MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Dog trainers urge dog owners to focus on socializing their pets and training them to be obedient to avoid any aggressive behavior.
Rita Thomas owns Canine Command Center and has been training dogs in the Grand Strand since 1979. She says all dogs can be loving animals if they're raised correctly. Thomas says any breed of dog under stress could attack, if they're not being fed enough, socializing properly, or chained up.
The main thing trainers at Canine Command Center focus on is socializing the dog. The more comfortable your dog is around other animals and people and know you are the boss, the more likely your dog will listen and stay calm under stress.
"Start young and they can get socialized and it gets more enjoyable," said Thomas. "But even if they're not socialized and they're a little bit older, they still need to be introduced into that environment. So again, they don't become fear biters and be a danger to society, basically. So socialization is my key."
If you are trying to introduce your dog to little kids, you want to do it slowly in a controlled environment for the first time. Start by keeping the dog on a leash. Make sure your dog will sit and stay. Then slowly allow the child and parent to approach your dog.
"If they start running off, the dog is likely to chase them," said Thomas. "But if you do it in a controlled manner where the dog will sit, stay, you come up, you shake the owners hand, can I give your dog a treat? And then have the child give the dog a treat. Then if he takes the treat, is it okay if he pets him? And then they can pet the dog. But all in a controlled environment."
And parents should take the opportunity to teach their kids that they should not run up to any strange dog, because that could scare the dog. Teach your child to always ask permission to pet a dog and to not do so without a parent present.
The same though process goes for socializing your dog with other dogs. Instead of taking your dog to a dog park with lots of other new dogs all at once, introduce your dog to one new dog at a time in a controlled environment. Once the dog is comfortable with one, and another furry friend into the mix.