A child who grows up with a dog companion will learn the joys of a dog and having a family pet. However, they may not ever really get the chance to learn the dangers of dogs that are not kid-friendly. It’s important to teach children the key signs of dog body language and to be cautious when approaching new dogs to prevent bites. A dog may bite if he/she feels anxious or threatened, so teaching a child to be calm and give a dog its space is the first step toward success.
- Children should not be left alone with a dog and should be kept away from dogs that are eating or caring for puppies.
- Always ask the owner’s permission before approaching an unfamiliar dog. The dog owner, who is the most in tune with their pet’s behavior, will best be able to gauge their pet’s reaction.
- Children should not make direct eye contact with unfamiliar dogs as the dog can perceive it as a challenge.
- Teach your child not to tease a dog, such as pulling its tail or ears.
- If a dog shows signs of aggression such as growling or snarling, the child should turn around and slowly walk away.
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the US and children that are most likely to get bitten are between ages 5 and 9. With a little bit of education and practice, parents and dog owners can help reduce the number of dog bites.
Do you have any tips to add?