Millions of dog bites occur each year and more than half of the victims are children under the age of 14. Teaching your kids about dog attacks can prevent serious injury at the hand of the neighborhood pooch.
No matter how friendly and harmless you assume a dog is, they can bite a well-meaning child if feeling threatened, agitated, hungry, or if they’re protecting their turf.
Guidelines to teach your children:
- Always ask the owner’s permission before greeting or petting a dog.
- Let the dog sniff them while keeping their arms close to their body.
- Don’t pet the top of the dog’s head as this may be misinterpreted as a play for dominance. Instead, pet their neck or chest gently.
- If the dog becomes angry or begins to bark or snarl, teach your child to stay put. It may seem counterintuitive as the instinct is to run away; however, running may prompt the dog to chase and become more aggressive.
- Teach your child to create a blockade between you and the dog if they are actively being attacked. Any object like a bike, ball, scooter can act as an extra line of defense protecting your child from being bitten. They should also hit the ground, roll into a ball, and be as still as possible.
Although dog attacks are statistically rare, they do happen, especially to very young children who may approach a strange dog without caution. Prepare your children by arming them with the knowledge they’ll need to avoid an attack in the first place.