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Canine Safety: Tips for Kids

  • Always ask a dog’s owner if you may pet the dog. Some dogs shouldn’t be touched. He may be “on duty” as an assistance or service dog, or he may be injured, ill, or afraid of children.
  • Approach a dog from the front or side – not from behind. Hold your hands low and speak softly. Do not surprise a dog, force him into a corner, wave your hands in the air or scream at her.
  • If there’s one place a dog may get defensive, it’s at the food dish. Your dog should not growl when you get near his dish, but don’t interfere when a dog is eating.
  • Some dogs are very protective of their balls or chew toys. Never take a bone or toy from a dog’s mouth unless he’s trained to drop it or give it to you.
  • Avoid teasing, rough wrestling, or tug-of-war games. Dogs may get too enthusiastic in these sorts of games and forget you are not a dog. Fetch, frisbee, agility, and flyball are better outlets for your dog’s energy.
  • Respect a dog’s space. Dogs naturally defend their territories. Do not stick your hand inside a strange dog’s pen or car window. A dog may feel afraid and may react to protect himself or his territory.
  • Never try to break up a dogfight. While most fights end quickly, call an adult for help. Trying to separate fighting dogs or yelling at them may make them more excited, and they might turn on you or accidentally bite you.
  • Observe canine body language. Beware of a dog that is barking, growling, or showing his teeth. Stay away if his ears are back, tail is up, or his hair is standing up on his back. Say “NO” firmly and slowly walk away with your arms by your side. Do not scream, stare into his eyes, or run away.
  • Tell your friends what you know. When friends come to your house, introduce them to your dog and explain the house rules.
  • Share your knowledge. The more everyone knows about dogs, the better world it will be for dogs and people.
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