618-622-3600 Toll-Free 800-624-4571 twyatt@kujawskiassociates.com

Dog is man’s best friend, so the saying goes. But a child can also develop a close bond with a dog.

Maybe you’re thinking of getting a dog for your family. Or maybe your child spends time at other homes that have dogs. Either way, it’s important to teach your child the right—and wrong—ways to interact with a dog.

Dogs behave differently than humans. This may seem obvious—but it isn’t necessarily obvious to a small child. Your child may be accustomed to being loud or playing roughly. This type of behavior can make a dog scared or defensive—either of which can result in a dog bite.

To keep your child safe around dogs, teach them the following rules:

Never approach a dog. Children often have the urge to run up to a cute dog and hug them. Being approached quickly and being touched in this way is likely to make a dog uncomfortable. If they are eating or tending to their puppies, they are especially likely to lash out if approached. Instead, teach your child to kneel and extend a hand to the dog—inviting the dog to approach them.
Pet carefully. Once the dog is near your child, teach your child to pet with caution. Always use slow, gentle strokes. Only pet a dog on its back, unless you know it likes being petted elsewhere. Many dogs become protective if you touch their head, belly or tail.
Be quiet. Teach your child to speak in soft, soothing tones around a dog. Many children have loud outbursts when they get excited, but this can scare a dog.

A dog bite can be traumatic—especially for a child. Preparing your child to interact appropriately with dogs greatly reduces the risk of a nasty accident.