Educate your child on what is safe behavior around dogs, whether the family dog, a friend’s dog or one that is a stranger.
A Quiz to Help Protect Your Child From A Dog Bite
Ask your child to take this quiz and see how they do. The answers are at the end.
True or False
- You should always ask a pet owner’s permission before touching or petting a dog.
- If you encounter an unfriendly dog — one that is barking or growling — you should run away.
- If you encounter a friendly stray dog, you should leave it alone and let an adult know about it.
- Only large dogs like Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are prone to biting.
Yes or No
- Do dogs like to be kissed and hugged?
- Is it okay to reach through a car window or a fence to pet a dog?
- Is it okay to pet or touch a dog while he or she is sleeping or eating?
- Is it okay to stare at a dog?
Answer the Question
- How do dogs let you know not to bother them?
True. Always ask before petting a dog, even one that you are familiar with. You never know when a dog is not feeling well or may be injured.
False. Try to remain still like a tree and avoid eye contact with the dog. High pitched noises can scare a dog and sudden movement, such as running, may strike a chase reflex in the dog. It is better to back away in a slow, relaxed manner.
True. Even if a dog seems to be friendly, it is best to be safe and leave it alone. You want to let your parent or another adult know about the dog so that the dog’s owner can be located or animal control contacted.
False. While we hear a lot about dogs such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers biting children, any dog can bite when provoked. Follow dog safety rules around ALL dogs.
Some dogs may be perfectly fine with a little hugging and kissing, but best practice is to not let your child do this. What might seem like an affectionate hug from your child may be a too tight squeeze for your dog. It is best to avoid any activity that puts your child’s face in close proximity to your dog’s face.
Dogs are very territorial. While you may be thinking this is a friendly gesture, a dog may take this as a sign that you are intruding upon his or her personal space and territory. The resulting aggressiveness is the dog’s way of protecting that territory.
It is best to leave a dog alone who is sleeping or eating. Dogs may snap if they are startled from their naptime. The same goes with eating – the dog may think a young child who comes near is trying to steal his or her food.
No. To dogs, staring is a threat and they may react aggressively toward you.
Warning signs that you should leave a dog alone include:
- Growling, snarling or barking
- Nose pulled back and wrinkled
- Lips drawn back
- Teeth bared
- Hair sticking up along its back
- Ears laid back
- Body appears tense and rigid