Three Keys to Avoiding Dog Bites

Bradley Phifer

This may seem like a no brainer, but many times it is those brief moments when a parent turns their back just for a second that a dog bite occurs. In those few seconds, your child (or a visiting child) could trip and fall on your dog, causing him to snap because he was startled. Children may feel it is ok to approach your dog while he has his favorite squeaky duck. Even if your dog allows your child to take his duck, he may not feel comfortable with the visiting child.

The fact is, children move with quick, jerky motions. They have high-pitched voices and often run, rather than walk. Boys like to run remote control cars into the dog’s leg and girls want to dress him up in clothes. All of these instances could trigger an unexpected response from your dog.

How Do I Ensure My Dog Won’t Bite?

The truth is you can’t! Millions of dog bites are reported every year. Statistics show boys are more likely to be bitten than girls and most bites are directed towards the child’s face. The majority of dog bites occur in a familiar setting with a dog who either belongs to the family, a relative or close friend. While you cannot guarantee your dog will never bite, you can prevent a dog bite by following these three simple steps:

  • Supervise ALL interactions between children and the dog
  • Learn to read your dog’s body posture and intervene when necessary
  • Educate both the child and the dog on how to appropriately interact with one another

Supervising all interactions means you are there, within eye sight, ensuring everyone is playing nicely. If you are unable to mentally or physically supervise the interaction, your dog should be in his crate or in his “room” – a dog proof area separated by a baby gate. Children should be taught that when the dog is in his room, he is to be left alone. Many parents feel guilty about crating or confining dogs to a safe place, but you cannot be everywhere at once – make dog crates and baby gates part of your household décor, at least for now!

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