Children & Dogs
Most people are aware of the ongoing issue with certain breeds of dogs and attacks on children. There are cases where the dog is to blame, maybe due to its owner's lack of knowledge of their breed and therefore lack of correct training or hereditary behavioural traits. However, on the whole, if dogs are shown the respect they deserve then they will not purposefully harm a child. It should also be noted that any dog has the potential to bite, regardless of its breed. Most responsible owners spend time training their new puppy/dog, but how many of us train our children to safely be around dogs? It is just as important that you teach your children how to behave with dogs in order to keep them, and the dog, safe.
Here are some basic guidelines to help your child stay safe with their own dog and dogs they meet when out and about.
•If you are out in a public area and a dog comes running up to your child, tell your child to become a statue, fold their arms tight and become completely still. Do not move until the dog's owner has retrieved it.
•Never approach a sleeping dog or go into there bed/den area.
•Never approach a dog when it is eating.
•Never run by a dog or behave in an excited manner: dogs feed off this energy and may become over excited and over playful, and could knock your child over or play bite with excitement.
•Only stroke a dog when you have an adult present, and if it is a dog you do not know always ask permission from the owner first.
•When approaching a dog to stroke it, allow him to sniff your hand first, never put your hand over his head as this can be very intimidating for the dog.
•Always stroke a dog calmly and in the direction of hair growth - never stroke them in the opposite direction, as this is very irritating.
•The most sensitive parts of a dog are its spine, ears, nose, paws, and tail. So avoid stroking these areas and never grab a dog by its tail.
•Your child does not need to be smothering your dog in order to create a bond between them; it is important your dog has space away from the children too.
•Children can build a strong bond between them and their dog by helping to care for him: feed him, come with you when you walk him, help to groom him (all of which supervised by you the owner/parent). Allowing your child to take part in training your dog will help both your child and dog gain respect for each other. Instead of giving the food reward directly to the dog's mouth, the child can place it on the floor.
•Gameplay with your child and dog should always be supervised.
•Never let your child take a toy or bone away from your dog.
•Never leave your dog and child unattended.