Whether your family has a dog of their own or prefers to admire them from afar, it is important to teach your kids to be respectful and safe around dogs. Keep in mind not to leave young children unattended with any dog. Read on to learn how you can teach your children to be safe around man’s four-legged best friends.
- Be still
Dogs tend to get easily excited and overjoyed, and dogs pack a mighty punch, so they can easily knocking yourself or child over. Therefore, if a dog is being too energetic, tell your child to be still and ignore the dog. It will soon get bored and move on to something more exciting or simply calm down.
- Do not approach dogs that are not your own
Your child might see a fluffy little poodle at the park and will instantly want to touch it. Explain to your child that it isn’t safe to touch an unfamiliar dog without asking the owner first. Dogs are like people, they are all different with different personalities. So don’t let your child get too close to an unfamiliar dog unless the owner consents that it is all right.
- Don’t try to hug or kiss a strange dog
Even family dogs can get upset if a small one is hugging and tugging on them. Some dogs have a gentle and patient nature, but can become aggravated if a child is putting their face to theirs or holding them too tight. It is especially important to let your kids know that it is not O.K. to try and climb the dog.
- Teach your child how to read the dog’s body language
Dogs will show signs of anxiety, but we might not always recognize them, especially children. Teach your child to be respectful of the dog and its space and to watch for signs the dog might be unhappy or stressed. Signs of anxiety in a dog includes his tail between his legs, a tail that is low and only the end wags, the ears are sideways or back and/or the dog is panting heavily. Dogs will also try to get up and leave the area when agitated so remind your kids to not chase the dog if he is trying to run away.
- Why dogs bite
There are several reasons why a dog, familiar or unfamiliar might bite. Children shouldn’t go near a dog when it is eating, dogs can be territorial and will snap if someone threatens their food, same goes for their toys. Like stated above, dogs do not like to be hugged or kissed so let your child know that even though that is how humans show affection, the same does not go for dogs.