Most dogs are friendly and well meaning. However, even the sweetest pup can bite with the right provocation. If a dog feels threatened, they can bite in self-defense. They may bite if they feel scared or startled, or if they feel that you are trying to take something valuable away from them – such as their puppy or a bone.
Many adults understand how to interact safely with dogs. Young children, however, are more prone to loud outbursts and inadvertently rough behavior – which can quickly send a dog into self-preservation mode. Of the 4.7 million dog bites that occur in the U.S. each year, half of the victims are children between 5 and 9 years old.
In today’s post, we provide some key strategies to help your child avoid a dog bite:
- Make sure your child knows to never approach a dog they don’t know.
- Teach your child to avoid engaging with a dog who is eating or tending to their puppies.
- Encourage your child to avoid making loud noises or sudden movements around dogs. Instead of running up to a dog, the child should let the dog come to them.
- Instruct your child in how to pet a dog properly, using gentle pressure and touching the back of the dog only – unless the dog explicitly welcomes petting in other areas (such as rolling over and exposing their belly).
- Teach your child how to respond to a hostile dog – by staying calm, backing away slowly and avoiding eye contact. Screaming and running away can provoke the dog further.
Suffering a dog bite can be a traumatic experience, especially as a child. Equipping your child with the above techniques can help prevent unnecessary injury.