I read an article, written by Sara Bower, in the May 2017 issue of Good Housekeeping. It had some very good tips on how to keep your family safe around dogs. I believe that everyone, whether you’re a dog person or not, should educate themselves on how to be safe around dogs. I use these tips myself with dogs that I know and dogs that I meet on my walks. I try to be very observant of their body language.
Teach Safe Snuggling
“Giddy kiddies may miss signs that a pet is scared or agitated, which can lead to a bite. Protect your little ones with these tips.
Check His Ears – Some go away signals, like growling and teeth-baring, are obvious, but others may not be. “If the ears are turned back or flat on the head, the dog is unhappy,” says Gina DiNardo, vice president of the American Kennel Club. If a dog is backing away with his tail tucked or turning his head away from you but still watching closely, the animal is likely scared. A dog standing rigidly, shaking or not, should also be left alone. Remind kids that it’s not only mean, angry dogs who bite- biting can be a normally friendly pooch’s way of escaping a situation he doesn’t like.
Look At His Bottom – A wagging tail means a happy dog, and when his front legs are down and his behind is in the air, he’s inviting you to play. Still, encourage kids to approach slowly so as not to startle him.
Put It In Human Terms – Children know they shouldn’t go up to a stranger-or even a friend-and touch him or her all over, so explain that dogs deserve the same courtesy. Teach them to ask the owner if petting is all right. Then, says DiNardo, “kids should always put a hand palm-down under the dog’s nose, then slowly turn ut up and let him smell it’ for a proper intro. If the dog backs away, leave him be. If not, pet him under the chin or on the neck, side or rump above the tail, which he won’t find threatening.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie – Kids who wake up Mom on a Saturday morning do so at their peril, and it’s similar with dogs: Surprising a pup when he’s asleep can trigger him to snap. (So can messing with his food dish.)
Explain That Dogs Like Their Stuff – Grabbing Fido’s toy – especially while he’s chomping at it – can be dangerous. Kids should skip tug-of-war with him too: He might nip their hands by accident. Encourage games with less roughness, like Fetch.
Never Approach An Off-Leash Dog – If a loose dog comes over, a child should play tree: Stand still, arms crossed, and avoid eye contact. This neutral stance discourages an aggressive reaction – the dog will likely sniff, get bored and walk away. “
I hope this article was educational. Be safe and love your pups.