Summer Outings and Dogs

English: Psychiatric Service Dog In Training
English: Psychiatric Service Dog In Training (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is the scenario: the family is getting together for a celebration and they asked you to bring along your beloved pet.  What do you do to make sure that your dog will not hurt anybody.  By anybody I mean, especially, small kids and kids on the autistic spectrum.

Why?

Because children, in general, and autistic ones, in particular, are very hard to predict.  As such, they make easy targets for an over-aroused dog in an unfamiliar environment.  According to dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, there are warning signs we should learn to read in  order to prevent dog-related injuries:

  • barking
  • growling
  • flatten ears
  • suddenly prick up ears
  • abundant salivation
  • cowering
  • wagging tail-not always a friendly gesture
  • yawning
  • exposing its belly
  • turning its head away, tensing up or staring when someone is approaching
  • slight lift of the lip to show its teeth
  • curved tongue at the sides ( Wall Street Journal, Health and Wellness).

So,what should we do? Should we keep our dogs at home?

Well, I usually take our black retriever at the homes where he is invited without my asking for the favor.  Also, we make sure that he is within sight at all times and ready to leave if he is overwhelmed.

It does not mean that I can relax because there are plenty of adults around.  He is my dog and my responsibility.

What are your solutions to a peaceful family gathering, where pets and children roam free?

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