- WEIGHT: 5 to 12 lbs
- HEIGHT: 11 to 13 inches
- COLOR(S): All colors.
- BREED GROUP: Toy
Dog Bite Prevention for Kids
by Jack Russell
Many people love playing with dogs, but it can get a little scary when a dog growls or bares its teeth. Why do they do this? For a moment, imagine that you cannot speak any language or words at all. How would you communicate with your friends and family? Perhaps you would make noises, show emotion through your face, or gesture with your hands. Although dogs cannot speak our language, they do communicate a lot! In fact, we just discovered how they do it: by changing their facial expressions or body movements and making noises. Of course, it’s a bit unfair to ask dogs to understand English words if we refuse to understand their language. By learning the language of dogs, we can find out what they’re saying and play safely with them. Let’s get started!
If you want to play with a dog, it is important to know when to do so. This way you can help to keep yourself and the dog safe. By playing with a dog under the right circumstances, everyone will have a fun time of it. When is a good time to approach a dog?
- If the dog’s owner is around, ask them first if you can pet the dog.
- If the dog is secured but unsupervised, it is best to leave it alone.
- Only pet a strange dog if there is an adult with you and they have said that it’s okay.
Pretend again that you cannot speak at all. Now imagine that a strange lady comes over exclaiming how cute you are. She pinches your cheeks and gives you a huge sloppy kiss. Gross! You’d probably want to push her away and run off! Once again, this is how dogs want to react when a stranger comes up to them and gets too close without introducing themselves first. Here are a few important things to remember:
- Dogs like their personal space, so don’t get too close if it’s a dog you’ve never met before.
- Don’t provoke a dog by teasing it or throwing things at it.
- Don’t run, because that will prompt the dog to chase you.
- Don’t hug it or push your face close to it right away.
- If a strange dog comes up to you, stand straight and don’t move. Don’t stare at the dog and don’t be afraid. This will teach it that you are not a threat, so eventually it will simply get bored and move on.
- Look at the dog’s body posture. Is it standing very rigidly with its tail stiff? This likely means that it is a bit aggressive or that it feels threatened.
- If the dog is hanging its head down, with its tail between its legs, it feels a bit scared or nervous.
- In either case, take a few steps away from the dog to give it some more space. Talk to the owner for a little while to give the dog time to get used to you.
- If the dog seems happy and is wagging its tail, licking you, and standing very close to you, then it’s probably safe to start petting it.
- Never scream, jump, or run around a strange dog, even if you are afraid. This type of behavior will make it excited and maybe even aggressive.
Of course, most dogs do enjoy being petted and receiving plenty of attention and love! You simply have to know how to do it correctly. If the owner has said that you can pet their dog, remain standing still but hold out your hand so the dog can smell you. In the dog world, this is their version of introducing yourself. The dog will smell your hand (and maybe lick it!) then walk around you to smell your legs and clothes. Give it a few minutes to get to know you. After this point the dog will feel a lot more comfortable around you.
- Ask the owner what the dog’s name is, and then call the dog by its name.
- Don’t pet the dog from the front. For dogs, approaching from the front feels a bit like a threat. Avoid scratching under its mouth or on top of its head.
- Instead, approach the dog from the back or the side.
- Pet the dog’s back, rump, or the back of its neck. Many dogs love being scratched on their backs just where their tails start!
- Ask the owner if you can throw a ball or toy for the dog to fetch.
- You might also ask the owner if the dog knows some tricks and try out a few commands, such as “sit” or “play dead”.
Learn to Read Clues About Dog Emotions: This page has lots of information and pictures that you can use to learn how to tell if a dog is happy or if you should give it space.
Dog Body Language Explained in Pictures: The ASPCA has more pictures that can be looked at to identify a dogs mood.
Playing Safely with Dogs: Read about some of the things you can do to stay safe around dogs you know and dogs you don’t.
How Do Dogs Communicate With People?: How do dogs talk to each other and you? Find out by reading the information on this page!
What to do if a Dog is Aggressive: Dog bites can hurt a lot so you don’t want to do anything that may cause a dog to attack you. Read this page to find out what to do if you come across an aggressive dog.
The Dog Bite Prevention Coloring Book: Learn about how to stay safe and calm around dogs with this fun coloring book.
Take the Dog Body Language Quiz: Take this quiz to see how much you know about dog body language.
Dog Bite Prevention Games, Info and Printables: Learning about how to avoid dog bites is made fun on this website with games and more.
How Can Kids Avoid Getting Bitten by Dogs?: Remember to always use dog manners when approaching a dog. This page explains what dog manners are.
Learn About Dog Communication Clues: Both dogs and cats are written about on this page. Find out how to stay safe around both types of pets.
Living Safely with Dogs Coloring Book: This educational coloring book is a fun way to learn about dog postures and communication.
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