Here’s what some PMP Magazine contributors suggest as ways to protect you and your technicians from dog bites while on service calls:
Stuart Aust: We always ask a new client whether they have a dog or cat prior to providing the inspection. This information is added to the daily inspection report, as well as the permanent notes once they become a client. If the client has a dog or cat, we ask them to put their pets in a room we are not servicing.
Dr. Austin Frishman: When servicing multi-unit housing facilities, get a superintendent or a maintenance person to go with you, and send that person into the unit first. You can’t always get that person, so if you’re alone, knock on the door and listen. If you hear a dog, don’t open that door. If you don’t hear a bark, open the door slowly. Put your shoe in the door and wiggle it. If you get attacked by a dog, pull back your foot and close the door. Don’t go in to do the service call. Some dogs will bite on your way out the door, so back out the door as you leave. Be sure to record on the service slip that a dog is at a client’s location. Don’t pet a dog unless someone says it’s OK. Finally, if you handle rodenticide, don’t touch a cat or a dog.
Paul Hardy: Our daughter, Teresa Hardy Richardson — a technician with 30-plus years of experience — carries treats for pets. When she starts with new customers, she makes friends with their pets. Even the “bad dogs” are pleased to see her each visit!
Dr. Doug Mampe: Make sure the dog is secured before entering the property by talking to the property owner. If you are not sure, carry a can of Mace.
Eric Scherzinger: First, walk around the house. Don’t just look for a fence and a dog. Look for other conditions that would make treatment impossible. Also, it is important to include in the permanent account notes whether customers have a friendly dog. We even make a point to put the dog’s name in the notes, because that’s just good customer service.
Kurt Scherzinger: The best way to protect yourself from dog bites when on service calls is to always be aware of your surroundings. If you’re going into a yard and you are unaware whether an animal is present, make noises to startle it before walking on the property.
Pete Schopen: We have a lot of garage codes and keys for our clients’ homes. If my techs notice that a dog is running around inside, they cannot enter the home unless they have been formally introduced to the dog by the client. Even then, we leave it up to our tech’s discretion.
Dr. Stephen Vantassel: Ask clients whether they have dogs on the premises, and carry treats.
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