According to a study in 1994, approximately one million dog bites occur each year in the United States of which 60-70% of those bites involve children. The majority of dog bites are usually not serious, but some can be disfiguring or, on rare occasions, fatal. The study also showed that boys are bitten more often than girls, and a third of the dogs that attack children are actually owned by the family of the person that was bitten.
But, don’t worry….Children and Dogs can coexist. You just need to have them both properly trained. Stephen Dent can give you advise, or help you train your dog to behave around children, but it is up to you to train your child how to behave around dogs. Below are some suggestions Stephen Dent has for parents on what to teach their children about dogs.
- Teach your children the following, and the likelihood of a biting incident will significantly decrease:
- NEVER disturb any dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies.
- NEVER pet or raise your hand to try to pet a dog, even your own, without letting him approach you and sniff you first.
- ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION from the dog owner BEFORE petting any dog.
- If the owner cannot control the dog and have it SIT nicely, WALK AWAY.
- NEVER APPROACH a dog who is confined behind a fence, in a car, or on a chain.
- NEVER TEASE any dog by poking at them through fences or car windows or by reaching your arm through anything to pet them.
- NEVER APPROACH a strange dog you don’t know or a dog who is not with his owner.
- NEVER RUN away from a dog that is chasing you. STOP, STAND STILL, REMAIN CALM, FOLD YOUR ARMS IN FRONT, BE QUIET, and DO NOT SCREAM. Speak with a low soothing voice and Walk away SLOWLY FACING THE DOG BUT NOT STARING at its eyes.
- If a dog does attack, “FEED” him your jacket, a school book, a bicycle, or anything else that you can put between you and the dog.
- If you are attacked, STOP, CURL UP IN A BALL LIKE A TURTLE, COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR ARMS AND HANDS.
- NEVER chase after dogs.
- DON’T scream or yell around a dog.
- DON’T stare into the eyes of a dog.
- If a dog starts to circle you, follow it around and DON’T let it get behind you.
- If the dog shows is barking or growling at you, PUT SOMETHING BETWEEN YOU AND THE DOG – like a coat or anything you can find to separate you .
- DON’t assume a dog is friendly just because it wags its tail.
- If a dog is injured DON’T touch it or try to help it. GO GET an adult.
If you own a dog, but especially a dog that has had even the smallest amount of protection training, it is your moral and legal obligation to make sure that you do everything possible to make sure that your dog is never in a situation where it could bite or hurt a child.
As a dog owner, never leave your dog and a baby or young child in the same room without supervision no matter how well your dog is trained. You can never tell when a dog may all of a sudden attack a child even when unprovoked.