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Cautions for parents with younger children around dogs.

Teaching Children how to Interact with Dogs

Whether you have a dog or you do not, if you have kids or
grandkids it is extremely important that you teach them
about safety with dogs. Children are the biggest group of
dog bite victims each year and there is a reason for those
statistics. See: Avoiding Dog Bites.

Many people, and of course children, don't understand that
the dog is instinctively a wild animal. Even though it's a
family pet, your dog still works on instinct just like other
animals. Teaching your kids about this and how to avoid
being a dog bite victim is very important to their safety.

Here is a short list of must-have dog skills for kids:

1) Never approach a strange dog if you are alone.
2) If you want to approach a stranger's dog, ask for
permission first and ask if the dog bites, never
approach a strange, unleashed dog.
3) Never approach a watchdog, working dog or a dog
that is tied up or inside a fence.
4) Never touch a dog that is growling or showing his teeth.
5) When introducing yourself to a strange dog, hold
the back of your hand out and let the dog take a sniff
to get acquainted with you.

6) Never grab or hug a dog without adult permission.
7) Never attempt to touch a dog that is eating or sleeping.
8) Don't make loud noises or quick sudden moves around a dog.
9) If a dog is chasing you…stop running. Running
encourages chasing.
10) Avoid eye contact with aggressive dogs or dogs
that seem to be showing signs they are going to bite.
Back off slowly.

11) Do not play roughly with a dog.
12) Do not tease or torment a dog.

Go over these skills with your children and make sure to
practice implementing them in the real world. It is one
thing to tell your kids something, but they learn much
better when you show them.

If you teach your children to avoid aggressive dogs and to
always follow the rules of engagement with all dogs this
will make it less likely they will ever become a dog bite
victim. It is essential to teach your children to be
respectful of not only dogs but of all animals.

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