- Spay or neuter your dog (75-85% of biting dogs are male, two-thirds have not been neutered).
- Attend training classes to learn how to better communicate with your dog.
- Make sure your dog is socialized as a young puppy. Introduce your dog to a variety of situations a little at a time and under controlled circumstances.
- Don’t play rough with your dog.
- Don’t allow your dog to run off leash without supervision.
- Supervise all interactions between children and your dog (even your children and your dog)
- If your dog growls, nips, or bites (even occasionally), talk with your dog trainer about it.
- Learn to read your dog’s body language. Some signs of stress are yawning, lip licking, slowing down or freezing in place, and turning away from things. If you see these signs when someone wants to approach your dog, do not allow them to come forward until the dog seeks them out.
- Err on the safe side. If you aren’t sure how your dog will react in a new situation, be cautious.
Puppy behaviors can be precursors to adult behavior. Listed first is the puppy behavior followed by the corresponding adult behavior.
- Dog snaps in the air toward a person — Will usually progress to biting skin.
- Growling for any reason other than play — Mean to people who try to get him to do things he doesn’t want to do.
- Cannot be left alone, even for short periods of time, without going to the bathroom or chewing something — Separation anxiety: dog may destroy house if left alone.
- Hides under furniture and will not come out (may growl if you try to get him) — Fearful dog who will bite when worried.
- Dog stops eating, freezes, and/or stares if you approach while he is eating — Food – or toy-possessive dog who cannot be approached while eating.
- Dog who cannot be handled by the vet (growls, snarls, or snaps) — Dog must be muzzled to prevent aggression when handled.
Each year, nearly 4.7million dog bites occur. Children make up more than 60% of all dog bite victims. Boys are bitten nearly twice as often as girls.
Tips for Making You and Your Child Less Likely to be Bitten by a Dog
- Do not approach any dog that does not approach you first.
- Never run past a dog. Dogs love to chase and will almost certainly do so.
- If a dog approaches to sniff you, stand still (pretend to be a tree).
- If a dog threatens you, remain calm. Don’t scream. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact.
- If you fall or are knocked over, curl into a ball (pretend to be a rock). Put your fists over your ears and press your elbows together.
- Always ask the owner if you may pet a dog. Allow the dog to sniff your hand (palm and fingers pointed to the floor) before touching the dog.
- Do not pat a dog on top of its head. Dogs do not enjoy that.
- Do not attempt to pet a dog that is behind a fence, tied up with a rope or chain, in a parked car, or running around off leash.
- Don’t try to physically intervene when two dogs are fighting. Throw water or a blanket on the dogs to distract them from the fight before reaching for either dog.
Housetraining is all about creating a habit in your dog. He will go to the bathroom wherever he goes the most. It’s that simple! Your goal is to make sure he “goes the most” outside on the grass.
Follow these three easy steps to housetrain your dog:
- Put your dog on a schedule. Take your dog out anytime he wakes up, finishes a play session, and 20 minutes after he eats or drinks. One of those things should be happening every 2–3 hours!
- Go outside with your dog. Don’t just put the dog out alone in a fenced yard. Instead, put him on a leash and go out with him. Stand in one general area until he goes to the bathroom. Reward him for completing his business and make the reward memorable- a piece of garlic chicken, cheddar cheese, or a walk.
- Prevent accidents by managing the dog’s environment.
- When you’re home, tether the dog to your waist. That way, he can’t sneak into another room to go to the bathroom. If you choose not to tether the dog, you must actively supervise. Don’t allow the dog out of your sight, even for a moment.
- When you’re out or when you can’t supervise, either use a crate or a puppy-proof room to minimize the chance of damage and accidents. Until the dog has gone three months without an accident, no not leave him unattended or unconfined.
Keep repeating these three steps until your house has been declared an accident free zone for at least three months.
What happens if your supervision falters and your dog has an accident?
- If you catch your dog “in the act,” remain calm. Don’t bother punishing the dog. Punishment at this point will tend to teach the dog not to go to the bathroom in front of you…which is not a good plan for housetraining. Instead, just take him calmly by the collar and lead him outside. (If your dog is small enough, scoop him up and carry him out.) Reward him if he finishes his business outside.
- Clean the area thoroughly using an enzyme-based product. (Nature’s Miracle, Simple Solution, etc.) Any remaining residue will serve as a marker for your dog, indicating that this is a good potty spot, so be thorough. After you’ve cleaned the area, make it inaccessible to the dog in some way—put a chair over it, block the doorway, etc.
With a little diligence and management, housetraining can be a breeze.
