Norwin library class teaches how to thwart aggressive dogs
Approximately 4.7 million people are attacked by dogs each year, and half of them are children.
That's one of the statistics that certified professional dog trainer Penny Layne shared at a free canine aggression class at Norwin Public Library Sunday afternoon.
Layne, of North Huntingdon, demonstrated and discussed techniques to identify and diffuse aggressive dog behavior.
“You can only think of what to do with what you have seen,” she said.
Layne said the general public sees behavior such as snarling, growling, and snapping at the air as signs of aggression.
Professionals see the tension in the animal's face andmuscles, its dilated pupils and avoidance, among other signs.
Layne said the two “F” words to remember in regard to aggression are fear and frustration.
She said there are several types of aggression, including territorial, predatory, handling, human and redirected.
Layne said anyone who is bitten by a dog should seek immediate medical attention, and talk to police, the dog warden and, if possible, the owner.
Anyone who witnesses a dog attack should call 911, and try to gain control of the dog.
She suggested having citronella spray, pepper spray, an air horn or an umbrella available in situations where an encounter with an agrresive dog is possible, including while walking with a baby in a stroller.
The umbrella can create space between the dog and the object of its aggression, and the other tools can be used to frighten or force it away.
“Make sure that whatever you have is going to protect whatever you're walking with,” Layne said. “You're never going to outrun a dog.”
She warned that, when dealing with a pack of dogs, your dog may join the group. Packs, she said, will attack people on the ground more readily than a single dog.
Layne showed images of people recovering from attacks. She played videos of what not to do during an attack, and of a reporter being bitten in the face by a lunging police dog.
Plum resident Paul Marino said most people act on instinct when dealing with an animal situation.
“When they do happen, you just have to react to them,” he said.
“Not everything is going to be A, B, C,” Layne said.
Marino, who volunteers at a no-kill animal shelter in New Kensington, said the class was very informative.
“It was interesting to get a different perspective on how to deal with some of the issues,” he said.
Keirstin Rotharmel, 13, of Elizabeth was one of the youngest attendees.
“I learned how to not pull dogs off a person,” Keirstin said.
She and her mother Lisa Rothermel, who was in attendance, are volunteers at the Irwin-area nonprofit animal rescue organization Pet Friends Inc.
“It's for her and me to get more knowledge, just to know what to do in case we're put in that scenario,” Lisa Rothermel said. “Hopefully we will have enough knowledge and won't panic, and know a little bit of what to do to help each other. It's a wonderful class.”
Lisa Rothermel said two things she learned were what to do during a pack attack, and to carry an umbrella when walking with a dog or a stroller.
Sunday's class was sponsored by Royal Dutch Grooming in North Huntingdon.
“Being a pet groomer, we deal with aggression every day,” owner Katelyn McDonough said. “There are different ways we have to recognize (behavior), for the safety of the pets and our selves, and I know there will be a lot of great tips for me and for everyone to learn how to be safe and deal with different aggression.”
Attendees received information about preparing families with dogs for life with babies, and materials to reinforce what they learned at the session.
Penny Layne can be reached by calling 724-515-7790, or by emailing email@example.com,, for more information about dealing with dogs or to attend classes.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport Area, South Allegheny, Elizabeth Forward musicians head to holiday parades
- Former Clairton resident killed
- Membership fees predicted for continued Heritage van use in the Mon Valley
- Lost election inspires South Allegheny student’s clothing project
- Casey supports food donation tax break extension
- Clairton waits for legal opinion on tax resolution
- Sixth Grade Academy work reported on schedule
- Firefighters douse blaze at abandoned house
- Vigil walk to help finish Noah’s Ark
- Holiday tradition continues as Mon Yough Catholic students, Kane McKeesport seniors mingle
- Glassport OKs $3.9M loan for civic projects