How To Teach Your Kids The Proper And Safe Way To Approach A Dog.

all pictures courtesy of karenwhimsy.com
all pictures courtesy of karenwhimsy.com

Whether you have a dog as a pet or not, teaching your kids the proper and safe way to approach a dog is vital for their safety, as well as the animal.

Although the sure fire way to keeping your child safe around dogs is careful adult supervision, in the event you are not present, preparing your child in advance as to the dos and the don'ts of approaching a dog is a great way to prevent potentially dangerous mishaps.

With the help of a great children's book, May I Pet Your Dog? The How-To Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids), you can teach your child the proper and safe way to approach a dog.

This book is the perfect teaching guide, since it uses unthreatening and simple language to teach your kids some of the basic safety tips regarding the proper way to act around dogs.

When approaching a strange dog and its' owner, teach your kids to:

  1. Ask the owner, "May I pet your dog?"- While most dogs are fairly friendly, some dogs are just not that comfortable around strangers. Therefore, it's always best to enquire of the dog's owner before trying to pet the dog. If the owner says yes, proceed to step two...
  2. Hold your hand out, with fingers down. Allow the dog to approach and sniff your hand.- Dogs use their sense of smell to learn about their surroundings. Sniffing your hand will help the dog get a feel for you, and feel more secure.
  3. Never Reach Over The Dogs Head To Pet It.- Reaching over a dog's head to pet it may scare them. Instead, approach the dog from the side, and pet it on it's back, avoiding its tail.
  4. Always Be Gentle. - Dogs have feelings too.
  5. If the dog is wiggly and jumpy.... Stop petting the dog until his or her owner calms it down, then finish petting the dog.
  6. If the dog is big... After letting the dog sniff your hand, wait till it lies down before petting it. Ask the owner if it has a favorite spot, approach from the side, and begin petting.
  7. If the owner allows you to give his/her dog a treat...Don't cup your hands, instead hold your hand out flat with the treat in the middle of your hand. Thereby, preventing any accidental nipping of your fingers.

 

Teaching your child what dogs not to approach, is just as important in keeping them safe as well.

  1. Never go near a dog in a truck, a car, or one that is guarding something. - Contrary to their normal nature, some dogs can be unfriendly and very aggressive if you go near them while they are guarding something. Especially is it advisable to stay away when the dog is growling and barking.
  2. Never interrupt or approach a dog that is working.- Working dogs such as guide dogs, or dogs working for the K-9 unit should never be approached while they are working. Their attention needs to stay focused on the job at hand.
  3. Never approach a growling dog, or one who's owner says is not comfortable around strangers. - Growling dogs are communicating: Don't come near me. Don't even look at me. In a situation like this, teach your children to turn away their eyes, turn away their heads, and stay perfectly still and quiet until the dog passes. Doing this will make your child less of a threat to the dog.
  4. Never approach a dog without an owner, stay far, far away!

There are some other important safety tips parents can teach their kids about the proper and safe way to approach or deal with dogs.

These safety tips include:

  1. Never put your face close to any dog's face. - No matter how cute it may look in photos or in real life.
  2. Stay away from a dog who's eating, caring for puppies, sleeping, chewing on a bone, or chewing on a toy or a stick.
  3. Never run or shout around dogs (even if they are behind a gate or fence).
  4. Always be gentle and kind (i.e. never pull at a dogs tail, or roughly pet the dog) - dogs have feelings too.
  5. If your child is ever frightened by a dog, teach him or her these simple steps:
  • Turn head and look away
  • Stay perfectly still and quiet - make believe you are a tree.
  • If you're feeling really threatened, curl up on the ground in a fetal position, legs tucked into stomach, arms over head, and pretend that you are a rock. - A dog may sniff a rock or a tree, but they will not chase or hurt one.

These simple, yet effective tips can mean the difference between preventing potentially dangerous mishaps.

Dogs are wonderful creatures, they make great companions, are loyal to a fault, and provide their human companions with unconditional love.

However, dogs will be dogs, and the sooner your child knows how to conduct him or herself around them, the safer and happier he or she, as well as the dog will be.

With the use of the book, May I Pet Your Dog?, you can provide your child with a great how-to guide for the safe and proper way to meet and act around dogs.

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* (fellow hubber rebekahELLE offers some other great suggestions in her comment box below - if you have any further suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comment area as well. Being informed and informing our children is vital to their safety, as well as the safety of animals.).

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Comments 24 comments

creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you Veronica for a great hub on teaching your kids the proper and safe way to approac a dog. thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading it. Godspeed. creativeone59


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks creativeone59. This information is so important if we want to keep our kids and pets safe.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Such a great reminder Veronica Allen. We seem to forget way too often that as parents it is our job to be teachers - somehow we think children should go to school and learn absolutely everything, or we don't think to teach until way after the fact. Every minute of our children's lives is a learning experience for them. And I bet that if a dog bites a child for not staying away - the parent's will want to sue - it's always someone else's fault.

We need these reminders.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I agree BkCreative. I really had to establish these rules in my household - even though we don't have a dog, we have neighbors that do, and It's my responsibility to protect my girls. I think that most of the time, accidents like dog-bites happen due to the fact that we don't teach our children how to react around them. That's why I really loved this book. It shows kids how to react around dogs without scaring them. Thanks for stopping by, I always look forward to hearing from you.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

A very good thought to write this hub. You also put a lot of good suggestion in it. The only problem is that when you ask an owner, 'May I pet your dog' 99 out of a hundered say that their dog does not bite. I don't agree with that because they are animals. They might get the wrong idea, smell or are in a bad mood at that moment, like we are sometimes. They can't shout or tell you to be left alone. People don't want to accept they are animals.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

veronica, you wrote a simple, how-to hub about an important subject! very well done. I have a dog and I get nervous when a child puts their face next to his. He likes it, but I don't.

