MADISON – After extensively working with dogs, Melissa Cox has authored a children’s coloring book, “How to Safely Greet Dogs.”
“My father was a three-time world champion dog handler and trainer. I grew up in a multi-dog environment and was taught very young how to handle myself around strange dogs,” Melissa said.
However, she often observes children who approach dogs incorrectly, which can be dangerous. She hopes the book will be a conversation piece
between parents and children on safe introductions.
In addition, Melissa and husband Mike Cox own Petz Carlton, a home-based business offering an alternative to traditional boarding. Petz Carlton has three home sites in Madison for owners to take their dogs for care.
To download the coloring book, visit petzcarltonpack.com and click the logo for “How to Safely Greet Dogs.” Nathan Payne illustrated the book.
The Coxes offer free printing on request for school demonstrations. “We’ll bring the book’s stars Kya, our Irish Wolfhound, and Lily, our Shih Tzu, and give children the chance to practice the illustrated techniques,” Melissa said.
Both children and adults make common mistakes when meeting dogs:
* Reaching out your hand for the dog to sniff provides a hand to bite if the dog feels threatened.
* Approaching by curving our walk to their side, so as not to be intimidating especially to a leashed dog.
* Approaching a service dog or a dog with a yellow ribbon on his leash. A yellow ribbon indicates the dog is sick or in training.
* Misjudging a dog’s distrust, even before a growl.
* Patting a dog’s head. (After meeting a dog, only gently stroke the dog’s side.)
“Always ask the owner before approaching their dog. Some dogs … may fear children, tall men or large hats. Kneel, turn your side to the pup and allow the dog to solicit the meet,” Melissa said. “Any breed (can) experience anxiety and bite out of fear.”
State Farm approached the Coxes about sponsoring school visits. “Dog bites are one top claim on homeowner’s insurance. They believe the coloring book can help reduce that statistic,” Melissa said.
For information, call 256-682-4078 or visit petzcarltonpack.com or Facebook/Petz Carlton.