Safe Kids/Safe Dogs Project
(Linked with permission from Karen Peak and West Wind Dog Training
Every year 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs; 60% of those victims are children. For children who spend more time outdoors, it's important to teach them how to behave around neighborhood dogs and their own pets.
Teach Children to:
Ask permission from a dog's owner before petting the dog.
NEVER approach an unfamiliar dog
If a dog approaches to sniff you -- STAY STILL. In most cases the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.
If threated by a dog, REMAIN CALM. Avoid eye contact. Back away slowly.
If knocked to the ground, curl into a ball, cover head and face with arms. DO NOT RUN AND SCREAM. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things. Don't give a dog a reason to become excited or aggressive.
NEVER tease or play too rough with a dog.
NEVER disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies.
NEVER play with a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first. This is important social etiquette in the dog's world.
To Prevent Dog Bites:
NEVER EVER leave infants or children alone with a dog. ALWAYS supervise children when they play with dogs
Be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations.
Carefully consider your pet selection. Research behavior and suitability.
Make sure your pet is socialized so it feels at ease around people and other animals. If you are not sure how your dog will react to a large crowd or a busy street, be cautious. DON'T PUT YOUR DOG IN A POSITION WHERE IT FEELS THREATENED OR TEASED!!
Follow leash laws. DO NOT let dogs run loose -- a dog is less likely to bite if its owners train it to interact with people and take it to obedience classes. Training your dog builds confidence in your dog and a stronger bond between owner and pet.
DO NOT play agressive games with your dog. Your dog doesn't logistically differentiate between playing agressively with you or someone else.
Keep your dog healthy -- an unnoticed injury can make a dog aggressive. Good health is important to how your dog feels and behaves.
NEUTER your pet! It's a fact: Neutered dogs are less likely to bite. Be a responsible pet owner!
Dogs are social animals; spending time with your pet is important. Dogs that are frequently left alone have a greater chance of developing behavior problems.
Be ALERT! Know your dog. You naturally would be alert to signs of illness, but you must also watch for signs your dog is stressed, uncomfortable or feeling threatened.
Most dog bites happen to dog owners, their family and friends. As a result of animal bites like these, thousands of reconstructive surgeries are performed by board-certified plastic surgeons annually.
Children and adults should know that EVERY dog, no matter how friendly, has the capacity to bite.
To learn more on dog behavior and what makes dogs "tick," read Jean Donaldson's book "The Culture Clash!" To learn more on being attuned to a dog's body language (what the dog is telling you), "Calming Sigals" by Turid Rugass is a must have. Both of these books are given a 5 paw rating by dog lovers and trainers alike!
www.dogwise.com carries both of these books.
Children and Dogs: Important Information for Parents