Safety Tips for Kids and Dogs
Summer is over, the kids are back in school, and suddenly, new friends and playmates are running through your home. Perhaps you take your pup to the soccer fields for games and practices, or your child wants to spend the night with a new friend who has a dog in their home. Sadly, children are the most likely victims of dog bites and they most often require medical attention. So how do we, as parents with or without dogs, keep our children safe? Thankfully, there are several safety tips for kids and dogs we can follow to make sure everyone is kept safe – including your four-legged family member.
- Teach your children the rules. Studies show that education and awareness are the most important tools in dog-bite prevention. Children that understand how to behave around dogs, how to play with dogs, when to leave dogs alone and how to meet a dog are much less likely to be injured. Never touch a strange dog. Never touch a dog that is sick, old, eating or chewing a treat. Never touch a mother dog with puppies. Always ask an adult permission before you touch any dog. Never touch a dog behind a fence or who is tied up. A restrained dog is 3 times ore likely to bite. Do not stare at a dog in the eyes. This behavior is very threatening to a dog and may cause them to react fearfully or defensively.
- Ask new play friends if they are afraid of dogs or have dogs themselves. Fearful or inexperienced children may display inappropriate behaviors or styles of play that may cause the family dog to show fearful or threatening displays. Or, these children may not know to close doors or fences or basic canine family rules. Place your dog in their locked crate with a special chew or take them to playcare when these friends visit.
- If your child is going to a new friend’s home to play, ask if the family has a dog. If so, it is completely appropriate for you to explain your child’s experience or lack of experience with dogs, ask to meet the dog, voice your concern or level of comfort and make a request that the dog be placed away from your child, if necessary. As a mom and a dog owner, I send my German Shepherd to playcare when our child’s friends come to play because some of the parents have expressed concern over her size and breed. While I am ot at all worried about my dog’s behavior, I respect the other parents enough to honor their wishes. I also do not want my dog to get frightened of children due to different play styles or behaviors, so it is a win-win situation for all involved.
- If your dog is showing behavioral issues in relation to children, get help from a qualified professional immediately. This is a serious issue that requires immediate attention.
- Train and socialize your dog appropriately. Well-trained and socialized dogs are less likely to have aggression issues and more likely to be able to cope with new playmates.
- Spay or neuter your dog. According to the American Humane Society, intact dogs are more than 2.6 times more likely to bite than altered dogs. Talk to your veterinarian to schedule an appointment, or contact your local humane organization or animal shelter for information on low-cost spay/neuter assistance.
The relationship between a child and their dog can be one of the most rewarding possible. If you had a dog as a child, then you likely have some great memories about that relationship. Conversely, if you had a bad experience with a dog as a child, you are likely to carry that anxiety toward dogs, or perhaps certain breeds, with you even today.
If you have a child or just know one that could benefit from the rules, tips and advice above, we hope you will share this, and we hope that this information helps them to be able to look back on that dog with loving memories that will stay with them their entire lives.
As always, call K-9 Coach for any of your dog needs. Whether through training, playcare, lodging or grooming, we are always striving to help you develop a lifetime of positive memories with your pup(s).
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Don’t forget, K-9 Coach is offering 10% off all training in August and September