Creating kinder, gentler experiences for pets


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Children Relating to Dogs

Child Safety


Dog Behavior Library

Dog Aggression Toward Children

Preventing Dog Bites

  • Realistically evaluate environment and lifestyle and consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian animal behaviorist, responsible breeder) to determine suitable breeds, of dogs for consideration.
  • Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate in households with children.
  • Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog and, if so, delay acquiring a dog.
  • Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog or puppy in the home of an infant or toddler.
  • Spay/neuter virtually all dogs (this frequently reduces aggressive tendencies).
  • Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.
  • Properly socialize and train any dog entering the household. Teach the dog appropriate behavior (e.g., rolling over to expose abdomen and relinquishing food without growling).
  • Immediately seek professional advice (e.g., from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.
  • Do not play aggressive games with your dog (e.g., wrestling).
Teach children basic safety around dogs and review regularly:

- Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Never run from a dog and scream.
- Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog
(e.g., "be still like a tree).
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., "be still like a log")
- Never play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
- Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
- Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
- If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.

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