Dogs are said to be our best friend. They are known for their loyalty. Children tend to get excited by dogs and want to pet them. The American Veterinary Medical Association conducted research regarding dog bites. They report that over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year. Of these dog bite victims, children are the most common.
You can help minimize the number of dog bites by properly training your own dog. You can also help by educating your child about how to properly approach dogs.
You should help train your dog with these steps so that they are more approachable:
- Socialize your dog as soon as possible. This will help your dog become comfortable around other people and animals.
- Avoid games that teach your dog to wrestle, bite or pull. These types of games could trigger your dog to react with these movements in situations that are inappropriate.
- Avoid situations where your dog feels threatened. Make choices with your dog in mind. Do not put your dog in a situation where they become scared or threatened. They may act aggressively as a result.
- Exercise your dog. When in public, use a proper leash so you know you have control. Exercise and mental stimulation can keep your dog happy and healthy.
- Teach your dog basic commands. These can be useful both inside the home and out in public.
You should teach your children these steps on how to approach a dog they do not know:
- Your child should always look for the owner of the dog. Teach your child to always ask permission before approaching the dog. They should never approach a dog that is tied up without an owner present.
- Teach your child to be calm and reinforce that they should not make any quick, sudden movements.
- Do not let your child rush up on a dog with their hand out. They should approach a dog from its side and at the dog’s eye level. Your child should then stop and let the dog come to them.
- Have your child squat down to the same level of the dog. Tell them to pet the dog’s sides and chest rather than the head. Towering over the dog and petting its head from above could scare the dog.
- Reiterate that not every dog is meant to be your child’s friend. You don’t want your child to be afraid of dogs, but teach them to read a dog’s posture before approaching.
- Tell your child not to approach a dog that is sleeping, eating or near its puppies. Dogs want their own time just like humans.