According to the CDC children ages 5 through 9 are the most likely to sustain dog bite related injuries. How can you help protect your kids? Make sure they learn these five very important safety rules:
1. Always ask the dog’s owner before petting.
Teaching children to ask before petting is the first line of defense. Hopefully the owner will know whether the dog is in the correct mindset to be petted.
2. Never approach a strange dog.
No matter how cute, cuddly or otherwise harmless the dog may appear, teach children to never approach an unfamiliar dog without you being present.
3. Do not stare directly into a dog’s eyes.
Making direct eye contact is confrontational in the dog world and can be very dangerous.
4. Upon meeting a strange dog, do not reach out to pet the dog without letting it sniff you first.
It is a common misconception that when meeting a new dog, people should stick their hand out to allow the dog to sniff their hand. Instead, kids should be taught not to extend their hand to the dog but instead allow the dog to sniff them with their hands at their sides.
5. Never run from a dog.
Running from a dog (including familiar dogs) can elicit even a friendly dog’s prey drive and cause the dog to chase and bite the child. Prey drive is instinctual and most breeds can easily outrun even the fastest human. Teach children that if they are approached by a wandering dog, it is always best to stand very still and not move until the dog goes away.
What additional safety rules would you add to this list?