Dogs can seemingly become aggressive out of nowhere. By teaching your kids these tips to avoid provoking a dog, you can stop an attack before it begins.

How to Teach Your Child to Behave Around Dogs to Prevent Bite Injuries

Child standing in front of big dogAccording to the Humane Society of the United States, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty are the three main factors that contribute to canine aggression. Just like humans, when dogs are irritable or frustrated, they can lash out. Unlike humans, dogs can’t relay their frustration through voice, and therefore must rely on their aggressive actions to speak for them. This behavior, although normal for animals, can cause severe injuries to those who don’t know how to respond.

Unfortunately, many of those who don’t know how to react to aggressive dogs are under the age of ten. As a result, hundreds of children suffer severe dog bites every year, some of which are fatal. In fact, fourteen children were fatally wounded by dogs in 2015 alone.

Canine Safety Tips to Teach Your Child

The first thing you and your children need to realize is that although a dog may look sweet and cuddly, he’s still an animal. Therefore, the single best tip you can teach your child is to leave strange dogs alone. Once your child learns to keep her distance, the threat of a bite is significantly lowered. However, there are still instances where a well-mannered dog may suddenly begin to snarl and snap, even though your child is several feet away. In these situations, you and your child can take additional steps to calm the canine and remove yourselves from harm. These steps include:

  • Avoiding dogs who are restrained. Trapped dogs are more likely to be aggressive. Whether behind a fence or on a leash, if a dog feels he can’t escape, he may lash out. Teach your child not to approach a dog who is fenced in and to ask permission of an owner before petting a dog on a leash.
  • Refraining from making large, excited, or distracting movements. Your child should know to never run up to a strange dog and to be calm and gentle when meeting a new dog. Dogs can be frightened by rambunctious behavior and could react aggressively.

If, despite these preventative measures, a dog becomes aggressive, your child should do the following:

  • Remain calm. If a dog is growling and staring at your child, make sure she knows to remain quiet and still. Loud noises and agitating sounds can also confuse him and increase his anxiety. Therefore, your child must, above all else, remain calm.
  • Speak softly and back away slowly. Speaking in soft, low tones can help soothe an agitated canine. Repeating the phrase “Good dog,” she should very slowly back away to safety. In most cases, once the dog’s personal space has been restored, he’ll calm down and lose interest in attacking.    

Need more information about aggressive canine behavior or dog bites? Feel free to browse our site, or contact us directly at 800.636.3676 to see how our experience and knowledge can help answer your questions.