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Doggy Tips & Advice

Dogs and Children

If your reaction to this picture like this is “Oh, how cute”, you are possibly not going to like what is coming.

About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. A large percentage of these are children under the age of ten.

The most frustrating thing for me is that most of those bites could have been prevented if the parents had been more responsible.

If we have children and we decide to get a dog it is our responsibility as parents to teach our kids, just like we train our dogs, what is appropriate behaviour and what is not, for their safety and for the safety of the dog.

So to keep everybody safe, there are some do’s and don’ts for how children should be interacting with dogs:

Children climbing on dogs is not okay. Dogs are not horses. They not meant to be ridden and they don’t enjoy being sat on or laid on.

Themost alarming this for me about this photograph of the boy sitting on the dog is that there was an adult taking pictures thinking that this was cute, instead of telling the child to get off the dog.

We should teach our children that dogs are living animals and we can push them only so far as every dog, regardless of training, has a breaking point. We have to remember that it takes only one mistake for our child to be very badly bitten.

There are three rules which I would like to teach the parents.

  1. Teach your children to leave a sleeping dog alone.
  2. Leave the dog alone when he is eating, as it’s his time, and some dogs can be very protective of their food.
  3. Don’t climb on dog, do not pull his ears or tail, and don’t hit the dog. All of these behaviours from children could trigger a violent reaction from the dog. There may be a progression of warning signs leading to a bite, but they can be quite subtle and easily missed.

People always blame the dog for reacting to the child, but an attack is almost invariably due to human error. Dogs are very predictable animals. We know what they like and dislike. Everyone should know what the warning signs are:

  • looking away
  • lip licking
  • yawning
  • getting up and walking away to avoid any conflict.

So if your child is petting the dog and for whatever reason the dog is not enjoying it, and gets up and walks away, teach your children not to follow the dog.