Dogs not only act as companions but also playing mates and best friends for our kids. That’s why kids love them so much. While this is a good thing, it’s equally important that we as parents teach our children how to respect dogs. Why am I saying this? About 4.5 million people in America are bitten by dogs yearly, with a half of them being children. According to CDC, 1 in every 5 dog bites usually result in serious injuries that require medical attention. This shows just how important teaching our kids about dog bite prevention is.
How many times have you gone to the park and seen children pulling the tail of a strange dog or hugging, poking, teasing, yelling or trying to climb on them? It’s understandable because they’re children. However, what they may not know is that dogs also have feelings; they get hurt and frustrated just like humans. This means that if you push them too far (beyond their limits), they’ll react. Usually, the reaction is in the form of a bite or a growl.
You certainly don’t want your dog to bite other people and neither do you want your kids to be bitten by your own dog or strange dogs our there. To prevent such cases, all dog owners should be responsible for ensuring that their dogs are well socialized, well trained and under control. In addition, all parents and guardians should also teach their kids on the basic rules of respecting dogs. The earlier this is done the better.
Understanding Canine Body Language – Warning Signs Of A Distressed Dog
Most dog bites often happen out of fear or frustration. Because of this, it pays to teach your children about the warning signs to look out for in a dog to prevent potential bites. Here are some common signs that show that a dog is distressed or uncomfortable:
- Licking lips
- Raised fur on the dog’s back
- Showing teeth
- Looking in different directions
- Tucked tail between legs
Simple Dog Bite Prevention Tips You Should Teach Your Kids
The best you can do as a dog owner and a parent is to supervise your kids’ interaction with dogs to prevent potential accidents. However, it’s not possible to be in control of the situation all the time. So, teaching them about these basic guidelines will go a long way in preventing dog bites:
- Never climb a fence to go to a dog in a yard. Respect his personal space.
- Before petting a strange dog, always ask for the owner’s permission first if it’s okay to approach and play with him.
- Respect dogs. Never climb on their back to ride them, pull their tail, ears or fur, step on them or poke their eyes. Certain dogs can’t tolerate being pulled or poked for long.
- Be gentle and calm when petting dogs. If possible, avoid getting too close to their faces or hugging.
- Stand still when approached by a strange dog. Jumping at the dog, running around or yelling at him will only excite him further to chase after you.
- Don’t play with a dog when he’s caring for his puppies, playing with his toy, sleeping or eating.
Hopefully, you’ll discuss the above tips with your kids to protect them from potential dog bites.