Every child should learn how to act around dogs, even if you do not have a dog at home. Many children are naturally drawn to dogs. Unfortunately, without the proper tools, kids may not know how to properly behave around a dog to keep them safe. Here is what all parents should teach their kids about respecting dogs and protecting themselves:
General Behavior Around Dogs
1. NEVER ride a dog, pull their ears or tail or grab their feet.
2. Do not tease the dog with food or toys, and especially not hands. Teasing breeds aggression and confusion. Furthermore, teasing dogs with food and toys will teach them to jump up. This can lead to children getting scratched, knocked over, or maybe worse.
3. For young children, no Tug-o-war, chasing, wrestling, or jumping- These games are too rowdy and teach the dog to be too physical with children. They can also go wrong quickly. These games also cause training backslides because they often allow the dog to feel dominant.
4. Four on the Floor -No picking up the dog or “dancing” with the dog. Dogs are most comfortable with four feet on the floor
5. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie - Leave the dog alone in his crate and in his bed, the outdoors are for playing, inside is for relaxing.
6. Avoid hugging dogs. This makes many dogs uncomfortable. If a dog feels threatened enough to bite, your head is dangerously close (the "bite zone").
7. Be calm around dogs. When you are playing with a dog, it is not a time to yell, scream, or run. Dogs react to this kind of behavior with raucous excitement of their own.
Teach your children to handle the dog properly (You can show them by using a stuffed toy and then have them practice.)
• Gentle stroking with a flat hand, especially from under the chin or along the side of his neck or body
• Move slowly around the dog
• Lower their voices around the dog
• Say the dog’s name before you go up to him
Proper Games to Play with the Dog
• Hiding a toy
• Hide and seek
• Obedience training
• Trick training
Additional resources for parents:
Content courtesy of: dogs.about.com