Today, a horrible incident happened at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. A whale trainer was grabbed and killed by a Killer Whale, during a show. Having been an alligator wrestler in the past, this is a situation I can relate to, as we always worked with the knowledge that at any moment, we could also be grabbed and hurt. Some of us were.
Why do I bring this up here on a dog training and pet care blog?
As unfortunate as the incident above was, it serves as a reminder that they were working with animals.
Whales are among the smartest and most adaptable animals in the world, but they are still animals.
Whale trainers take a huge risk getting into that water and working with these enormous, powerful creatures.
Dog trainers do as well.
I have been bit during training sessions.
Dog owners take on this risk too. This is something that is sometimes over looked, but it's true. Dogs, no matter how much we try to humanize them, are animals. They are NOT our children, brothers, sisters, etc. They are animals, and potentially dangerous ones at that.
Different scenerios to think about:
Dogs around infants.
There is definitely a jealous streak in the canine world. They get used to the attention we lavish upon them, and suddenly, when another "creature" comes along and becomes the object of everyone's attention (the infant), there can arise a confrontation. Dogs have been known to go after babies. It is very important to properly introduce the dogs to the babies when bringing them home from the hospital. I will be posting a blog on this in the near future, as it is a very important ritual that should be performed for both the dog's and baby's well being.
Dogs on our beds.
Many people have been bit by their dogs as they slept. Why? Because they made the mistake of allowing their pooches to sleep on their beds with them.
This is a no no from a canine's perspective. We do not let them sleep on the bed for their sake, we do it for our own reasons. WE want to hold them, WE want them next to us, WE want to feel safe.
However, the dog sees things differently. They suddenly see themselves as the pack leader, and this becomes THEIR bed. Many clients in the past have told me their dogs growl at them anytime they try to get them off the bed.
Of course they do.
It's now the dog's bed. Why would it want to get off?
The danger comes when the owner is sleeping, and maybe rolls over on the dog, drapes a leg or arm on the dog, or kicks the dog. He/she doesn't realize you are asleep, and a bite occurs.
This could be bad.
Same goes for the couch or living room chairs.
Be very careful allowing the dogs to take over the house, because it can cause an unbalanced and potentially aggressive situation.
In conclusion, let this Seaworld situation remind us that we are dealing with animals. Potentially dangerous animals. Love them. Hug them. Play with them. But never, ever forget to respect them.