As someone who has a small child, one of the things that you need to teach them early on is how to interact with dogs. Even family pets and friends’ pets may have negative reactions to children who pull on their ears, lay on them or invade their space.
It is important never to leave a child unsupervised with a dog, even if it’s only for a short time. In that time, it’s possible that the dog could become aggressive, and there would be no one present to stop an attack or to provide supervision.
Talking to your children about dog safety rules makes a difference. Here are five rules that all children should be taught before interacting with family pets or other dogs.
1. Ask to pet a dog
The first tip is to teach your children to ask before petting any strange dog. Whether it’s a friend’s dog, an aunt or uncle’s pet or one at a park, they should always ask before petting the dog. Some dogs are not friendly with new people, and others must be pet in specific ways. Reaching out for a dog that doesn’t know them could lead to a bite.
2. Don’t put your face near the dog’s face
Another rule to teach children is to avoid putting their face too close to the dog’s face. If the dog does become aggressive or snap, the face is the last area that you want the dog to nip.
3. Don’t give dogs hugs
While some dogs like to be hugged, not all of them do. Many perceive a hug as an act of aggression, which can mean that a child could be bitten despite their good intentions.
4. Allow dogs to approach first
Teach your child to allow dogs to approach them first. They should not make eye contact, and they should allow the dog to sniff them before considering petting the animal.
5. Play nice
Finally, teach children to play nice. Even the friendliest dog could bite or lash out if a child is screaming, jumping, punching or otherwise disturbing the dog. If the dog walks away, don’t follow it. Give it space and treat it the way you’d like to be treated.
These are five tips to help prevent dog bite injuries. If a bite does occur, the pet’s owner may be responsible for any medical expenses that occur.