It’s our job to help dogs have good manners

By From page A6 | February 20, 2014

By Cayce Wallace

There has been an increasing number of interactions in Davis between dogs and dogs and people and dogs that have ended in a bite. Almost all dog bites could have been avoided.

Here are a few things I would like to remind people:

* Your dog needs to be on a leash unless you are at an off-leash permitted area. When you are in an off-leash permitted area, your dog needs to be under voice control. Voice control means you can call your dog anytime and it will come; you can tell your dog to “leave it,” and your dog listens.

Your dog needs to be fully vaccinated. Your dog should not have any resource-guarding issues, as there will be treats, balls and bowls of water in these off-leash permitted areas. It is your responsibility to makes sure your dog is ready to be safely off leash. If you do not feel people are watching their dogs closely enough, be safe and leave with your dog. Your dog will thank you.

* Never pet a dog who is tied out waiting for its owners. Do not pet other people’s dogs and do not let your children pet other people’s dogs unless you have the go-ahead from the owner. Watch the dog’s body language; if the dog seems to get stiff or wide-eyed or pins its ears back, if it’s licking its lips or anything you think makes the dog look nervous, do not touch the dog.

Many dogs do not like children or people in hats. Many dogs do not like to have their heads petted. When in doubt, it is best to love on dogs you know and let the other just be. You can offer them a sweet voice and a “hello” instead.

* Be mindful that many dogs do not like other dogs, including your super-cute, very sweet, happy dog. Do not let your dog just pull up and say “hi” to another dog, as this can make life awful for owners of reactive dogs, and a bite from them will make your happy dog much less happy about seeing other dogs, too.

* If you are working with your dog off leash and it is under voice control, please remember you should be close to your dog and actively engaged with your dog, and it should be back on leash as soon as your training session is over.

* Never let your dog approach a service dog; that dog is working and is on the job.

* Please keep your kids safe and teach them they are not to touch dogs without permission, ever. Teach them to walk, not run, near dogs and have a quiet voice because some dogs are shy. Teach them that running and yelling seems loud and scary to a dog and a scared dog might bite.

The number of reported run-ins with ill-mannered off-leash dogs really says we need to brush up on the people manners.

— Cayce Wallace is a Davis resident and animal lover

Special to The Enterprise

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