Although many dogs are friendly to humans, others can become aggressive. Children who do not understand how to approach a dog may frighten the animal, which increases the risk of a bite or attack.
Help shield your kids from dog bites with these strategies.
Get permission to pet
Teach your child to ask the dog’s owner before petting a strange dog. If he or she says yes, let the dog sniff your child’s hand before petting. Do not approach the dog suddenly when the animal cannot see you. Never let your child approach a loose or stray dog. Instead, contact your local animal control authorities.
Avoid sudden moves
Children should avoid running toward or away from a dog, especially in public when an animal has gotten loose. This action can encourage the dog to chase, jump on and possibly bite the child. Show your child how to walk calmly and confidently away from an approaching dog or stand very still until the dog goes away.
If you have a dog or your family is spending time in a home with a dog, do not leave young children alone with the pet. Supervision is especially important for infants and toddlers. Even well-behaved dogs may bite, even if they have no history of doing so.
Teach good behavior
Your children should know how to treat animals kindly and respectfully. Make sure that they do not pull the dog’s ears or tail or bother a dog that is eating, sleeping or caring for puppies. Teasing, crowding or playing tug-of-war with a dog can result in a bite, especially if the child takes away the animal’s bone or toy.
If your child experiences a dog bite injury, the dog’s owner may be responsible for medical bills and other costs. In Indiana, this type of liability occurs when the owner knew or should have known that the dog acted aggressively in the past (sometimes called the “one bite rule”).