All Things Dog

Minimizing The Risk Of Dog Bites

Most people recognize the wagging tail as a sign of a happy dog, but fewer people really know or understand other signs of dog body language.

There are ways to prevent children from being bitten by dogs. This article gives advice on training children, adults and dogs to approach each other and communicate effectively.

We tend to forget that dogs do not communicate in the same way as humans. For example, humans make eye contact when communicating and make contact through an open handshake. Both of these behaviors may be seen as a threat to dogs.

Training is the key to preventing dog bites. By that we mean that dogs, children and adults need to be trained in how to approach and communicate effectively.

Sleeping dogs

Teach children not to approach a sleeping dog. When awoken from a deep sleep, humans have been known to behave defensively, that is to strike out. Dogs when woken in fright may behave in much the same way. Dogs should not be disturbed when sleeping. If you need to wake the dog up, call them from a distance to allow them time to become oriented.

Provide the dog with a bed that is separated from noisy high activity areas. This will minimize the risk of unintentionally waking the dog in fright.

Feeding dogs

Children should be taught not to approach a dog that's eating or gnawing on a bone. Dogs may become protective of their food or bones.

Dogs can be conditioned to accept interference with their food from the time they enter the house as a puppy. This requires the owner to teach the dog not to react if its food is removed while eating. Start by putting a small amount of food in the bowl, then moving your hand to the box to add more food. In this way, the presence of a hand becomes rewarding. If the puppy is happy and does not show signs of aggression, take the food away. Then reward the puppy. After that, the food is returned and the puppy resumes eating. This training should continue throughout the dog's life, especially if there is a possibility of children entering the property.

When approaching a dog

Children should be taught to leave strange dogs alone and to report stray dogs to an adult who may be able to deal with the dog appropriately.

Many behaviors humans show towards each other can be perceived as a threat to dogs. If a dog is in the company of its owner, it is essential to ask the owner's permission to approach the dog. The owner of the dog must initiate the introduction of a new person to the dog. The dog should be approached on an angle, not from the front or rear. Once closer to the dog, slowly extend the back of the hand and allow the dog to sniff the hand before tickling under the chin or the side of the chest. Dogs should not be patted on the top of the head or the shoulders. An open palm facing the dog may be seen as a threat by the dog and may cause the dog to act defensively. If the dog doesn't sniff or backs away, do not attempt to pat it.

Young children can be rough and unrelenting. They may be unaware that their behavior is annoying for the dog. Their high-pitched squeals and uncoordinated attempts at showing affection can disturb the dog, causing it to act defensively or trigger a chasing response. Discourage rough, inappropriate play, as this may overexcite the dog.

Supervising children around dogs

Young children should never approach a dog without the permission of the owner. Adults should initially control the child's movements when they are learning to interact with dogs. One good way to start is by holding and guiding a young child's hand to pet the dog gently. Young children need constant supervision when in contact with dogs.

Establishing eye contact with a dog can send a strong message, which can be perceived as a threat to the dog.

When approached by a strange dog

Children are easily excited. A common reaction in their excitement is to run and squeal. This behavior can frighten a dog who may only be curious, or want to join in the fun. Never approach a strange dog without the permission of the dog owner. It is useful to teach children to stand straight and still ("like a tree trunk!") and not raise their hands above their heads

Important dog behavior to recognize

As with other animals, dogs have a special way of communicating with each other and humans. Most people believe a wagging tail is a sign of a happy dog. But the fact is, wagging is not always the sign of a friendly dog. If the dog doesn’t sniff your—or if he backs away—do not attempt to pet it.

Remember, a dog should be left alone if it:

  • Lifts its lips
  • Growls
  • Backs off
  • Raises the hair on its back

Recommended For You

Not on Facebook? You can register by clicking below.

Sign up on this site
We just need a little information.
All fields required.
FIRST NAME
PassedFailed
LAST NAME
PassedFailed
EMAIL
PassedFailed
A confirmation e-mail will be sent to
the address you provide here.
PASSWORD
PassedFailed
password must contain between 6 - 10
characters, no spaces.
ZIP CODE
PassedFailed
This will help us provide you with information
that's specific to your area.
Yes, I'd like to receive updates and special offers from PEDIGREE® Brand. You can withdraw this consent at any time.
Check if you'd like to give permission for future special offers and additional useful information from Mars, Incorporated. (We will collect the information you've entered here, store and process it in the U.S.) You can withdraw this consent at any time.
Go to last step >
Privacy Policy. We will never share your information.
Thanks for the information. This is the final step.
To get personlized special offers and alerts, enter your
information below:
EMAIL
PassedFailed
STREET ADDRESS
PassedFailed
CITY
PassedFailed
STATE
PassedFailed
ZIP CODE
PassedFailed
Get Special Offers and Updates on Your Mobile Phone
This is the convenient way to get the latest info when you're on the go.
-
-
PassedFailed
Providing your mobile phone number is optional. Msg & Data Rates May Apply
Submit >
Privacy Policy. We will never share your information.
All information will be sent to the mobile phone number you provided:
MOBILE PHONE #
-
-
PassedFailed
You can also sign up by sending a text: PEDIGREE to 97979

Msg & data rates may apply. You will receive up to 4 text messages per month. For HELP, please text HELP to 97979. You must be the account holder or have the authorization of the account holder to request this text service.

This text service works on on Alltel, Appalachian Wireless, AT&T, Bluegrass Cellular, Boost, Cellcom, Cellular One, Cellular One of East Central Illinois, Cellular South, Centennial Wireless, Cincinnati Bell, Immix Wireless, Nextel, Revol Wireless, Sprint, Unicel, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless, Virgin Mobile, and West Central Wireless. This is a subscription service. You can cancel your subscription at any time by texting a STOP to 97979. Terms & Conditions apply. For support, call 1-888-782-2180.
PLEASE ENTER THE CODE DISPLAYED TO VERIFY YOUR REQUEST:
Terms: I have read & agree to the Terms & Conditions.Failed
Submit >
View our Privacy Policy.
Now that you're registered, you can subscribe to our free e-newsletters. There's one for every stage of your dogs life.
Puppy Planning E-Newsletter > Puppy Scoops E-Newsletter > The Feed E-Newsletter >
Close x Subscribe Now
Look to receive your coupon by mail within the next 10 - 15 days. We hope you enjoy our best Dry Food ever.
Puppy Planning E-Newsletter > Puppy Scoops E-Newsletter >
Dog Knows E-Newsletter > Healthy Living E-Newsletter >
Close x Subscribe Now
Or log in to the PEDIGREE® website using the fields below
EMAIL
PASSWORD
Having trouble with your password?
Click Here
Forgot your password?
No problem. If you originally registered on our website, just enter your information below and we'll e-mail your password.
EMAIL
Password sent
Your password has been sent to the e-mail address you provided.
We're always happy to be of assistance.
Close x