Watch and understand your dog

SIMON GOODALL
Last updated 15:19 04/03/2014

If you're like most of the country, you're in shock about the reports of a girl attacked by four dogs.

What can a dog owner do to stop this kind of thing happening?

Boy with dogFirst, ensure when you have children visiting your home that your dogs are supervised. Your dog may be used to your children and won't harm them, but visiting children are seen differently through your dog's eyes. Don't think "my dog would never do that", think "better keep an eye out just in case". I have two Golden Retrievers that are wonderful around children but I still keep a very close eye on them with other children present.

Next, make sure you know the signs that your dog is uncomfortable. If your dog gets up and moves on when the child comes near, place your dog somewhere out of the way so it can relax.

Ensure that you take away all the dog's toys, bones and food that's lying around. You may be able to pick up your dog's bone, but your dog may be unsure about someone else picking it up.

So what happened in this case? It's hard to know without seeing the setup and knowing the dogs. At the end of the day it comes down to education: the more we educate, the more people will understand their dogs.

Simon Goodall is CEO of Dog Guru Ltd. See them on Facebook and Twitter

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