I got bit by a dog wearing a harness.


I have written about how important it is to choose the right collar for a dog, and how bad prong or ‘pinch’ collars are for the average dog.  Many veterinarians  suggest  harnesses, so the dog’s trachea doesn’t become collapsed when he pulls the owner, but this doesn’t  solve the problem of the dog pulling the owner, or the consequences of  what happens when a dog pulls.  What happened was I had a very stressed out dog come in for grooming, and neither the owner nor I knew how stressed out he was at the time.  I  wasn’t fast enough.  He was so scared.

He came in to  be groomed, first time client.  The client  had just moved to the neighborhood.

He was a cute little Cockapoo, and he came out of the cage just fine, because he was still wearing his harness with a leash.  But I  clipped his hair, bathed him, & put him in a crate to dry, and when I went to get him out, he  freaked out (not unusual),  reared up, bit me—badly, jumped out of the crate,  ran around & shit all over, & then had a seizure.

I called his owner, & his owner came & held him while I finished the grooming, and  told me that they had moved  twice in 3 months,& they were stressed, & as a result, the dog was stressed.

It happens.  Dogs can take a lot of stress. They manifest it in different ways. Some lose weight. Some get diarrhea. Some chew their hair. Some  can only take so much change & then  freak out.

Well, the little guy got me good on the knuckle, and although I flushed it, it probably should have been stitched.  I have a $10,000 deductible insurance policy. I  didn’t want to pay $500 for a dog bite….but here’s what happened:

It would not heal.  I went & got a tetanus shot at Walgreen’s ($65) & neosporin &  bandages with anti-biotic (another $10), but   it was not getting scabbed & it was swollen).  A friend —an emergency room nurse,  looked at it, and told me to go to CVS to see the nurse practitioner….which I did, but they don’t deal with dog bites.

So, I had to go see my doctor. That was  $150 to say hello. She gave me a prescription of Amoxicillan ($40).  My friend warned me about getting  a yeast infection. Sure enough. Monostat ($10)

This was about three months ago. I would like to see the little dog again, but chances are, his people will go to another groomer, & the little guy will have to adjust to yet another personality.

Could this have been avoided?  Probably.  But we groomers assume we are NOT going to be bitten, and stuff happens.  You just have to be prepared. I will say this:  had the dog been walked on a regular buckle collar (or martingale) and leash, I know that would have lessened the chance of  my being bit. How?  When a dog is on a collar and leash, he receives cues from the owner/dog walker. When he is in a harness,  he isn’t getting those cues, and he has to make more decisions on his own, and this is extremely stressful for dogs.

We see this all the time:  owners tell us their dogs pull all over the place. Right. Because the dog is not getting the cue from the owner —-for where the owner wants to lead the dog. So, the dog has to lead—and the dog doesn’t know where to go.

“But his neck!”  Right—and this is why it is so very important to take the time to train the dog to walk on a leash without pulling. If you practice just five minutes 2 or 3 times a day for a couple of days, your dog will get it. Save him from freaking out!

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