by Sheila Blythe-Saucier
Teaching children the do's and don'ts regarding animals is among one of the most important lessons you'll ever teach them. Animals are everywhere and though many are domesticated, this does not automatically make them safe. For example, in the U.S. alone, 1-2 million dog bites occur annually.
Today many homes are raising children along with the family dog. Naturally kids delight in hugging, petting, and playing with their pets. But unfortunately, many children grow up believing that all dogs are gentle and friendly like their pets, and commonly fall victim to a dog attack, simply because they'd never been taught when it's not okay to approach a dog.
Start teaching your children the following safety guidelines regarding dogs when they are quite young, and continue reinforcing these precautions frequently.
- Never run up to a dog.
- Never attempt to touch a neighbor's dog through a fence.
- Never touch a dog that is growling, showing his teeth, or barking hysterically.
- Young children must never approach dogs without a grown-up's supervision.
- Always hold your hand out first and allow the dog to sniff your hand.
- Never grab at a dog.
- Don't approach a dog that is a watch dog protecting his property.
- Never attempt to touch a dog that is eating or in possession of a bone or a treat of some sort.
- Never hurt the animal by pulling it's tail or fur for example.
- If the dog is leashed, ask the dog's owner permission to pet the dog first.
- Keep your face away from the dog's, when approaching or playing with them.
- Don't make loud noises or sudden moves when approaching a dog. Speak softly to it.
- If a dog is chasing you, stop running, as this encourages him to chase you.
- Avoid eye contact with an aggressive dog, and back off slowly and non-threateningly.
- Do not touch, or attempt to touch, the animal's eyes.
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Copyright © by Sheila Blythe-Saucier. Founder and owner of Safety Net-Child Safety Consultants, Sheila Blythe-Saucier is in the business of protecting children from the hazards that exist in their homes and communities. An R.N. for the last 20 years, Sheila extensively researched and authored a child safety book, which lead to the development of her business. Through a home inspection covering over 600 hazards commonly found in and around homes with young children, parents receive an education on protecting their kids fully, in a few hours time.