You have to be watchful when dogs play and interpret their dog behavior correctly. Especially if you have children – of any age.
This is not just to protect the children – but to protect the dog as well.
Yesterday, Tyler decided to take the leap – over the back fence and into my neighbor’s yard where 2 boys were playing ball. The temptation was just too much for him and he went sailing over the chain link without warning.
It was a hot, muggy day – very unusual here for this time of year, but I love it. Tyler probably doesn’t like it, but he gets so enthusiastic at times that he just doesn’t notice.
As you can imagine, boys can be extremely animated and active. They have so much energy sometimes that they can even tire out a healthy dog like Tyler.
When I arrived at their place to retreive him, the boys had him running, running, running. Tyler was ecstatic and couldn’t take his eye off that soccer ball. Even when he felt tired, he quickly went to retrieve the ball.
After about 10-15 minutes, he would grab the ball and run into a shady corner to rest. But the one youngest boy (about 10 years of age) kept going after him, flushing him out. He was unaware of the dog’s condition as Tyler lay panting excessively, his tongue hanging all the way out of his mouth as he tried desperately to cool off.
Still, the boy wanted him to play, despite my telling him that Tyler needed to rest and cool down. Every time he got close, Tyler would run away from him with the ball in his mouth, lie down in the shade, and immediately have to get up and run away again.
I became quite concerned about him because he was very hot. The blood vessels in his face were bulging. And he had no water. And when I told the boy that I was going to take Tyler home, he wanted to pull him on the leash as he had done last time Tyler escaped into his yard.
Pulling him on the leash meant running around the yard forcing the dog to run to keep up to the tight leash – an act that caused me to feel extremely bad for Tyler he looked stressed during this “game”.
The were several issues with this scenario –
1) Tyler could have had a seizure from heat exhaustion
2) He could have become agitated and bitten the boy
Now, Tyler has never tried such a thing, but even the friendliest and calmest dog has the potential to snap out in circumstances like this.
Don’t get me wrong. This seems like a very nice boy. He just didn’t get it.
So this is a warning to dog owners – please teach your children to heed your dog’s condition and understand the importance of giving the dog a chance to cool down.
Dog behavior when dogs play can turn quickly, given the right situation. And the last thing we want is for your child to get bitten or your dog to get sick.