We’re the first to admit that at our firm, we’re dog people. Dogs can be the best pets, the best companions, and of course fantastic watch dogs. Dogs can be wonderful for children as well. Dogs offer friendship and unconditional love for kids and adults alike. Research has even found that when children are raised around dogs, they can be less prone to allergies, which is a major benefit.
Unfortunately, dogs are still animals and sometimes children don’t understand that not all dogs are nice. They don’t know that some dogs have not been socialized, or that they have been mistreated by their humans so they don’t trust people and they display aggressive behaviors. When children are confronted by a dangerous dog, they don’t always know what to do and in effect, an unsuspecting child can be viciously attacked.
“To reduce the number of injuries from dog bites, adults and children should be educated about bite prevention, and dog owners should practice responsible dog ownership,” according to the ASPCA. The ASPCA goes on to explain the importance of understanding dog body language, as this is one of the best ways to prevent a dog bite before it happens.
“Know the signs that dogs give to indicate that they’re feeling anxious, afraid, threatened or aggressive,” the ASPCA warned.
- An aggressive dog may try to do things to look bigger than they are, such as perk their ears up, or cause the fur on their back and tail to stand straight up. The dog may growl, show their teeth, bark, or lunge. Teach children not to approach a dog displaying aggressive behavior.
- Scared or anxious dogs will try to look smaller, but don’t be fooled. If a child approaches a scared dog, the dog may growl or bite if they feel threatened. Make sure children keep their distance from scared dogs.
- Dogs can let out mixed signals when they’re scared or anxious. If a dog is going back and forth between growling, barking and wagging their tail, realize the dog is not necessarily being friendly. If a dog is acting anxious or aggressive, ignore the friendly signs because the dog may bite.
Being Safe Around Dogs
Parents, teach your children to never approach a dog when he or she is eating, sleeping, caring for puppies, or chewing on a toy or bone. If a dog is barking, scared, or growling, teach your children to keep their distance.
Make sure your child understands that he or she should not pet a dog without asking the owner’s permission first. Lastly, remember that dogs are protective of their spaces. If they are behind a fence, on their property, or in a car, they may be aggressive, so teach your children not to pet dogs in these situations.