Does your child know how to act around dogs? One of the most important lessons to teach your young children is how to behave around dogs to protect themselves in case of an attack.
Here’s what everyone should know, and what parents should teach their kids about canine safety suggested by SalemNews.com:
- Never approach a loose dog, even if he seems friendly
- Dogs who are confined in yard, and especially those dogs on chains, should be avoided
- If a dog is with his owner, children should always ask permission before petting him and then begin by offering him the back of a hand for a sniff – pat the dog on the neck or chest rather than the head, as the dog may interpret that as a gesture of dominance
- Teach your children to avoid fast or jerky movements around dogs as this may trigger predatory behavior
- Be a tree when a threatening dog approaches: stand straight with feet together, fists under the neck and elbows into the check- stay still until the animal walks away, and then back away slowly out of the area
- Teach your children to make NO eye contact with the dog since some dogs view eye contact as a challenge
- Running is a normal response to danger, but it’s the worst possible thing to do around a dog because it triggers the animal’s instinct to chase and bite
- If a threatening dog approaches, “feed” the dog a jacket or backpack if attacked, or use a bike to block the dog. These strategies may keep an attacking dogs teeth from connecting with your flesh
- Act like a log if knocked down: faced down, legs together, curled into a ball with fists covering the back of the neck and forearms over the ears. This position protects vital areas
Discuss these behaviors with your children and role-play these lessons, especially how to approach a dog, when not to approach, and what to do if confronted or attacked.
Not all dogs are threatening! Most dogs are well trained by their owners and are extremely friendly pets. It’s the few who are usually unsocialized, with little to no interaction with their family, kept full-time on a chain or in a small kennel run that are dangerous.