A Women’s Business Center Success Story Excerpt
By Kaitlyn Williams
As you drive up to 631 Azalea Road in Mobile, AL your eyes are immediately drawn to the pink and black sign, “Walks and Wags” is proudly displayed in bold-faced letters. Cindie Carter herself walks out with a warm smile, her eyes crinkling amiably. As she leads you out back you see several dogs bounding gleefully through a play tunnel, others splash in pools of water, and still more chase after tennis balls flying across the yard. It’s not a sight one sees very often, so many dogs playing together at the doggie equivalent of Disney Land, but for Cindy this is her everyday life. What once began as a hobby in college has morphed throughout the years into a successful enterprise. Walks and Wags provides services geared towards dog lovers. Among these are doggie play care, boarding, walking, sitting services, pet taxis, and even doggie parties for their clients!
The most unique service offered is doggie play care, aimed at pet owners who work long hours or travel frequently. Doggie play care is available four days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Much like two-legged day care, doggie play care follows a specific schedule of outside play, treats and a mid-day nap. Participating dogs must have all vaccinations and tests. A staff of seven cares for about 100 dogs each week. According to Cindie, it is important for people to understand that most bad canine behavior issues stem from lack of exercise and social interaction. “We get the dogs socialized in a group setting, teach them good manners and take care of any issues with stimulation, interaction and exercise.”
Though business is booming these days there was a time when Walks and Wags was just a fragmented dream. Six years ago Cindie was living in New Orleans, working on expanding her home-grown business when Hurricane Katrina hit. It left her city, home, and business in ruins. Cindie and her husband Larry had no choice but to pack all the belongings they could fit into two cars and evacuate to Mobile. At the time they didn’t know that they would never again return.
Shortly after settling in Mobile Cindie began thinking about her dog business once more. Hoping to expand on her ideas she attended a workshop offered by the Women’s Business Center of Southern Alabama called “Disaster Loan Seminar.” Cindie knew immediately that she needed to take advantage of the services and resources that the WBC had to offer. She scheduled an appointment with one of the center’s counselors and left feeling invigorated. Cindie shares that “the counselor treated me and my business dream with respect and enthusiasm. I was not treated like a refugee like other business
establishments were at the time.”
Through her contact with the Women’s Business Center Cindie was able to find out about the SBA disaster program. The program provided Cindie with a business disaster loan in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The loan was critical in assisting Cindie in purchasing equipment for her business as well as allowing her to market and spread the word about “Walks and Wags.” Cindie credits the Women’s Business Center for their assistance in turning her business dream into a reality. “I can’t put a measurement on what a difference they made. They helped me to the next step, applying for the loan. They set me up with a personal business counselor who helped me focus on networking and getting the word out about my business. I was encouraged to join the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, where I immediately received my first clients!”
Among her successes Cindie has struggled with various obstacles, chief among them in getting the zoning changed on her property from residential to commercial to legally operate. The process took over a year. Although frustrated with the slow progression Cindie marched through making the appropriate landscape and parking lot changes in order to obtain the crucial permit. When asked what she felt were her business’s strengths she confided that it was her persistence, her endless pursuit to learn and improve the business, and ultimately her ability to communicate with her clients and their canine companions. Additionally, “Walks and Wags” had its perfect niche, filling an often overlooked need within the community.
In addition to her regular business Cindie fosters dogs from local shelters that have socialization problems and helps find them homes; assists senior citizens in walking and exercising their dogs; and helps re-home shelter dogs and dogs that belong to the elderly who are no longer capable of taking care of them. Cindie’s generosity stems from a strong belief in giving back to the community that provides the life blood for her business. Beyond her work Cindie also volunteers at ARF and SPCA, among others.
So what’s next for “Walks and Wags?” Cindie has plans to obtain an enclosed building for the dogs to play in regardless of Mobile’s temperamental weather conditions. The building could also be used for additional space for boarding dogs, allowing them to double their capacity and revenue while generating more jobs within the business. On top of that when Cindie completes the expansion her business will have the city’s first enclosed facility for dogs. With the extra space Cindie could even expand “Walks and Wags” services to training clubs and educational classes. Cindie will continue to research ways to offer more services to her canine clients and in doing so will continue to strive to “Enrich the lives of dogs and their companions, one dog at a time.”
Weekday Hours for Daycare
Monday – Friday
Drop-off: 7:30 – 9:30 am
Pick-up: 2:30 – 6 pm
Closed daily: 12 – 2 pm
Saturday: 8am – 12pm
Sunday: 2pm – 6pm