Millions of people—mostly children—are bitten by dogs each year. The majority of these bites are preventable. Susan Helms, director of injury prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South shares tips for keeping kids safe around dogs from her partners at www.doggonesafe.com.
First of all, it’s important to teach your children about dogs.
- Dogs don’t like hugs and kisses. Teach children not to hug or kiss a dog. These can cause bites to the face. Instead, teach to scratch the dog on the chest or side of the neck.
- Be a tree if strange dog approaches. Teach children to stand still, like a tree. Trees are boring, and the dog will eventually go away. This works for strange dogs and anytime the family dog gets too frisky or become aggressive.
- Never tease a dog. And never disturb a dog that’s sleeping, eating opt protecting something.
Secondly, parents have a role too.
- Actively supervise. Never assume your dog is good with children.
- Train the dog. Obedience school uses positive reinforcement. Involve the children in the training, too. Condition the dog to enjoy the presence and actions of children through positive experiences.
Thirdly, dog owners can take some steps as well.
- Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered pets can be calmer, healthier and less likely to be aggressive in some situations.
- Condition your dog for the world. Give a puppy lots of new positive experiences. Train using positive methods.
- Supervise your dog. Always supervise your dog when around children. Do not allow children to hug or kiss any dog. If visiting children are bothering your dog, put the dog away or send the children home.