Eyes Wide Open: Everyone’s Guide To Dog Safety, Adults and Children need to know how to Act & behave when in the company of dogs
77% of dog bites are caused by the family dog or a friends dog. Dogs are dogs not substitute human children and all have the potential to harm. While they make great companions and are a lot of fun, people too often feel, too secure and comfortable when around them, and don’t see or are oblivious to the potential dangers. Dogs need to be treated with respect and understanding and sometimes human expectations are too high, they don’t think like we do, they are, after all, a different species.
Parents, educators and dog owners have a responsibility to teach children and adults how to act and behave when in the company of dogs. Both kids and adults need to know about basic dog safety and awareness, because for the most part, children under the age of 12yrs are the one’s who get bitten. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of adults who get chomped on, as well.
Even if you are not a dog owner, everyone needs to know how to act and behave when in the company of dogs. You may not have a dog but the chances are, you know someone who does.
Parents & caregivers and dog owners, need to do more than just supervise, when children, adults and dogs are together. They need to be watching 100% of the time.
They need to watch out for signs of stress in the dog, such as: changes in facial expression, licking of the lips, and the dog’s general demeanor. If you are unsure remove the dog from the situation, it only takes a second for something bad to happen.
Below is a very good graphic from family paws, on the 5 types of supervision, it is too easy to get caught up in doing something else and not being aware of what is going on around you.
TV and Movies often portray “The good family dog” but don’t be fooled, these dogs are well trained, and they have trainers on the sets with them. If you want a well-trained and adjusted dog, you have to put the time and effort in. They need guidance, direction and boundaries, as do children.
Even people who have been around dogs all their life’s should Never assume that a strange dog is going to be friendly towards them, remember you may think you know dogs but that strange dog doesn’t know you. It may see you as an intruder or a threat.
Dog Safety Advice
Never leave a child alone with a dog, because a child’s actions may inadvertently trigger an unwanted response, and the child may get bitten.
Never tease a dog. (E.g.: shouting & yelling, barking, throwing things, pulling faces & ears etc). These actions can cause a dog to attack because it may feel threatened or frightened If the dog is confined in a yard or tied up it will not forget the teasing, and if the opportunity presents itself, it will get its own back.
Always ask the owner’s permission before petting a dog. If the owner is not around leave the dog alone. If it is a stray dog, stay well away.
Never run away from a dog and Never run away screaming and shouting, because a dogs natural instinct it to chase and catch its prey.
Never enter a yard with a dog in it; always ask permission from the owner.
Never stare into the eyes of a dog, that is how dogs challenge each other to fight.
Always approach dogs calmly, carefully and slowly. Let the dog see and sniff you that’s how they get to know you and never approach a dog from behind.
Dogs like to play rough, they don’t have hands like you or I, and they jump up and use their mouths to grab hold and hang on. So do not jump, wave your arms around or scream when playing around dogs, these actions excite and stimulate the dogs chase response.
Never play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
If you are approached by a strange dog stand very still and remain calm. Don’t scream and shout, stand sideways and don’t stare, that tells the dog, via body language, that you are non confrontational, then slowly move away, by taking small steps, if you can.
Never approach a strange dog. (You will never know what it will do).
Never put your hand through a fence or a window of a parked car to pat a dog, because it will bite you.
Never disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for pups.
Never try to separate dogs that are fighting.
If you are knocked over by a dog, Always protect your face, arms & neck and roll up into a ball and remain very still.
If you get bitten tell an adult.
Never put your face close to a dog.
Never hug your dog or any dog around the neck because you may trigger the dogs bite reflex and the dog will bite you.
Children should not take their dog out for a walk unless accompanied by an adult, because if a situation arises e.g.: encounter with a stray dog, children don’t have the strength or presence of mind, to act quickly enough.
Be careful when handling a dog who is in pain or injured, it may bite you. Always, take precautions.
Always, try to be relaxed and calm around dogs, erratic movements could startle a dog or they may think you are teasing them.
Never take your dog on someone else’s property without finding out first, if it is OK to do so.
Fast-moving outdoor athletes should keep a safe distance between them and dog walkers. (E.g.: joggers, Cyclists etc). Again, these actions trigger the dog’s natural chase response.
Never run or walk up behind a dog, (even one you know) and try to pat it. Always, let a dog know you are there, let it see and sniff you.
Below is another very good info graphic from Doggone safe, although it says holiday tips, these tips can keep everyone safe year round.
More information with graphics can be found @ http://www.zerobitesdogtraining.com/bittenP1.html
Also take time to read the NZ herald Dog Attack feature