Children, with their innate curiosity and often fearless approach, may not always understand the risks associated with unfamiliar dogs. Whether at a park, on a walk or during a visit to a friend’s house, education is key to preventing potential dog bite incidents.
The strategies teach children what to do and what not to do. By understanding and respecting a dog’s space and signals, children can enjoy safe and positive experiences with dogs they meet outside their homes.
Approaching unknown dogs
One of the first lessons in dog safety is teaching children not to approach unfamiliar dogs without permission. Children should always ask the dog’s handler if they can pet the dog and to come slowly and calmly if given permission. They must understand that not all dogs are comfortable with strangers. Some may react negatively to unsolicited attention.
Respecting a dog’s space
Children should be taught to respect a dog’s personal space and to understand that dogs, like people, have boundaries that should not be crossed. They should learn not to approach a dog eating, sleeping or caring for puppies because those dogs can be more prone to biting.
Recognizing warning signs
Educating children on the warning signs of an uncomfortable or aggressive dog is crucial. Teach them to recognize behaviors like growling, baring teeth, stiff body posture or raised hackles. Children should understand that these signs mean they should slowly back away.
Avoiding rough play
Children should be taught not to play rough or tease any dog. Such actions can provoke a dog, potentially leading to a bite. This includes not taking a dog’s toys, food, or treats and not engaging in games that involve chasing or wrestling.
When dogs are pets, it’s up to the owner to ensure the dog is well-socialized. This can prevent dog bites. If a pet dog bites, seeking compensation from the owners is possible to help the victim recover the costs associated with the bite. This includes medical expenses and lost wages for the parent if a child is the victim.