Play it safe with dogs

BC SPCA encourages animal lovers to interact with canines safely.

The BC SPCA offers tips on how to interact with dogs.

As British Columbians enjoy the dog days of summer, the BC SPCA is reminding everyone of the need to be vigilant when approaching and interacting with canine companions.

The vast majority of dogs are safe, reliable companions, but even a friendly dog may bite if threatened, angry, afraid or hurt. There are clear signals to watch for and steps everyone can take to reduce the chances of a nasty dog bite.

“It’s always good to play nice – by far, most children are bitten while playing with their own dog or dogs they know,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA. “What starts out as fun can lead to over-excitement, and dogs use their mouths and teeth to grab in the same way we use our hands.”

If a dog appears to be getting over stimulated, take a time out and walk away until he or she is calmer. If the dog is prone to over-excitement, play fetch instead, or tug-of-war games, Chortyk says.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind to play it safe with dogs:

Beware of the protector. Many dogs have a tendency to protect things they value – their toys, food or beds. They will usually give you clear signals that they are in “protector mode” – hunching over a food bowl or toy, emitting low growls and barring their teeth. The solution: Never put your hand – or worse your face – near a dog in protection mode or try to remove the object.

Give an anxious dog space. Fearful or anxious dogs are the most likely to bite without warning – they are unsure of new situations and act out of self-preservation and fear rather than aggression. Their signals can include a lowered head, tail low or between their legs, lip licking and ears folded back. They may appear sad and scared, but can quickly snap if they feel cornered and unable to escape. The solution: Be calm and confident around anxious dogs. Let them come to you – never try to hug them, crowd or corner them, sneak up on them or pick them up if they are giving you signals that they are frightened. If they are showing clear signals of fear back away slowly – if you turn and run you are more likely to get bitten.

Leave the lonely alone. Seeing a lonely dog by himself in a backyard or even tied to a chain can touch our hearts and make us want to reach out to offer our companionship. But backyard dogs can be unsocialized and fearful. In particular, chained dogs may bite if their “fight or flight” response kicks in and they have no means of escape. Their tail may be wagging – but not all tail wagging is friendly – it can also be a warning sign. The solution: Don’t reach through a fence to pet a strange dog or approach a dog on a chain – ever. Do report chained or neglected backyard dogs to the BC SPCA animal cruelty hotline, at 1-855-622-7722.

“When approaching dogs, always ask permission from their guardian before petting, approach from the side rather than leaning over top of a dog’s head – a sign of aggression in dog-dog communication – and hold out an open palm for the dog to sniff before petting,” Chortyk notes.

“If a strange dog approaches you in a menacing manner – don’t scream or run away, this will only escalate the situation,” she says. “The best approach is to stand still with your hands at your side, looking slightly away from the dog. If the dog attacks, lie on your stomach with your face buried and your hands behind your neck. The stiller you can be the sooner the dog will stop and move on.”

For more information on dog bite safety, visit spca.bc.ca/animalissues.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Image: CDC)
Fraser Health orders Surrey food-processing facility to close amid COVID-19 outbreak

Staff member at Surrey long-term care facility also tests positive for the virus

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Six Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Lotto winner Erwin Espiritu. (submitted photo: BCLC media relations)
$1M lotto surprise for Surrey dad buying takeout food for son’s birthday

‘When I went to show my son, he said that there was six zeros on the screen, not three’

Pumpkins outside Malvinder Gill’s farm on 152nd Street in Surrey. (submitted photo: Sarah Wilson)
At Surrey farm, free pumpkins for donation to food bank

‘Amazing for the community, especially during the pandemic,’ says one local resident

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read