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Safety Tips for Children and Dogs

The first thing to remember about interacting with animals is that they have a vastly different way of communicating compared to us. Humans look for things like physical closeness and eye contact to establish relationships and feel secure; however, these things can make a dog feel threatened.

It’s easy for adults to adapt to these differences, but children are much less likely to understand. And as the smallest members of your family, they are most at risk of injury around dogs. Whether they’re encountering a family pet or a stray, teaching your children these guidelines can help prevent dog bites and keep them safe.

Dog Safety Guidelines

There are some basic guidelines for children—and the rest of the family—to follow when interacting with animals:

  • Always ask the dog’s owner if you can pet it first
  • Let the dog approach you
  • Hold out a closed fist for the dog to sniff
  • Do not bother dogs while they’re eating
  • Do not try to take a toy away from the dog
  • Do not put your face near the dog’s
  • Do not stare at the dog
  • Do not hug the dog

Dog Body Language

Knowing how to interact with dogs is an incredibly important factor in staying safe. An irritated or threatened dog will not tell you that it needs some space or alone time; it will display its emotions through subtle cues. If these cues go unnoticed for too long, the dog may bite.

Some cues that indicate that a dog is stressed, anxious, or angry include:

  • Tail tucked between legs
  • Teeth bared
  • Ears flat against head
  • Mouth closed and eyes wide
  • One paw raised
  • Furrowed eyebrows
  • Displacement behavior (i.e. yawning when not tired, shaking when not wet, licking chops, biting paws, etc.)
  • Heavy panting

How to Respond to a Potentially Aggressive Dog

If a dog is making you uncomfortable the main thing to remember is to stay still. If a dog no longer perceives you as a threat or becomes bored with you, they’ll leave. Here are two great ways to help get a dog to lose interest in you and to keep you safe, should they bite.

  • If You’re Standing: Act like a tree. Stop moving, stand with your feet together, clasp your hands in front of you, and tuck your chin against your chest.
  • If You’re On the Ground: Act like a stone. Curl your legs underneath you, tuck your head, and place your hands over the back of your neck.

Contact Your Atlanta Dog Bite Attorneys Today

If you or your child is attacked by a dog, do not hesitate to contact the experienced dog bite attorneys at Jenkins Utley, P.C.

Get your free case consultation today—reach out to us online or by phone at (404) 334-3013.