The JSPCA is sad to see an increase in dog bites to children.
Parents need to understand dog body language and need to learn the first signs that a dog is uncomfortable and then they can manage their child and dog confidently. Dogs and children can form great relationships that benefit the child and the dog. Dogs are often a part of the family and children treat them as such. A child’s body language can be quite different to adults. They’re a lot louder; they run around and shout when they are playing which a dog might struggle to understand as normal behaviour especially if they weren’t well socialised to children before 16 weeks of age. Children tend to give lots of affection and cuddle their dog and often give them kisses which a dog might find quite threatening.
Research shows that children are more likely to bitten by a dog than adults, and often they are bitten by the family dog.
Please remember these rules for children safety and dogs:
1: Don’t leave a child alone in the same room as your dog and pay attention to your dog’s body language. Be certain that your dog is comfortable interacting with your child.
2: Teach your child to not approach a dog that is eating, sleeping, unwell or wanting to play with a toy by himself.
3: Children should not climb on dogs, pull their ears and hit them with toys. Teach your child to be polite with animals just as you’d like them to be with other children.
4: Teach your child to ask if they can pet an unknown dog.
It is very important that if a dog is showing any warning signs that they are uncomfortable around your child in certain circumstances, that you call a qualified dog trainer or behaviourist for help. Please don’t wait until the dog bites. Just because they never have, doesn’t mean they never will.
Here are a couple of posters that might be helpful for your future reference:
How not to greet a dog here
How to stay safe and respect dogs here