Teaching Your Kids How to Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites each year, and at least half of them are children. The majority of dog bites to children are preventable. Kids have a tendency to do things that dogs find threatening or painful, even when they don’t mean to. But you can teach your child how to avoid dog bites from strange dogs, friends and neighbors’ dogs, and the family pet.

The Rules

Nothing replaces proper supervision of your child. Never leave a small child alone with a dog. Do start teaching your child these rules as soon as they are old enough to walk and talk.

  • Never tease a dog or throw things at him, even if it is behind a fence or chained.
  • Never threaten or swing at a dog with your hands or objects, even if you’re just pretending.
  • Never try to take a toy, treat, bone, or food away from a dog.
  • Do not pull on a dog’s ears or tail, poke a dog, or try to ride a dog.
  • Never put your face in a dog’s face, not even to give hugs and kisses.
  • Never chase or corner a dog.
  • Do not approach strange dogs without the owner’s permission.
  • If you have permission, approach gently and quietly.
  • Do not bother a dog who is sleeping, eating, or chewing on a toy or bone.
  • Do not approach a mama dog’s puppies.
  • Never reach through or over a fence to pet a dog.
  • Never reach in a car window or in the back of a truck to pet a dog.
  • If you are approached by a strange dog, be very still and let them sniff you. Do not yell, run, or try to hit or kick at the dog.
  • If you are petting a dog and it starts to growl, stop. You may have touched a sensitive or painful spot. Tell the owner. If it’s your dog, tell your parent. It may be a sign of an injury or health problem that needs to be addressed right away.

Read more about Dog Bite Prevention.


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