Dog Bite Prevention Information for Parents
What Can Parents Do to Prevent Dog Bites?
Parents should supervise all interactions between children and dogs. A child should not be left alone with a dog unless that child has demonstrated competent dog handling skills, has a knowledge of canine communication and dog and child share a long established relationship based on mutual understanding, love and respect. Babies, toddlers and young children should never be left alone with a dog - all interactions should be actively supervised. Parents can educate their children about how to behave around dogs and how to recognize a bite risk situation. If a bite occurs the child should be reassured that she/he is not at fault. The fault lies with the owner or adult handler of the dog. If a bite occurs the child should be seen by a doctor no matter how minor the injury may seem. In the case of a severe attack, trauma counseling should be sought for the child. The bite should be reported to the appropriate authorities.
A: Ask your parent and the dog handler before you pet a dog
Sometimes it is difficult for children to understand that the family dog may not always welcome their attention. It may seem hard to believe, but most bites to children are by the family dog or other dogs known to the child. Kids (and parents) assume that because the dog knows, likes or loves them that it won't bite them. Dogs don't think this way. A dog may snap or bite in annoyance because the child is bothering it in that moment, whether the dog loves the child or not.
Other People's Dogs and Play Dates
You may not care about maintaining a good relationship with a dog, you just want to keep yourself and your kids safe. Dogs are everywhere and whether you love them, hate them or are indifferent, you and your kids are going to encounter them. It is important even for children who have dogs at home to learn that other people's dogs may not be as nice and tolerant as their own dog. Everyone will benefit from understanding dog body language and knowing when it is best to leave a dog alone, or even to ask the dog's owner to put him away if you are visiting. If you or your child is uncomfortable around a dog, don't be shy! Ask the host to put the dog away. You could say something like this: "That is a lovely dog. I know he is friendly, but we are a bit uncomfortable around dogs. Would you mind putting him in another room or on a leash?".