether you love them, hate them or are indifferent, you and your kids are going to encounter them. If you are going to leave your child in a home daycare where there is a dog, be sure to visit, meet the dog and ensure that the dog will not be a threat to your child.
Parents can educate their children about how to behave around dogs and how to recognize a bite risk situation. Fold your branches (hands) and watch your roots grow (look at feet) and count in your head until the dog goes away or help comes.
Kids (and parents) assume that because the dog knows, likes or loves them that it won't bite them. Many people simply do not recognize the warning signs, even though the dog has been exhibiting these for weeks, months or even years.We are not saying that all signs of anxiety that we describe on the body language page indicate an impending bite.
It is important even for children who have dogs at home to learn that other people's dogs may not be as nice and tolerant as their own dog.
What we are saying is that the dog will tell you if it is uncomfortable in a situation with a child (or with you).

Everyone will benefit from understanding dog body language and knowing when it is best to leave a dog alone, or even to ask the dog's owner to put him away if you are visiting. A dog may snap or bite in annoyance because the child is bothering it in that moment, whether the dog loves the child or not. If a bite occurs the child should be seen by a doctor no matter how minor the injury may seem. Dogs give us a lot of love and joy and we know that you want your dog to be happy and to have a great relationship with the family. Learning about dog body language and emotion and developing empathy for dogs is a great way to help improve the relationship with your dog.Read an excellent article about whether dogs bite "out of the blue".
Realize that even the nicest dog can be pushed to the point of biting if multiple stressors come into play. This will give you an idea if there are issues that you can address to reduce the bite risk in your home.Download our checklists to help you notice various dog body language signs in your own dog and in dogs on TV or out and about.

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