In a perfect world, children and adults would be able to interact with any dog without fear of being bitten. But unfortunately, dog bites are a real danger. Luckily, they can be easy to avoid if you and your children know these 10 tips for preventing dog bites!
Dog bite prevention doesn’t just keep you and your family safe- it also helps dogs! Every year, pounds get tons of dogs that are abandoned after snapping at or biting someone just once! These dogs get labeled “aggressive” and are much more likely to be euthanized than they are to find new homes. But many of these dogs likely aren’t aggressive and were just in a situation where they felt stressed. So check out these dog bite prevention tips and save your family, and any dogs you encounter, from an unfortunate situation!
10 Tips for Preventing Dog Bites
1. Let stray dogs be. If you or your kids see a strange dog running around, don’t approach it. If the dog is lost, it could be scared. Or it could have escaped an abusive owner, and aggression may be its first reaction to any interaction!
2. Don’t stare. One of the worst things you or your children can do is try to stare down a potentially aggressive dog. Rather than scaring the dog into submission, the dog could see it as a challenge and come at you!
3. Ask petting permission. Just because someone else is safely interacting with their dog doesn’t mean you can do the same. Some dogs, regardless of breed, don’t warm up to strangers quickly. So always ask for permission before petting anyone’s dog.
4. Don’t roughhouse. In general, it’s best not to let your kids play roughly with dogs, even their own dog. If they were to accidentally hurt the dog (by stepping on its tail, etc.) the dog’s first reaction may instinctively be to bite.
5. Keep your distance. Just because a dog you came upon is super cute doesn’t mean you need to get in its face to tell it that. Not all dogs like having their personal space invaded, even with hugs and kisses.
6. Don’t interrupt. If a dog is playing with something or eating, teach your kids not to bother them. Some dogs have toy or food protectiveness issues, and can bite if disturbed.
7. Start with your hand. When approaching a new dog, start with your hand out. This gives the dog a chance to smell you without having to be too close to you. And if the dog does snap, it’s easier to quickly move your hand out of the way than your face!
8. Don’t run. If a strange dog comes at you or your kids, don’t run. This may make the dog want to chase and catch you, increasing the chance of a bite. Instead, stay still. If the dog jumps on your kids, have them get down on the floor in the curled up tornado protection pose that they’re taught in school.
9. Watch body language. A dog can snarl at you while wagging its tail, so don’t just use the tail as an indicator! Instead, watch for other signs. Snarling and raised fur is an obvious “stay away” signal. But a closed mouth and watchful stare can also be an indicator that a dog isn’t so sure about you and you should stay back.
10. Don’t shout. Shouting or yelling, either because you’re afraid of a dog or trying to scare it away, can make a situation worse. A scared and confused dog is a dog that may decide to bite!
Have you ever been bitten by a dog? Do you have any dog bite prevention tips you would like to add?