CPR/First Aid Hands-on Training in Phoenix, Arizona

Dog Bites and Children

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Did you know that 50 percent of all children in the United States will be bitten by a dog before their 12th birthday? Did you know that 800,000 bites a year are severe enough to require medical treatment, while 1 to 2 million go unreported?

The vast majority of dog bites are from a dog known to the child—his or her own pet, a neighbor’s or friend’s. You can help prevent this from happening to your child. Please discuss with him or her the appropriate way to behave around dogs. The following activity will help you and your child understand the difference between safe and potentially dangerous interactions with dogs.

Not all dog bites come from specific breeds. It is not up to the dog to determine right from wrong and to determine a child’s intentions behind his actions. It is the responsibility of the dog’s owner to make sure the dog feels calm and safe and it is the responsibility of the child’s parent to teach their child how to treat animals.

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Here are some tips to help your dog feel safe:

1. Socializing the dog at an early age is critical, but it’s also important to keep exposing him to all sorts of people and dogs throughout his lifetime. Taking the dog out to different places and exposing him to all sorts of situations helps the dog develop confidence and adaptability. The more restricted the animal’s world, the more he’ll be likely to feel anxious when small changes occur in his environment.

2. Engaging the dog’s mind. When the dog applies himself to processing information, whether through training or any activity that requires him to think, he’s less likely to be focused on his anxiety.

3. Developing our own confidence as a handler. Since dogs are very sensitive to our emotions, it’s important to display a calm and confident attitude.

4. Respecting thresholds. When we push the dog through his thresholds where he’ll be likely to experience the unpleasant emotion again and again, we’re also sensitizing him to the situation, thus making that emotion more likely to occur in the future.

5. Allowing the dog to get out of fearful situations. Providing the dog with a place to hide or to move away from something scary is critical so the fear can subside. In the same way, standing up for the dog, interfering with a person or dog about to invade his space also allows the dog to feel safe as you’re watching out for him.

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The following is a list of rules and boundaries you can set with your children:

1. I will not stare into a dog’s eyes.
2. I will not tease dogs behind fences.
3. I will not go near dogs chained up in yards.
4. I will not touch a dog I see loose (off-leash) outside.
5. If I see a loose dog, I will tell an adult immediately.
6. I will not run and scream if a loose dog comes near me.
7. I will stand very still (like a tree), and will be very quiet if a dog comes near me.
8. I will not touch or play with a dog while he or she is eating.
9. I will not touch a dog when he or she is sleeping.
10. I will only pet a dog if I have received permission from the dog’s owner.
11. Then I will ask permission of the dog by letting him sniff my closed hand. If the dog lets me pet him, I will have gentle hands and I will not pull on his ears, tail, or limbs.

Please do not assume your child knows how to act appropriately around dogs, it is our responsibility as parent’s to teach them this.

If a child or anyone you know is bitten by a dog, wash the area with soapy water and either call 9-1-1 or, depending on the severity of the bite, drive the victim to the hospital immediately.

For more information on dog bites and how to treat them, attend one of our CPR & First Aid classes by clicking HERE.

Sources found here and here