Dog Bite Prevention

by on 07/21/14

    I find being a trainer who works with busy families both rewarding and challenging. I love seeing children learn to interact with

dogs in a positive, meaningful way. This knowledge can help keep them safe around these dogs they love so much. One of the more

difficult things to teach both children and adults is how to understand what the dog is trying to say because dogs use body language

instead of words. Older children often learn how to understand this just as well as many adults but younger children are

not able pick up on the subtle body language the dogs are expressing so they certainly won't know what it means. Adults carry the

responsibility of interpreting what the family dog is trying to say to the young children in the home. One of the areas I often see

misunderstanding is when dogs have an object (a resource) and children are nearby. Many dogs are very tolerant of children around

them while they are in possession of something so adults will often miss the early signs of concern these dogs are showing. Another

common problem is misinterpreting what the dog means when they do show certain signs of concern.

      I recently ran across this article about a study done several years ago on why dogs bite children. It found that one of the most

common reasons for this is because the dog possessed a resource around the child. My experience has taught me that this is still a

prime time for miscommunication between human and dog. Another contributing factor is that there is much confusion about

why dogs guard resources from us in the first place and about whether they should or should not be corrected for this type of

behavior. That, by the way, is a whole different blog that we can be addressed later. Despite the fact that this study was done

several years ago, from my experience working with families, the information is still true today. Hopefully the numbers have

decreased but I know from my personal experience this is still one of the most likely times our children will be bitten by a dog.

Perhaps this article will help explain why we trainers are often so insistent of parental supervision when dogs and kids are together.



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