1. Most of us teach our children not to take another child’s toys and it follows that we should teach them not to take the dogs toys or treats
2. We do not like others getting right in our faces yet we often allow children to do so. The most common bites inflicted on children by dogs are to their faces – dogs do not like anyone ‘in their face’ any more than we do.
3. Teach your children NOT to bother the dog while he or she is eating. You would teach them not to interfere with another persons food when they are eating and they should show a dog the same respect.
4. Do NOT allow a child to bother dogs whilst they are resting/sleeping. This is another common cause of dogs snaps/bites.
5. It is not advisable to allow a child to hug a dog. A lot of dogs tolerate hugs and a few in the right circumstances may not mind a hug but as a rule of thumb it is not generally something that dogs like.
6. Do NOT allow children to clamber over and sit on a dog. This may seem obvious but it is surprising how often this is allowed!
7. Do NOT allow children to pull dogs tails ears, whiskers or hair. You would not allow them to pull and poke at their peers and they should not do it to a dog.
8. Do NOT allow children to yell and shout at a dog.
I appreciate that some of the above are pretty obvious, but despite this these are extremely common behaviours that I see again and again exhibited by children towards dogs. You only need to trawl the internet and you will quickly and easily find ‘cute’ pictures of children hugging and squeezing dogs, climbing on them and playing tug with them.
Humans are primates like monkeys and hugging and cuddling and getting up close is something that primates like to do to show affection. Dogs are not primates
and should not be treated like furry little humans or like toys by children. Many family dogs have learnt to be extremely tolerant of childrens’ antics but that does not mean they should simply have to put up with them. Like us they can have good days and bad days and sometimes one incident can be the one that ‘broke the camel’s back.’
A dog cannot tell us when they have had enough and if the warning signs are not heeded their last line of defence is to snap. When this happens whatever the cause the dog will generally get the blame an may ultimately in the worst case scenarios end up paying for their actions with their life!!
Children should be taught as matter of course how to interact appropriately with any dog and it is even more important to heed these rules with dogs you and your children are not, or are less familiar with. In any event it is never wise the leave young children and dogs together unsupervised!
KEEP YOUR CHILD SAFE AND KEEP THE DOG SAFE!!