A Dog for the Family
The Perfect Pet
Of Mutts and Men
The Terrible Ten
When Less is More
Glossary of Dog Terms
Types of Breeders
Dog Personality
Dog Behavior
Little Shop of Horrors
The AKC Pure Bred
Breeding Your Dog
The Top Ten
Frequently Asked Questions


Avoiding Dog Bites

Most kids love dogs.  Whether it's Lassie or Wishbone, kids and dogs just seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly.  However, in 1994, roughly 4.7 million persons in the United States were bitten by dogs. Over half of those seeking medical care were children under the age of 12.

While any bite can cause severe injury or infection, when children are bitten by dogs they are often bitten in the face.  In addition, it's been theorized that dogs don't recognize small children as being human.  (Can you blame them?  Toddlers don't move, act or smell like adults.)   

Many times, a child's lack of judgment and ignorance about how to behave around a dog adds to the risk. It is very important that parents closely supervise children when around dogs, but there are times when your child will come into contact with a stray dog.   Therefore, parents MUST teach their children how to reduce their chances of being bitten by a dog.  The following are essential lessons for children of any age, but especially those under 12:

  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Never run from a dog and scream.
  • Stay still when an unfamiliar dog comes up to you ("be still like a tree").
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still ("be like a log").
  • Do not look a dog in the eye.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog without letting it see and sniff you first.
  • Never play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.

Parents should observe the following rules:

  • Never leave an infant or child alone with any dog.
  • Teach your dog submissive behaviors, like rolling over to show its stomach.
  • Do not play aggressive games with your dog, such as wrestling.

For more information about teaching children to stay "bite free", the Humane Society provides these resources (open in a separate window):