We take safety of dogs in our care very seriously. We exercise very specific safety protocols every day. With every dog. We also want to protect ourselves and other dogs from bites. So we take a lot of measures to be sure we don’t have an incident.
No list of safety protocols is ever guaranteed to prevent an incident, and our list is ever evolving with updates and details. But we know our best option for success is consistency, preparation and rules.
We live by the thought: Every Dog Will Bite.
When new dogs arrive here, they don’t know us very well, so we spend time creating relationship and rules. Dogs recently pulled from the shelter or even dogs who have just transitioned from their home to training experience varying levels of stress.. that can lead to unexpected behaviors — classic flight or fight behaviors can arise.
We’re sharing a portion of our safety protocol guidance that targets bite prevention in our training program, with you in the hopes of helping keep you and dogs safe…. have one to add, send us a message on FB! We have others for the way we run our kennel, arrival of new dogs, etc. But this will give you some food for thought on options to help prevent dog bites with new dogs, transporting dogs, or your dog.
- Slip leads are your best option for kennel to yard movement of any new dog (they same can be said for getting dogs off furniture)
- Never grab a dog by his collar – this is the best way to pressure a dog and get seriously bitten
- Never leave a dog unattended in the yard – even if you think the dog is completely secure, assume the dog will find a way out. (jump, dig, gate). If you can’t supervise, put them in their crate.
- People arrive unexpectedly, people reach over gates, open gates, or other really stupid things when they visit.
- Close crates after letting dogs out to prevent multiple dogs running in together and creating a fight situation.
- If working with an unpredictable, aggressive dog, leave the long line or chain leash attached to the flat collar when the dog is in the crate. Do not attach to a choke chain, slip lead/ collar, dominant dog collar, or similar due to strangling/choking potential.
- Always have a carabiner or other backup device (slip/dominant dog collar) when using a prong, in case of prong failure. You can attach the carabiner from the dead ring (O-ring) on the prong to the flat buckle collar.
- Always use strong tape or a carabiner backup to affix the leash to the prong D-ring in case of leash failure.
- Never allow dogs with major size differences (Chihuahua and Mastiff, for instance) to socialize together, no matter how safe the dogs are. Smaller dogs can quickly be injured or killed, even if unintentional.
- Never have a client dog working without dragging a long line, or on an e-collar – you should always have a means of control.
- Always reinforce crates with zip ties (wherever crate is vulnerable), and use leash clips on the front gate/door to secure and prevent escapes/fights.
- Do not take dogs of different size differences on pack walks – a small dog can get stepped on or feel leash pressure and panic, creating a pack attack from the small dog squeal.
- Always be mindful of keeping your face safely away from the dog. ALL dogs bite.
- Be mindful of reaching into a crate to retrieve a bowl, or interact with a dog. Dogs often feel pressured/stressed/protective in crates and can easily behave in a dangerous fashion. Use a slip lead to lasso the dog or, worst case scenario, dump the crate to get a reluctant dog out of the crate.
- Always remove dog’s collars when allowing play/social time. Dogs can easily get their jaws stuck under a collar, causing injuries or death.
- Be mindful that many things can trigger guarding/aggression: water bowls, sticks, empty dog food bowls, toys, bones, personal human space, giving affection, tight spaces doorways, hallways, thresholds), proximity to another dog’s crate, etc.
- Always have a dog safely and securely back-tied if you are working with resource guarding.
- Keep pet convincers, air horn, mace/bear spray, water hose or other tools around to help break up dog fights.
- Have tethers secured around your yard/fence/decking if you have a pack of dogs — just in case you need to separate dogs are working alone.
- Never put a dog into defense aggression – step back and stop to avoid further conflict if you find yourself in that situation.
- Dog’s in our care & training should have on a good martingale collar or buckle collar
- Trust your gut. If you feel unsure or uncomfortable with a dog, honor that feeling. Take precautions: Muzzle the dog (have the owner do it before they leave), have the owner put on the prong or e-collar (show them how to put it on another dog).
- When visiting a client home with dogs for — bring a clipboard or some other item into a house to block dogs from biting/lunging at you. Require them to crate, muzzle or otherwise contain the dog before you enter
- Have a full range of muzzles on-hand – you never know when you will need them (Basket Muzzle or Jaffco)
- Muzzle any dog that you are not 100% secure with – if there’s tension, stillness, closed mouth growling, etc.
- Supervise every dog out of his crate
- When you have a dog out in public, the dog is your # 1 responsibility — people (kids & adults) rush from all sides to pet. Other dogs are on flexi-leads, unattended or otherwise not well-managed.
If you feel a dog is over your head, seek immediate help. Nothing is worth getting hurt.
- Lose your ego at the door.
Kennel Safety Protocols
- No dog goes out in play yard without a leash for a minimum of 48 hours after arrival. Duration of this exercise is contingent on body language and relationship building.
- Assume all dogs bite
- Assume all dogs jump the fence
- Assume all dogs will run from you
- Crates doors are to be closed at all times.
- No food or water or bowls left in crate overnight
- Never reach in crate for anything with a dog in it. Remove the dog first.
- Dog waits calmly to enter and exit crate
- Slip lead all dogs on exit of crate
- Close doors behind you securely
- Leash Clip on every gate, every time.
- No dog should be exiting crate while another dog is loose or re-entering building. They will bolt past you.
Vehicle Transport Protocols:
- Always have a slip lead. Ensure dog is leashed before you open the doors
- Tether to car to prevent existing before you are ready.
- Dog must learn to “load up” with permission and exit with permission. Absolutely no bolting permitted.
- Crate Preferred
- If you are transporting dog who is known fearful or aggressive, or you have no experience with, leave chain leash on them in the crate, with the chain hanging outside the crate. When you open the door, they are likely to burst out and you may not have a chance to grab the collar (which you don’t want to do anyway) Chain leash prevents them from chewing through.
- Do not leave a dog unattended / unsecured in your car.