Children have an affinity for dogs, but unfortunately, not every dog returns that affection. Pets do not always understand children’s intentions and might react violently in the worst-case scenario.
Sadly, the most vulnerable age group for dog attacks is children. According to DogsBite.org, fatal dog bites occur mainly in children less than two years old. As your children grow older, they are less likely to suffer a deadly attack. However, you should continue their dog safety education.
Do not rely on looks
People tend to humanize animals based on their physical traits. Your child may want to approach a dog because they are small and fluffy. Explain that just because dogs look friendly does not mean they can pet them.
Speak with the owner
Communication is vital for dog interactions. If you see a dog with its owner, your child might want to pet them. Ask the owner before allowing your kid near the dog. Never let your child pet a strange dog without an owner present.
If you feel comfortable letting your child approach the dog and you have permission, follow a specific process. Tell your young one to walk up to the dog and offer their hand slowly. Let the dog sniff your child’s hand first and confirm the dog is not aggressive. If the dog raises their hackles or growl, slowly back away from the dog. Never try to pet a dog with food or a toy.
Humans have a special relationship with dogs. However, you must protect your children first and foremost. If you want dogs to be a part of your family’s life, train your kids about dog safety.