Dogs Do Bite – Teaching Your Child How Not to be Bitten
Whether you have a dog at present or whether you plan to get one for your household in the near future it is important that you teach your children what they need to do in order to avoid getting bitten. Even if you have no pets your children will be in contact with dogs at some point in time and need to be taught how to properly behave around them.
Dogs do not bite for any reason. Most often it happens because they are provoked in some manner and feel the need to defend themselves. This is natural instinct kicking in. When they do bite it is most often because they are fearful of being harmed.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that almost five million people are bitten annually by dogs in the United States. Children are three times more likely than adults to suffer a serious dog bite. The good news is that dog bites are largely preventable. It is necessary to educate your kids to avoid the possibility that a dog will bite them.
How do you do this?
Tell your children to ask for an owner’s permission to pet their dog before they go ahead and just do it
If the owner says it is okay then make it clear to your child that he or she should approach the dog in a quiet and calm manner and should take slow steps when getting close to the animal. Let the dog sniff you before you touch him. This will let you know if he is being responsive to you. If he is then pet his head, back or sides in a manner that is friendly, gentle and non-threatening.
When a dog is eating, sleeping or playing with a toy leave him alone
When he is occupied with an activity or is resting this is not the time to bother him. Teach your children that. Dogs tend to be very protective of their food as well as their toys. If they think someone is trying to take something that is theirs away from them they may bite. The same can be said if they are startled or frightened. Explain to your child that just as he or she does not like to be bothered or disturbed during meal times, play or while asleep, the same can be said for a dog.
Educate your child about the territorial nature of dogs.
Instruct your son or daughter to not try to pet a dog that is in a yard or behind a fence or one that is in a motor vehicle with the window down. Dogs are protective of what is theirs and will do everything in their power to protect their personal space. It is important to heed this warning to prevent getting bit.
Other Important Points
To prevent your child from suffering from a dog bite tell him or her that it is never a good idea to walk up to a dog that he/she does not know on the street and try to pet it. Children should stay away from stray dogs. Often these dogs are hungry or lost and are not likely to be in a congenial type of mood. If the dog approaches the child then he or she should remain calm and still. A sudden move or too much exuberance may scare the dog and can cause the child to be bitten.
It is a commonly held belief that a wagging tail means that a dog is friendly and receptive to attention. While this is sometimes the case, it is not a diehard rule.
When meeting a new dog at a friend or neighbor’s home you should never rush at the animal for any reason. Instead let the dog come to you and sniff you before you reach out your hand to touch him or her. It is through smell that a dog starts to become acquainted with a stranger. Your scent is one of the factors a dog uses to determine if they want to come closer to you or not.