November 05, 2012

by Cheryl Kolus DVM

Category: Reviews

Review: How to Greet a Dog and What to Avoid

Author: Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
Year Published: 2012
Publisher: CattleDog Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9837892-4-6

This is a beautiful, colorful little book filled with cartoon-like drawings that show both correct (outlined in green boxes) and incorrect (outlined in red boxes) ways that people interact with dogs.  The booklet is meant for young children, but I have no doubt that adults reading this with their kids will learn a lot, too.

The booklet reviews eight lessons, including those such as “don’t approach dogs in cars,” “ask for permission when greeting a dog,” and “avoid interacting if a dog looks scared.” Each lesson covers two pages and includes two “incorrect” drawings and one “correct” drawing. The first incorrect drawing illustrates how a person might feel if another person approached with the incorrect behavior (e.g., rushing up to someone); the second incorrect drawing illustrates the same approach showing how a dog would feel. Then the correct drawing shows a good outcome between a person and dog when the appropriate behavior is illustrated (e.g., approaching slowly and calmly). Each box also includes a line or two of text describing what’s happening. Generally, the text is simple and easy for young readers to understand, but there are some words used that would be more appropriate for a higher reading level; for example, “peripheral vision” and “hovering.”

Regardless of reader level, the delightful illustrations alone will help teach appropriate dog-people interactions.  Lili Chin, the illustrator, did a great job in leaving no question as to what the dog or person is thinking.

This booklet is an ideal medium for helping parents, teachers or animal professionals teach children how to read dog body language and interact appropriately with their own dog as well as with strange dogs. Sold in packets of 10, a stack of them should be in every veterinary office. Think of how many dog bites can be prevented if we all take a role in teaching kids how to behave around dogs!

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