Dog trainer shares safe ways to interact with unfamiliar dogs

Dog trainer shares safe ways to interact with unfamiliar dogs
Published: Sep. 21, 2015 at 9:51 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2015 at 1:07 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Two small children are recovering from dog bites after a scary incident at Farmer's Market in Marion Square on Saturday.

The dog involved was a rescue from the Charleston Animal Society, and attending the crowded, public event with it's foster owner in hopes of finding a permanent adoptive family.

Witnesses on scene told Charleston Police the two attacks seemed unprovoked, and happened out of no where. However, a local dog trainer says there are signs easy to spot in a dog before it attacks. That is, if you know what those signs are.

"The less movement there is the more danger there is, because they're being really still trying to present themselves as confident," said Charlie Freeman, Owner of Dog Daze.

The local dog expert has been training dogs, big and small, for years. He says its important to recognize when a dog is feeling threatened, by looking at it's body language.

"Dogs will flare the back of their neck, ears will come up and forward, their tail will be perfectly erect and very stiff," said Freeman.

Freeman says he's watched as Charleston has become a more dog friendly city, over the years.

More and more, there are restaurants and events that allow your dog to be with you. As run-ins with unfamiliar dogs increase, Freeman says our understanding of them should too.

"A lot of people want to stick their face in a dogs face and that's just basically feeding yourself to the dog," said Freeman.

Freeman says it's important to approach dogs the right way, by letting them smell the palm of your hand first.

When it comes to kids and dogs, Freeman says education and supervision is the key.

"You gotta pay attention to what your child's doing and what your dog's doing," said Freeman. "You don't want kids to be very physical with the dogs, you definitely don't want to approach them eyeball to eyeball."

Freeman says that for dogs, approaching them head-on can come off as a challenge.

There's no doubt dogs can be man's best friend, but Freeman says don't forget - they're still animals.

The year old Boxer/Rottweiler mix involved in the Farmer's Market incident is in a 10 day quarantine at the Charleston Animal Society.  
Shelter official tells us it had no history of aggression but in most cases involving an unprovoked dog bite, that animal will be put down.

You can read more about the story here.

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