Nearly half of all Americans own at least one dog, and most of us are used to seeing these furry creatures around our neighborhoods on a regular basis. While many dogs are sociable and friendly, there are many that are not, and it can be hard to make that distinction. Thousands of people, particularly children, are injured by dogs each year, making parents wary of these four-legged animals. The truth is, most dog bites are preventable. The circumstances surrounding the bite may be varied, but in most cases, there is some element of responsibility on the behalf of the adults involved.
Too many people see all dogs as friendly, and allow their young children to be careless in their interactions with dogs. This cavalier attitude can lead to disaster, but on the other hand, there’s no need to teach your children to fear all dogs either. Here are some tips to help you teach your children to be respectful and safe around dogs, whether those dogs are in your home or elsewhere:
Before approaching any dog, but particularly any dog that isn’t yours, it’s important to ask the owner/handler/guardian if it’s okay to approach the dog. Both adults and children should remember this rule! Many dogs, especially unfamiliar dogs, react with fear and/or aggression when approached suddenly.
Just like we humans have areas on our bodies where we’d rather not be touched, so do our canine companions. Many dogs do not like being touched or petted on their: ears, paws, around the muzzle or eyes, and stomach. Teach kids to avoid these areas, and when safely permitted, to only pet a dog on their back, base of tail, or base of the neck.
Children have a lot of energy, but it’s important to note that many animals do not respond well to outbursts of noise, activity, or sudden movements. Tell your children to refrain from yelling, playing loud instruments, running, and jumping around dogs. Instead, use “dog time” to be a teaching moment for quiet and calm behavior.
Only a small percentage of dogs enjoy roughhousing with their humans, and even then, it’s only with an adult. Children may want to chase, hit, slap, tackle, or otherwise play rough with a dog, but these situations often lead to bites, injuries, and emotional trauma for everyone involved.
Has your child been bitten by someone else’s dog? Get in touch with Brockman Injury Law today and request your free consultation.