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Teaching Your Children to Avoid Dog Bites

In Florida and across the country, children are the most common victims of dog bites and attacks. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that many children and infants simply do not know how to act around dogs and may inadvertently make the dog feel threatened, causing the animal to attack. Experts agree that there are many things that parents can do to help avoid serious injuries that can occur with dog bites. This is especially important since children are more likely to suffer serious personal injury as a result of dog bites. For example, since dogs can be easily reach a child’s face and head, severe scarring and even brain injuries can occur when a child is bitten by an animal.
If you want to own a dog for a pet, you will need to select the breed carefully, since children are statistically more likely to be bitten by their own dog. Speak with the veterinarian to learn about dog breeds and select one that will be least aggressive. The least aggressive possible dogs are neutered male dogs, so consider getting this type of pet, especially if you have small children.
Once you brought your dog into your home, take it to obedience school in order to train it how to behave around children. Make sure that your pet is regularly checked by a veterinarian and all immunizations are up-to-date. It is equally important, to teach your children how to behave around dogs. For example, you should always teach your children to never approach a dog — and that includes the family pet — when it is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
Do not leave young children alone with the dog, even if the animal is the family pet. Supervised play should be encouraged, especially at the beginning when children and the pet have not yet become accustomed to one another. Similarly, it is important to always supervise children around the pet when your child’s friends come over. Even if the animal is used to your own children, it may still react negatively when new children come into the home and are excited and loud around the dog.
If you have introduced a dog into your home, your children may feel more comfortable around dogs. Therefore, it is important to teach your children to never approach strange dogs. Explain that other dogs may not be as gentle natured or as used to them as the family pet is. Have children report any stray dogs or playing with any dogs to you.
Be sure to also teach children how to properly approach a dog. Show your children that it’s important to let a dog first sniff them before they attempt to pet it. You should also instruct children not to tease dogs. This is important, because what many pet owners would see as “teasing” many children would simply see as playing with the dog. It’s important that children know the difference. Similarly, it is important that children are taught not to play aggressively with the dog. Trying to wrestle with the family puppy, for example, will encourage that puppy to continue roughhousing even as it grows in size. This can lead to inadvertent biting as the dog grows up.