How to Teach Your Child to Approach Dogs Safely
Summertime is here which means more outdoor activities at the park or around your neighborhood where children and dogs will meet. Children love to pet dogs, for the most part, and dogs love to be petted, for the most part. Teaching your children the proper and safe way to approach a dog is important for their safety as well as the dog. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that the experience will always be positive and pleasant.
Always ask permission from owner before you approach the dog! While most dogs you meet may be friendly, some may not be use to strangers or children. If the owner says no, thank them and let them pass, giving them plenty of space.
Allow the dog to approach and smell your hand. Hold your hand out palm down, in a loose fist so the dog can smell you. Wait for the dog to approach you and sniff your hand. If he turns away, he does not want any more attention. If he leans in or licks your hand, then he is letting you know you may pet him.
Pet the dog gently on his back. Never go over the dogs head to pet them. It may scare them. Instead approach from the side and pet him on his back avoiding his tail. Watch the dog for his response. If he is eager for more or rolls over on his back then continue petting him. If he seems uncomfortable, stop petting and talk gently to him instead.
“Thank you”. Let the owner and dog know you appreciate them letting you meet them!
Some other important safety tips to teach your child:
· Never approach a dog when the owner is not with them.
· Never put your face in a dogs face.
· Never take food or toys away from dogs.
· Never run or shout around dogs.
· Always be gentle and kind.
These steps and tips can help to prevent potentially dangerous mishaps. Start teaching your children early and make dogs safety game-like and fun to help your child to learn the rules quickly and easily. The sooner your child learns how to approach a strange dog the safer and happier they will be as well as the dog and its owner!