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03.08.09 - 19:33 -

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Not always a bite
Dogs should be trained to sit still. / EUGENE HOSHIKO / AP
When a dog owner is seen to have an injury an observer assumes it is a bite. The truth is different.
I met a lady owner recently who had her finger bandaged and explained to me that “the dog had done it”. It turned out that what had happened was she was putting a lead on the dog and was holding the hasp on the collar which is intended as the fastening for the lead. She had her finger in the hasp when the dog jumped away and her finger suffered with a severe sprain. It is not the first time I have heard of this happening.
A few weeks ago a similar more serious accident occurred. The owner held his dog by the actual collar when the dog decided to turn and run, excited at the prospect of a walk. All fine and understandable as far as the dog was concerned but not for the owner whose wrist was broken and had his wrist in plaster for a few weeks.
It seems like injuries are in vogue for I had a letter from an owner whose dog had tugged her against a wall corner and the rough surface had scraped her face so she had a mark which she hoped would not leave a scar.
It may appear somewhat callous to say this but the real fault lies not with the dog but with the owner. It is all a matter of control. I have frequently sung the mantra of the four Ts. Take the time and trouble to train. It is always something which you always intend to do: ”I must get AROUND TUIT". There seems to be an acute shortage of Twits as few seem to have them.
Of course the dog is excited at the prospect of going out but he or she should be trained to sit still and have the lead fitted. Once fitted the rule is NO PULLING. You are the boss and you make the rules for your own sake as well as the dog.
I was impressed recently when we stayed with son Neil and his lady partner in New Zealand. He had only just acquired a new dog from a rescue centre. Sassie, in three weeks, had learned not to jump around, definitely not permitted to leave the car without Neil’s call and generally to behave. Break the rules and the walk or car trip is immediately off and back to the house she went. All their dogs have been trained in this way and they are incredibly happy dogs.
When you consider the four Ts consider this. It is one thing if you suffer injury but if a passer by is injured you can be in for an expensive claim. You, as owner, are responsible.

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