Spring is a nice time to teach children how to interact with dogs. When the weather is warmer, there is more outside activity going on and it’s more likely that children will encounter dogs while playing outside.
The organization teaches hundreds of children about dog safety every year.
Knowing how to behave around dogs is a critical life skill, Hand in Paw executive director, Laura Cardwell, said.
“Attacks are not breed specific. Any dog can attack if it’s taught to be mean. And any dog can be good if it’s taught to be good,” she said.
Here are her tips for keeping children safe around dogs:
- Children should be taught to always ask three times before petting a dog. They should ask their parent, ask the dog owner, and ask the dog by reading his body language. Remember that small children do not understand physical cues that adults understand.
- Parents should educate their children about dog behavior and actions. Observe dogs with your children and point out moments when a dog shows friendly or potentially aggressive signs.
- Teach your child to remain very still when a strange dog approaches. Use the phrase “never flee, become a tree.”
- Teach your child not to scream or look the dog in the eye, if the dog knocks them over. The safest thing is to curl up in a ball on the ground.