Dog awareness for everyone

NILES — The Friends of the Mosquito Lake Dog Park want to make sure children and adults are safe when they are around dogs not only at the park, but anywhere.

Jenny Falvey with Dog Smart Unleashed taught sessions for children and adults on how to properly pet and approach a dog, and on bite prevention.

“It is important to teach people how to approach a dog, especially children. There are situations where a strange dog may approach you and you need to know what to do,” Falvey said.

She said in some situations, when a person smiles and shows teeth, some dogs may sense bearing of teeth as a threat.

Falvey said when approached by a dog, a person should stand still since dogs will chase someone who is running. She said if a dog is sniffing, a person should keep hands away from the dog’s face.

“I tell people not to make eye contact with the dog,” Falvey said.

She said children often hug a dog or touch a dog that makes the dog uncomfortable.

Falvey said she teaches children separately since they tend to do things that adults do not when approached by a dog.

“The more people understand about dogs the less problems will occur,” she said.

Ugo Scarnecchia of the Friends of the Mosquito Lake Dog Park said dogs and owners should be able to interact at the park. He said plans are to have seniors from Shepherd of the Valley attend the park to watch and see the dogs.

He said people learn not to get in a dog’s space and to supervise children when interacting with dogs, including family pets.

Falvey said advice with children and dogs includes:

• Children should be taught not to approach a dog that does not belong to them;

• Children need to stand still and freeze if a dog is bothering them or frightening them or a strange dog approaches;

• If you have a dog, train it to enjoy the presence of children;

• Teach children not to hug a dog or approach a dog while it is eating or sleeping;

• Children should not tease a dog.