Children are more prone to dog bites than adults. Their lack of full motor control, high pitch voices, and tendency to hit and bite things themselves make them a threatening group of species to contend with. Even their small sizes play a role since dogs can interpret small children as a different kind of dog or even prey! Here are some tips to prevent children from getting a dog bite.
Babysit Both Child And Dog
Never leave your child and dog alone unattended. While your dog may grow used to your child, it won’t get used to your child’s unpredictable behavior. Small children are prone to hit a dog at a moment’s notice and the dog may interpret this behavior as threatening.
Teach Your Children To Play Nice
You can significantly reduce the risk of a dog bite by enforcing a “No Rough Play” rule. Older male children may approach dogs as their personal wrestling buddies, but you must not encourage or allow this kind of play to continue. It’s too dangerous. If you’ve ever seen two dogs play fight with each other, then you’ve probably noticed that they play by some sort of canine-fighting rules we’re not aware of. When those rules are broken, biting starts even if it begins with a disciplinarian nip.
Teach The Child How To Pet
You must teach the very young to pet a dog’s body instead of its head. And you must enforce a gentle touch. Toddlers seemingly bang, slap, and pull their way around an environment, and it’s a harmless way to interact with non-animate things. When it comes to dogs, however, bangs, slaps, and pulls are threatening reasons to bite. Teach your child how to gently place a hand on the animal’s back and slowly move the hand back and forth. You can also teach the child how to speak to the dog in a low tone while doing so. Low toned speaking is calming to a dog.
Teach Respect – Not Fear
You can teach a child to respect a dog without teaching him to fear it. A child’s fear of dogs could actually worsen an already apprehensive situation with the child’s screaming and run away from one. Remember that some dogs interpret running children as prey.
Stay Above The Dog
Another thing to watch for and avoid is a child’s tendency to get at a dog’s level. Never let your child place himself below or at the same height of a dog’s face. And don’t let your child place his face into a dog’s face or stare into the dog’s eyes. This too is threatening behavior which violates a canine rule that we humans just don’t understand.
Properly React To A Threatening Dog
It’s important to teach your children how to handle a threatening dog in the event that you’re not around to protect them. The basic procedure is as follows:
- Never run and never turn them back into a dog.
- Don’t attempt to stare a dog down.
- Slowly back away from the dog.
- Tell (not yell at) the dog to go home.
- Fall down to the ground and curl into a protective ball if the dog charges at the child. Stress the importance of protecting the face and neck. If the child has a backpack or something
similar, she must place it between her and the dog to avoid abdominal injury.