It is wise never to do this! I would like to add one more precaution, as I live on a corner with a sidewalk directly next to the back yard chain link fence. Children and adults should be careful walking so close to a dog's territory, it often startles them when suddenly a person or child walks or runs past. never try to reach through the fence or over the fence to pet the dog, that is his territory, even if a dog who does not bite, it is wise not to do this. if the dog is barking, please don't tease him. I also loved how you mention to ask the owner first to pet the dog! well done!


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you so much Hello, hello and rebekaEllE for your great feedback.

I hear you Hello, hello. Animals are animals, and if they feel threatened in any way, they just may react. I think it's always safer to let the child get to know the dog first, because dogs are animals and animals (often through no fault of their own) do bite. That's what animals do. In the end, we have to use discretion and be vigilant at all times. That's why I choose not to have animals in my home until my girls are a little older. I think they are just to hyper and would frustrate a dog, which could lead to problems.

rebekahELLE - thank you so much for these added suggestions. I think it boils down to using common sense when dealing with animals of all kinds. Thank you so much for stopping by.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

btw, Veronica, I forget to mention how much I love the artwork you have chosen for this hub, very nice!


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks so much. When I came across it, I found it so appealing.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Great hub Veronica full of good sound advise. really enjoyed reading . Thank you for sharing it with us.I too, love the art work.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you so much D.A.L. for stopping by, I'm glad you enjoyed reading this. The artwork is in the public domain and is courtesy of the website Karen Whimsy.com.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California

What an important topic. I just saw a news item about a mother and her five children being attacked by a pack of Pit Bulls, here in California. One child is in serious condition. I think if they had had this advice, "If you're feeling really threatened, curl up on the ground in a fetal position, legs tucked into stomach, arms over head, and pretend that you are a rock. - A dog may sniff a rock or a tree, but they will not chase or hurt one," they might have had a less traumatic incidence.

I am truly going to promote that advice. Very, very good and informative hub. Bookmarked.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Oh fastfreta, I am so sorry to hear of that. I pray that the family pulls out of this. Sadly, they may be traumatized by this for a long time after this. I do wonder what led up to the attack though.

My father's dog just got attacked by another dog last month, and we live in a neighborhood full of dogs.

This has always been a concern for me (my eldest was bit by our chowchow when she was just two years old, and even with the most diligent watchful eye, you can't prevent every accident like this from happening. Fortunately the bite wasn't very deep, it wound up being more of a scratch then anything, but we took the appropriate precautions and took her to the E.R. and sent our dog to a family memeber that didn't have kids) and since I take my girls out to walk and play in our neighborhood, I found it was a neccessity to teach them how to react.

In addition to carrying a large stick with me, we keep a watchful eye, because you never know what could happen.

The book I referenced in the hub, "May I Pet Your Dog" is so helpful to both parents and kids, because it explains how to react, as well as what to do and what not to do in very simple language, and in such a way that will not frighten the child.

Thank you so much for reading and bookmarking, and please let us know how things go with the family. I'll definetly keep them in my prayers and thoughts.


RosWebbART profile image

RosWebbART 6 years ago from Ireland

Great hub; thank you.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you so much for stopping by RosWebbART, I hope this hub was helpful.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

This is very important. I think I'm going to do a demonstration at our local school to teach small kids how to safely approach a dog.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

That's a great idea habee. I've actually demonstrated this with my two girls, and they will actuall emulate me when they play with their plush stuffed dogs. The eldest always comes up to me and say, "Mom, ask me, 'May I pet your dog', before you pet Princess." (Princess is the stuffed dogs name) So it's good to act it out, the more kids know, the more they will be prepared. Thanks for stopping by, and please let me know how the demonstration goes.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

With my age right now. I still afraid with the dog. But you have great advice and I think it useful for us not only for kids, but adult should to know this information. Thanks, Veronica.

warm regards,

prasetio


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I agree prasetio30, these tips could very useful by us adults as well. Thanks for stopping by.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

Veronica now this is really a great hub. I have to agree. You are going better and better with each passing day. I had a dog by the name of Jackie when I was just 12 years old and I remembered him once again just because of you. I bookmarked and rated 5 my dear.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you so much soni for your praise. That makes me feel so good. I haven't been able to write as much as of late, but I have tried to use my time here to improve on my writing skills. Thanks for the ratings as well.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

No probs Veronica. Your writing skills are improving day by day and the day is not far when you will become an elite writer at hubpages and everywhere. Consistency is the key to success.


wordscribe41 6 years ago

Great topic, Veronica. I'm always stunned when we have kids just running up to our dogs to pet them, parents hanging back completely unconcerned. Our dogs wouldn't hurt a fly, but no doubt there are dogs out there who don't take kindly to children. I got severly attacked by a dog when I was a kid, someone just letting their dog run around the neighborhood. I hadn't been taught enough about approaching them. A neighbor actually had to come rescue me. Anyway, I am glad you wrote this hub.

BTW, Olive Oil's coming along. I'll keep you ABREAST (pun intended). He he he.

Uprated, as always.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You are son funny wordscrive - please keep me ABREAST on your outcome! :) I too am amazed at how some parents just do not pay attention to how their kids approach dogs - animals in general. I was jumped on by a pit bull when I was around 5 or 6, and that scared the B-Jesus out of me. Ever since then, I've always been cautious around animals (dogs especially). However, while I want my children to have a proper respect for animals, I don't want them to be terrified by them. Thanks for stopping by.

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