Dogs are an important part of our lives. It is easy to forget, that even though they are often lovable and loyal, they are still animals. They are not little people in furry suits. Animal behaviour is unpredictable and even the nicest dog can have a bad day. A happy dog is less likely to bite than a dog that is angry, worried, hurt or scared. You can learn to read the dog’s body language and gauge how the dog is feeling and teach your kids how to be safe around dogs.
Dogs can communicate in many different ways, some overt and some subtle. If you can understand when a dog is signalling that it has had enough attention from a child, then you can intervene before the dog gets to the point of biting or snapping. Even although a dog has never bitten, it may at some point feel that it has no choice but to act aggressively in order to make a child leave it alone.
Children who do not have a dog at home will encounter other people’s dogs. It is inevitable that at some point your child will encounter a friend’s, neighbour’s or a strange dog. Your children will benefit from knowing how to behave around dogs and knowing how to “be a tree” if a strange dog approaches, a known dog gets too frisky or any dog is causing concern.