Teach Your Kiddos to be Dog Safe and Savvy!
I’m a little late with my post for this week, but with good reason! Yesterday we went to a local elementary school and held back to back assemblies by grade to discuss Bite Prevention. Obviously Karma and Opie were the star of the show, because…well I mean clearly they were adorable. But I digress, this assembly is something I look forward to each year, because it’s so, so, SO important! I am a huge advocate to responsible relashionships for kids and dogs (I mean, take a gander at my blog!), and just a quick trip on Facebook, or Instagram will show you just how normal an unhealthy view on what a respectful physical interaction between a child and a dog has become. I am always so surprised when I see a photo of a child standing on a dogs body, and 1k “love” reactions underneath it! So, I’m catching them when they are young, and teaching them something else.
“Children. Among children, the rate of dog-bite–related injuries is highest for those 5 to 9 years old. Children are more likely than adults to receive medical attention for dog bites.” –Center for Disease Control
Yesterday we sat down with K-4, and Wednesday we will be back with 5th & 6th grade to finish our round of this particular school, and it has been great! The faculty is amazing, and happy to be a part of teaching kids about healthy interactions with pets. So keeping it kid savvy, I opted to create a flyer they can take home and share with their parents, and issued the safety process as “following the 14 paws of safety”, and easily beggining with “Always ask first!”.
-Supervision is a MUST!- Kids really never should be left anyone with pets, especially if they are unknown animals. An adult should always be supervising!
-Don’t take things out of a dog’s mouth- Teach your kiddos to be respectful of your dogs things! They shouldn’t be grabbing anything from a dogs mouth. Teach your dog to drop things on command, and supervise play with toys while your babe plays with your pup!
-Respect a dogs space and body- Laying on a dog, kicking, punching, pulling ears/tails, and poking is just rude! It is what it is. Teach your kiddos to be gentle, and kind, if it’s not something they would want done to them, teach them not to do it to your dog. I know some dogs love to wiggle under the kids (we have one like that here!) but teach kids to let dogs come to them, not the other way around for snuggling!
-Dogs don’t like hugs as much as we do!- Believe it or not, dogs generally don’t like to be in a strong hold…especially if it’s a strange dog! Keep your arms to yourself ?
-Don’t bother a sleeping or eating dog!- I hate the idea of someone petting MY face when I’m eating my salad, so I’m sure my dog wouldn’t appreciate it either. Sleeping? It’s a mistake to wake me up by smothering my face, so teach the kids to respect the dogs right to sleep and eat in peace.
-Don’t put your face in a dogs face- I mean really…I don’t want someone sticking their face in mine, so let’s just respect that.
-Always be calm and watch the dogs body language!- Teach the kids what to watch for! Stiff body/tail, tucked tail, wide open (whale) eye, crouching stance, lifted lips, growling, face turned away, lip licking, and trying to move away from the child, are all pretty sure signs the dog doesn’t like what your child is doing. Stop.
-Never tease a dog!- No one wants to be teased, it’s pretty open and shut.
-Respect the growl! It means something!!!- A growl absolutely means something! It means no. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your dog should “take it” and “learn to deal with” your child. They are living beings with personal feelings, so respect their “words” and back off when the dog tells you to. If you don’t, the next step is teeth, so let’s not allow it get to that point.
-Pet from the collar down, not the face- Be respectful of a dogs space, when you meet a new dog, pet from the collar down towards the tail!
-Be a tree if a strange dog approaches! Wait, and then slowly back away, DON’T RUN!- Tell the kids to hold still and let the dog pass, then slowly back away. Running can excite a chase, and much more depending on the dog!
-Train and socialize your dog!- Training and socializing your dog with the world will help them build a confidence that can create healthy relationships. A fearful dog that is uncertain of new people and things, is much more likely to bite.
The kids were amazing, and so receptive! A lot of them were really interactive with us, and it gave us all a chance to really help them understand why pulling a tail isn’t very nice! I’m looking forward to hopefully being able to host these at other schools around the valley, and spreading the word about safe interactions with dogs, and help lower the risk kids have!