Many children are naturally drawn to any animals that they encounter, which includes dogs. Sadly, dogs can be a source of risk, especially for small children.
You may have already had to teach your children about waiting before they approach a stranger’s dog in public by asking for permission or inquiring about the dog’s temperament first. However, even a dog that is usually calm and kind can snap and bite someone with little provocation or warning.
Young children can suffer severe injuries that can leave lasting disfigurement in a dog bite attack. They can also suffer emotional trauma that will impact their mental health for many years to come. Teaching your kids a little bit about safety around dogs could help you reduce the risk of a dog bite attack.
Children should learn to be calm and quiet around unfamiliar dogs
Dogs can become defensive when they experience stress, and the behavior of small children can easily stress a dog out. Kids tend to move rapidly with unpredictable motions and often make loud, even high-pitch noises when approaching a dog.
Dogs may find the way that children move and the noises they make aggressive or unpleasant, leading them to want to defend themselves and their personal space. Teaching your kids to keep their voices low and their movements slow around dogs they don’t know can reduce the likelihood of the dog becoming aggressive.
Even small kids can learn about dog body language and noises
Teaching your children to notice what a dog wants to communicate can help them react appropriately when a dog becomes frightened or angry. A happy dog has forward-facing ears and a loosely upright or wagging tail.
Angry or defensive dogs may pull their ears back and will either tuck their tail or will have a stiff, bristled tail displayed. Baring the teeth can sometimes be a sign of playfulness, but children should learn to interpret it as a potential sign of aggression. The same is true for barking and growling. Dogs can do so playfully, but it is generally best to have your kids err on the side of caution with how a dog expresses itself.
For those who experienced the heartbreak of having a child attacked by a vicious dog, it may be possible to bring an insurance or personal injury claim against the animal’s owner.