Millions of people are the victims of dog bites in the United States each year,
Children especially are more at risk of getting injured by an aggressive or dangerous dog. While owners have a legal responsibility to supervise and properly restrain their pets, in some of those cases, the dog bite could have been prevented through proper public awareness.
Studies show that parents who properly educate their children about how to act around pets greatly reduce their chances of getting bitten by a dog.
Teaching a child how to interact safely with dogs makes them much less likely to be bitten.
Some safe rules of behaviour for kids include:
- Always treat a dog kindly. Never pull on a dogs ears, tail or paws. Never kick or hit a dog. Never try to climb on a dogs back and be careful to avoid stepping on dogs, even by accident.
- Leave a dog alone when s/he is busy. When puppies or dogs are playing with their toys or each other, guarding a favorite toy in the house, eating or sleeping, never bother them. Keep this in mind around service dogs as well and dont bother them when they are working.
- Do not go up to a strange dog. Teach your children that approaching a strange dog is like approaching a strange person?never a good idea. Do not go up to dogs that are tied up, kept behind a fence or sitting in a car.
- If you find a dog that is a stray, call the police or animal control instead of attempting to rescue the dog yourself. Instead of going up to a strange dog on your own, ask the owner for permission first. If the owner says it is okay to go up to the dog, hold out your hand for the dog to sniff to see if he wants to be petted.
- Be calm. Dogs can become scared by loud noises and shouting just like people can. Always talk in a soft voice or a whisper around a dog. Teach children to go in another place away from the dog if they want to shout, become angry or frustrated. ? Be still. If a dog comes up to you, stand still, stay quiet and be calm.
- Look away from the dog. Hold your hands at your sides and make fists to keep the dog from biting at your fingers. If you are on the ground, curl up into a ball with your knees to your chest, your hands over your ears, and stay quiet and calm.
- When you are around dogs, go a little slower than you normally would, as running can make them excited and more likely to bite you. Unfortunately, even with the proper education and pet safety training, children and adults alike will still get bitten by dogs who have not been properly trained, supervised or restrained.