I was, like everyone else, horrified when I heard the news on Monday about a young girl from Manitoba being mauled by two Alaskan malamute dogs. A breed that is typically “docile with children”. Nothing can be given back to the family that lost there little girl but lessons can be learned. First and foremost as a dog owner, and I am one, you and you alone are responsible for your dog’s behaviour. In almost every case of dogs mauling others, the dog(s) was/were not trained or supervised properly. Most dogs, including my Gracie, are uber excited when new people come to visit. You can either train the dog to not jump on strangers (or anyone else who happens to visit your home). Or simple put them outside or in another room to avoid any unfortunate accidents. And training them is possible. Caesar Milan (The Dog Whisperer) has proven that over the years on his TV show. However, it takes time and dedication to train your pup and by adopting him or her, you’ve promised to do that. If your dog does something heinous like say, kill a child, authorities should think twice about who should be put down. Bad dog owners breed bad dogs, period.
With that being said, parents… train your kids to be around dogs! If you do not own dogs and have not subjected your children to man’s best friend, then you should not be leaving you kids in the care of someone who does own dogs. Simple! It is a continuous journey of teaching our little guy to not treat the family pet like a walking pinata. And it’s tough. It is an ongoing lesson in our household to treat the dog with respect and kindness all the while having fun playing with her. It’s not easy to continually repeat to a 4 year old to not grab, pull, kick, jump on, punch, tug, jerk and tease our Gracie. But, we do it because it would be irresponsible not to.
It shouldn’t matter what breed of dog you have. They are all trainable. And that goes for Dog owners and kids too. Owning a dog is a commitment. A commitment to the dog, your family and anyone else you and the dog come in contact with. For the sake of dogs and kids everywhere, lets honour the promises we made when we adopted our life long friends.