Last weekend my daughter and I were hiking. She brought along her dog, Toby. He’s a really sweet dog, but like most, kind of freaks out when a little human runs up and puts their hand in his face. And that’s just what happened. Two little boys that looked to be about seven or eight years old ran right up to Toby, and tried to pet him. He was startled and let out a pretty good growl. The topper was that Mom was just a few inches away. And I have to tell you, it took some willpower not to march right up to her and share a little education about pets and children. So I took a breath and thought about it. Maybe she just didn’t know that running up to a stranger’s pet wasn’t safe. So I decided to share some important information about the Yellow Dog Program.
Brian Beltz, a legal issues blogger on The Huff Post writes, The Yellow Dog Program uses yellow ribbons to warn the public that it’s wearer (the dog) needs space and should be treated with caution. As designated by the ribbon, “Dogs in need of space” — or DINOS — are not necessarily aggressive dogs, but more often are dogs who have fear, age or pain issues; are in training or are service or working animal.
According to the American Humane Society, an estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. And children are considerably more vulnerable than adults. In fact, nearly half of all dog bite victims involve children and 70% of dog bite fatalities are children under 10 years old.
The Humane Society has the following recommendation for parents: “If you want to meet a dog, first ask the owner for permission. If the owner says it’s OK, hold out your hand in a fist for the dog to sniff. If he’s interested, you can give him a little scratch under the chin (not over the head) and say hello.”
So, if you see a dog wearing a yellow ribbon, remember, maybe it just needs its space.
Teach your children from the time they start walking, that it’s not safe to run up to anyone’s dog. Remember, cute and fluffy can translate to mean and growly.
Stay tuned for my next post: How to Safely Introduce Fido to Your Newborn.