Dog safety tips for Kids

Dos and don’ts for children dealing with dogs:
  • Never touch a dog that is unknown to you.
  • Always ask permission from the owner before touching a dog, even if you know the dog.
  • Do not invade a dog’s body space. Allow the dog to come up to you and sniff the top of your closed fist (palm down). If the dog does not want to come and greet you, respect that and leave him alone.
  • Do not approach a dog from behind.
  • Do not pet a dog directly on the top of its head. This could be threatening for the dog because the top of its head can be very sensitive, so it is best to pet on the neck or chest. Most dogs love being fondled behind the ears.
  • Never stare at a dog and never put your face close to a dog’s face. Remember to look at the dog briefly and then look away, look at the dog, and look away. These are calming signals and you are telling the dog that you are no threat. Under no circumstances should you try to ‘stare the dog down’. This means you are challenging the dog and it is likely that he will bite you.
  • Do not shout at or tease a dog. This includes throwing missiles over the fence, poking a dog in the eye, pulling its tail, ears or fur. Waving your hands in front of a dog will encourage it to bite them.
  • Do not touch a dog that has been tied up or left at the end of a chain in a yard, outside a store or behind a fence. A dog that is tethered is often frustrated and is more likely to be aggressive.
  • Tell an adult immediately if you see a dog loose in your neighbourhood. Do not try to approach or to touch it.
  • Do not touch a dog while it is eating. You would not want a dog to come and take what you are eating, so respect that his food is his and you should not go near it.
  • Do not touch a dog while it is sleeping. You might startle the dog and it could react without thinking and snap at you.
  • Do not take a bone or toy away from a dog if it is playing with it.
  • Do not push a dog off the sofa, bed or chair if you want to sit there. Always get an adult to remove the dog for you.
  • Do not scream and run away from a dog. If a strange dog comes up to you and you are scared, fold your arms, stand still, look away, and completely ignore him until he loses interest in you and goes away. The more boring you can be, the less the dog will want to interact with you. If you can, walk slowly away with folded arms.
  • If the dog tries to bite you, try to put something (your bag) between you and the dog and back away to a safe place.
  • In the unlikely event a dog starts to bite, get onto the floor, roll up into a ball with your arms around your head, and stay as still as you can until help arrives.
  • Remember that a dog is an animal and not a cuddly toy. Some dogs do not like being hugged. Be gentle with any dog and do not engage in rough play.
    Information edited from Trinidad Guardian article entitled "Dog safety tips for kids"
    Published: Sun, 2011-09-11 00:38

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