People say dogs are a man’s best friend, and they can also be great companions for kids. Of course, it also pays to be aware of the dangers of dog bites and other aggressive behaviors when children are around. The great majority of dogs are friendly and loving, but — like people — they all have their limits. In hopes of keeping every interaction with man’s best friend a good one, we have created a small dog safety for kids guide. These tips can help your children avoid dog bites and attacks from all dogs, friendly or not:
Always Ask Permission
Teach your children the importance of always asking permission before approaching a dog they do not know. Many children assume that all dogs are friendly, especially if they have a furry friend at home.
However, it is important that your child never try to pet a dog until the owner says it is OK. Once your child has permission, he or she should use the proper approach and never try to kiss or hug a dog. When children are young, you may even encourage talking with you before they try to engage the family pup.
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Always Supervise Interactions
When children are young, you should supervise any interactions with any dog — even the family pet. Children quickly grow to trust dogs even though they do not understand the dangers.
Roughhousing, tugging games, or even hugs and kisses can lead to defensive growls and sometimes bites. Make sure your child knows that pulling a dog’s fur or tail, poking an unsuspecting dog, taking a dog’s food or toys, or patting a dog too hard can make the dog angry.
It is also important to know that sleeping, eating, or scared dogs are often more likely to snap at you.
Teach Children Proper Manners
In the same way that there are proper manners to use at the dinner table, there are proper manners for approaching and interacting with dogs.
When a child meets a new dog, they should always approach from the side, and extend one fist, with the palm and fingers down. This allows the dog to make the decision whether it wants to engage.
Once the dog reacts to this in a friendly manner, teach your children to play and pet calmly, never trying to hug, kiss, or lift a dog.
Put rules in place that limit jumping, running, and screaming around unfamiliar dogs, and interrupting naps or mealtime for all dogs.
Know When to Give the Dog Some Space
Most dogs are excellent at putting boundaries in place with children, but children rarely understand the dog’s body language well enough to know when they need space.
Teach your children how to look for signs that the dog needs personal space, and to respect his wishes. Some dogs — especially those that are older, sick, or skittish by nature — do not enjoy the company of children and may never exhibit friendly body language. With unfamiliar dogs, the best bet is simply to let them be.
If it is your own pup, a dog trainer or pet behaviorist can usually work with both your dog and your family to address the issue.
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What are my legal options after an Ohio dog bite?
While these tips can help keep your children safe around dogs, accidents still happen. If you or your child suffered injuries in an Ohio dog bite incident, you may be eligible for to file an insurance claim based on the dog owner’s homeowner insurance policy or file a personal injury lawsuit. These claims allow you to collect compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Call Bressman Law today at (614) 538-1116 to schedule your free initial consultation.