To bite or not to bite, that is the question

Dogs and kids playing together need supervision

A serious issue receiving media attention is dog bite cases. My focus is to prevent people (especially children) from experiencing a dog bite.

First of all children should NEVER be left alone with any dog, especially children under the age of 10 years old.
As a parent you should supervise all activities between your child and your dog, not only for your child’s sake but for the welfare of your dog.
I have witnessed many children that treat a dog improperly because they have not been taught otherwise. Therefore I will provide you with the proper way for your child to approach and behave around a dog.
Let’s begin with the approach. The first thing you or your child should do is ask permission to pet the dog if it is not your dog. It’s ok for the pet parent to say “no”.
They know the temperament of their dog and some dogs have not been socialized with children. If you are given permission to pet the dog make sure your child approaches slowly and quietly.
I tell my students that if a child is running towards you screaming “CAN I PET YOUR PUPPY?” to say “no” and walk away. Only calm children can greet your dog. I
Secondly, when you or your children approach a dog you should not look directly in the dog’s eyes. In dog language this is perceived as a threat. If you continue to stare in the dog’s eyes the dog will think you want to fight.
This is not the case with all dogs but it is best to get in the habit of looking at the dog’s ears instead of directly in the eyes. In my classes if I see two dogs star,ing at one another I will intervene before a dog fight occurs.
Now that you know the proper way to approach a dog let’s discuss how to pet the dog. The best place to pet a dog you don’t know is either under the dog’s chin or the dog’s chest with an underhand motion.
You do not want to be standing over the dog since this is interpreted as a dominant behavior. Instead you should bend at the knees and be in a squatting position next to the dog.
Do not place your hand over the dog’s head. Request that your children do not hug the dog since many dogs do not enjoy being hugged.
Finally if a dog is growling or showing teeth do not approach or stop what you are doing. Especially if the dog’s ears are back and his body is stiff.
This behavior should be taken seriously since the next step will be for the dog to bite.
Growling is a clear signal and should not be ignored. When a dog gets to this point he will either fight or flight, which means you should stop what you are doing especially if you are handling the dog.
If the dog tries to flee do not follow the dog unless you want to be bit.
Hopefully this information will help you and your loved ones prevent a dog bite. Remember to treat all dogs with respect and teach your children to do the same. If you would Ilke to learn more about dog behavior please visit: Scooter’s School of Sit & Stay at .