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Doggone Safe Offers Great Tips on Keeping Kids Safe From Dog Bites

This May, Doggone Safe, a non-profit organization that works toward dog bite prevention through education and other pet-related organizations is busy at work to bring awareness to one of the most commonly reported public health problems in America: dog bites. Avoiding dog bites is important for every pet owner.

Doggone Safe also is promoting its children’s’ program — Be a Tree. This program is designed for school age children, as an informative presentation using photos and myriad activities that teach children to understand the signals dogs send with their body language. The organization’s crucial message this program is trying to get across to children is ‘Be a Tree.’ i.e. stand still if an unknown dog approaches, is overly frisky or threatening. Doggone Safe offers the following tips that parents should teach their kids to keep them out of harms way:

Unless the dog knows the child well, they typically don’t like being hugged or kissed–especially on the face. Hugging a dog or contacting him via face-to-face contact are the most common causes of facial bites. As an alternative, children should learn to scratch the dog’s chest or the side of the neck. Stand still and “Be a Tree” if a dog your child doesn’t know approaches. With no action to react to, the dog will eventually move on. This works for dogs that your child does not know and when the family dog gets aggressive or too frisky.

Never tease an animal or wake a dog that’s sleeping. Don’t disturb a dog that’s eating or protecting a person or thing.

Important Things Parents Should Do

  • Supervise your child at all times while around any dog. Just because a dog seems friendly, parents should not assume it’s good with kids. If a toddler does begin playing with your dog, make sure to keep your hands on the dog as well. Even if your dog has always been great with kids, why take a chance?
  • Train your dog. There are many obedience classes where positive-reinforcement is used to teach your dog to not be aggressive. It’s important to never force your dog to learn a trick by pinning it down against its will, shaking it, chocking it or any other behavior you wouldn’t do to a child. This type of treatment can turn their aggression on children because they are weaker family members. If you have older children, get them involved in helping to train the dog. Condition the dog to be around children and enjoy their presence and actions.

Important Things Dog Owners Can Do

  • Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered pets are less likely to be aggressive because they are calmer and healthier. Neutering also helps prevent unwanted dogs from being born that may wind up in shelters or poor conditions.
  • Familiarize your dog with its surroundings and condition him for the world. If you have a puppy, make sure to give it a continuous flow of new positive experiences.
  • Supervise your dog. When children and dogs are together, an adult should supervise at all times. If children that are visiting your home are bothering your dog, put him in another room or send the children back to their own home.

Doggone Safe is sharing other resources that will help parents during dog bite prevention week. Resources include a parent guide, activity and coloring pages that emphasize kid/dog safety, a slide show video and much more. These materials can be accessed through the website .

While the Vacation Pet Friendly is a travel website that is designed to make traveling with pets easy, we also want to offer information such as avoiding dog bites, that will help all pet owners in general. We sincerely thank Doggone Safe for its work in making this a safer, pet-friendly world.

Posted by Lisa on May 6, 2011 in Blog, no comments
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