Just got this in the mail. Adorable right? Not to us dog pros!
Let me say, right off the bat, that I love this company. Love their focus on dogs as part of the family and on using customer photos on their catalogs. I'm a long-time Orvis customer, which is why I get their catalog.
However, this cover models behavior that gets kids bitten.
In the face.
Our human patten of approaching the ones we love and shoving our faces together to kiss is not one shared by dogs. In fact, that can be seen by dogs as rude at best and an attack at worst.
Here is the cover:
Now, look more closely.
Notice the direct stare from the dog to the child. Bad. That is not, what we call in the biz, a "soft" look. That is a hard stare. Hard, blank stares are as bad in dogs as they are in humans.
Notice how the whiskers are flared forward. Bad. The whiskers flare forward when the dog is bunching up the muscles in the front of the muzzle. And that happens when the dog is unhappy and considering growling, snapping or biting. I watch for whisker flare in the dogs I handle; taking it as a clear warning sign of a dog who is considering aggression.
Clearly this child adores this dog. And clearly this dog has and does tolerate this child. But that tolerance best not be confused with enjoying what is being done to him. From this picture, it looks like he does not.
Every year, thousands of people get seriously bitten; mostly children, mostly boys, mostly on the face and hands. This could be a picture of the 1/2 second before such a bite happens.Thankfully, it wasn't. This time.
Companies, please seek some professional review when selecting photos to represent your brand. This is adorable, yes, but it is also dangerous; made more so by its charming appeal. How many kids will do this to their dog, "just like in the picture."
I hope none.
Here is a discussion on Muzzle Bunching and Whisker Flares with video clips illustrating them. Hope you find these helpful.
For more of Child/Dog Safety and Bite Prevention:
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Best to you and your family.
by Sarah Wilson