How To Teach Your Kids The Proper And Safe Way To Approach A Dog.
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:
- 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...
- 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.
- 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.
- Always Be Gentle. - Dogs have feelings too.
- If the dog is wiggly and jumpy.... Stop petting the dog until his or her owner calms it down, then finish petting the dog.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Never put your face close to any dog's face. - No matter how cute it may look in photos or in real life.
- Stay away from a dog who's eating, caring for puppies, sleeping, chewing on a bone, or chewing on a toy or a stick.
- Never run or shout around dogs (even if they are behind a gate or fence).
- Always be gentle and kind (i.e. never pull at a dogs tail, or roughly pet the dog) - dogs have feelings too.
- 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.).