“I was bitten by an Old English Sheepdog,” Penny Layne relates during her seminar. “The owners were present in the room. I was placing a harness on the dog while in a sideways position. The dog grabbed my wrist when I went to pick up the leash off the floor, and he also went further up my arm and bit me,” she describes.
Penny managed to get free from that bite and sidle away, but not for long as the sizable dog came after her again.
Find out how a person with 20 years of experience with dogs decreased the injuries she sustained and managed to get away safely—and how to decrease your own chances of being attacked or bitten when encountering dogs in everyday situations.
“It’s all about learning canine body language, or ‘learning to speak “dog” ’, as I call it,” Penny says. “It’s ‘Human Education for Fur Parents’ because you can’t influence a dog unless you know what the dog is thinking, just like with kids.”
Whether you are at home with your own dog, working with someone else’s dog or simply encountering dogs even if you don’t own one, everyone can take away valuable information from this seminar that tells you how dogs see and react to other dogs, to children and adults, and to certain physical situations. Her seminars have even been assisting police officers in understanding dogs they encounter while on duty.
As a dog trainer, Penny’s approach to training dogs has as much—or more—to do with training humans. Penny uses only positive and effective training methods to work with dogs as well as people. She has a 20-year background through her work with service dogs, working in a vet hospital and owning a boarding, grooming, training and breeding kennel and then branching into Aunt Penny’s Pet Sitting and Dog Training. Penny is an Advanced Certified Pet Tech, a certified professional dog trainer, a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and member of International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals.
A dog’s aggressive behavior may seem to “come out of the blue” with no warning, but dogs nearly always give warning signals—the trick for humans is how to recognize even the most subtle indication that either their dog or another’s is feeling stressed enough to react physically to a situation. The seminars teach about a dog’s body language which dog owners and those in contact with dogs can know to look for and determine what to do to avoid actual physical contact, which is the goal of Aunt Penny’s introductory classes.
“Have you ever seen how two dogs greet each other?” Penny asks early in the seminar. “Even if they know each other, they don’t usually come face to face but circle each other, and don’t make eye contact right away.
“And what do we do? We run right up to the dog, lean over it, hold our hands over its face and pat it on the head, all actions that can and often are interpreted as threatening to a dog,” she explains, and demonstrates with one of her assistants, turning sideways and circling with her eyes averted in the safest way to approach a dog.
“If dogs growl, we tell them to stop and we’ve taken away their best and safest means of communication because the bite response is next,” Penny explained. “But even before that, with training, a person would notice rapid eye blinking, or a yawn that seemed inappropriate,” Penny explained as she mimicked a dog’s exaggerated yawn. “The dog is very clearly telling you in many ways ‘I’m really stressed and trying to be good’, or ‘You really need to chill!’ before it even gets close to the bite response.”
Unfortunately physical and emotional injuries often occur and too often dogs considered aggressive are euthanized.
The seminars are two hours long, packed with detailed information given in Penny’s good-natured style with a slide show to accompany each of her points. Questions are welcomed during and after the presentation. These seminars are for people, however, not for dogs, so please leave your pets at home.
The introductory seminar covers:
- how to approach a dog
- how to defuse a threatening dog
- differences with a single dog attack versus pack attack
- items to better prepare for an encounter with a dog
- what to do if you witness an attack
Penny will also offer some suggestions on how to work with aggressive dogs, but most of the class will focus on dealing with example situations and how to respond. If you have a specific dog training issue, that’s best addressed in a private session with Penny.
If you have a group or facility and would like to host a class in Dog Safety, or if you would like to sponsor a class, please contact Penny Layne at (724) 515-7790.