While kids and dogs are often the best of friends, and most dogs show remarkable patience around children, it’s still a good idea to teach kids how to know when their actions might trigger stress in a dog. They should also know the body language signals a dog gives when he might be getting annoyed and running out of patience.
The organization Doggone Safe advocates for dog bite prevention through education, and has a ton of great resources for people interested in learning more about safe canine-human interactions, particularly with kids. Here are a few simple tips to teach the kids in your life about how to safely interact with dogs.
Reasons a Dog May Bite a Child
- The dog is protecting a possession, place, or person.
- The dog may be old, injured, or sick.
- The dog may not have learned proper control and bites too hard during play.
- The dog’s hunting or herding instinct could be triggered by the child’s voice or movements.
- The child has done something to provoke, startle, or frighten the dog.
- The child unintentionally hurts the dog by stepping on his tail, etc.
Dog Bite Warning Signs
- The dog turns his head away or walks away from the child.
- The dog looks to you for help.
- The whites of the dog’s eyes can be seen.
- The dog yawns and/or licks his lips when the child is nearby.
- The dog will start biting, scratching, or licking himself.
- The dog does a vigorous shake after being touched.
A bite is likely to happen soon if the dog freezes into a stiff position, especially with front legs spread and head low, looking at the child with lip curled to show teeth.
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