A 2-month-old infant died Monday morning after the baby was mauled by a young Labrador retriever, authorities are reporting.
Labs are the most common registered dog in the country, according to the American Kennel Club. They account for 15 percent of all dog registries, according to the AKC 21st Century Dog Owner Study. “The gentle, intelligent and family-friendly Labrador Retriever … continues to be the most popular breed in the United States,” according to the AKC Web site. “Because of his even temperament and trainability millions of Americans own a Labrador Retriever as a pet.”
But even the friendliest animals have the capacity to bite. Half of all children in America will be bitten by a dog by their 12th birthdays, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Dogs can be afraid of or threatened by new family members. Martin Guerra of DogManngers.com says pet owners must prepare their dogs for a new baby and then continue honing behavior after the child has arrived. Here’s what Martin suggests should be done before the baby even arrives:
- - Train your dog to obey basic commands.
- - Eliminate any nipping tendencies.
- - Introduce your dog to as many babies as possible.
- - Allow your dog to sniff a blanket the baby has been using at the hospital.
While all dog bites and attacks cannot be prevented, parents can educate older children about animal safety. The ASPCA offers these tips:
- - Don’t make prolonged eye contact.
- - Don’t tease.
- - Don’t approach chained dogs.
- - Don’t touch dogs running loose.
- - Report loose dogs.
- - Don’t scream or panic if a dog approaches.
- - Stand still if a dog approaches.
- - Don’t touch or approach an eating dog.
- - Don’t touch or approach a sleeping dog.
- - Ask an owner’s permission before petting a dog.
- - Allow a dog to sniff the back of the hand before petting.
Look for a special Pet Show podcast with Dr. Rick Hufnagel of Westbrook Animal Hospital in Edmond. The podcast about vicious dogs and safety will be posted Monday afternoon.
Staff Writer Carrie Coppernoll