Children and Dogs – How to keep safe
We all know the love between everything furry and children. We teach children love from a young age by kisses and cuddles. So its not uncommon for a child to display the same affection for our dogs. Educating children and setting boundaries from a young age, can prevent any accidents/bites from happening. Its important to remember that dogs don’t understand a hug, its very restrictive and can be very upsetting.
Angela, Our dog trainer and resident dog groomer, wrote a course on dog bite prevention for pet professionals, to reduce the amount of wounds she kept seeing on grooming and training forums. This then became a qualification (OCN level 3 in Dog Bite Prevention & Handling skills). Angela also from time to time offers free mini seminars to pet owners which goes into more details about bite prevention and handling. What to do, recognising the signs of your pet/families pet. For details of up and coming events, please click here, and like the following facebook page, to keep up to date with any up and coming events.
The changes in law now, means that any dog that bites or dog causing a person to feel intimidated including visitors/couriers/postman, that owner can be taken to court and have restrictions placed on them or even have their dog euthanized. Dog bites can always be prevented. Dogs never just bite without warning they will give whats known in the trade as ‘Calming signals’ or ‘Stress Signals’. You don’t have to be proficient in dogs and train to degree level to know when your dog is’nt happy. A dogs language is often misread to the untrained eye.
Did you know that the statistics on dog bites show that children under 12 are more at risk of being bitten in particular the figures show that boys are most likely to be bitten. We can help reduce this statistic with the following tips:
- Never put your face in a dogs face,especially if its an unknown pooch, dogs don’t like this and can see it as a threat.
- Always ask permission when going to stroke a dog, you don’t know them they may look all sweet but may have issues with people they have not met before.
- When introducing yourself to a dog never stand forward on, to the dog and leaning over the top of a dog, this is very daunting and threatening. Stand sideways not directly staring at the dog and slowly move your hand out, and let the dog sniff you first. If the dog backs away, its telling you its not happy. Respect the dogs decision. Avoid putting your hand right over the dogs head, quick movements like this are very scary and can even the happiest pooch, jump a mile. Introduce your hand and pet under the chin first.
- Never leave a child alone with a dog, even if its your own and you can trust them, something can happen in a split second and its always better to be safe than sorry.
- Don’t let your child jump on the dog especially if its relaxing, when dogs are pounced upon, they will enter into fight or flight survival mode, either way your child could get hurt. If not from being bitten but by being knocked over.
- Dogs like to chew, it helps them to release endorphin’s into their bodies. This is the hormone that makes them feel good. If we look at children’s toys they look very similar and they are associated to fun. Try and teach your child to tidy up, to avoid any unnecessary vet trip, if your dog consumes a toy even if its a piece this could get stuck and be a costly experience, and not always with a good ending. Tip: Do the tidy up song, and help guide your children to get the job done, lay the foundations now for a tidy future.
- Always let the dog eat in its own area away from children, lots of dogs can start to guard if they feel like their stuff is going to be stolen.
- Visitors and other peoples children can sometimes make dogs feel uneasy. Educate yourself and understand the simple signs of when your dog is unhappy, try and give your dog a place where they can be safe. ie. their own crate, or room where they can have some alone time. Visitors can be tiring even on the most patient of dogs.
- And if a dog starts to growl, show teeth, tuck ears back, tail between legs or excessive lip licking turn around and walk away slowly, leave the dog to calm down and feel better. NEVER EVER punish a dog for displaying a growl. Having owned a dog that had been punished heavily for growling, it gave one calming signal and then straight to a bite. This made a dangerous dog. We want predictable dogs, a dog growling is the last cry for help in a situation that needs resolving to avoid conflict.
- Dont let dogs lick your face, this can be portrayed as a kiss. It is how dogs communicate, however sometimes its a warning sign to say that they arent happy, a ‘calming signal’ best to error on the side of caution.
A bit of education can go a long way and help your dog and child build a fantastic bond and relationship both respecting and trusting each other.
We’re experts in dog behaviour here at Tail Tapping Antics. If you have any questions, please give us a call on 01257 233644 or pop in to see us at 227 Eaves Lane, Chorley, Lancashire, PR6 0AG. We are here to help.
See our other blog post on calming signals.
Keep safe and enjoy your dogs.