Dog Safety Tips for You and Yours

There’s a gaggle of pages on the internet about dog safety for kids (If you know a group that would like a speaker to come and speak on dog safety, check this link). But we digress…

Nearly every day we have one or more of our dogs in public. Whether in a school, the dog supply store, walking the neighborhood and more, it constantly amazes me how many kids will just walk up to our dogs and reach out to pet them without any thought to getting bit! Let me correct that; it constantly amazes me how many PARENTS (or parents that just aren’t paying attention) allow their kids to just walk up to our dogs and reach out to pet them without any thought to getting bit!

When we’re out, we most often have our “branded” Perfectly Pawsible t-shirts on. Maybe parents see that and assume our dogs are “safe”, but you would think it would be worth their peace of mind to be sure! Sometimes we’re training our dogs on specific behaviors and don’t want our dogs bothered. I KNOW my dogs are safe. I KNOW I do everything to ensure that ANY child around us is safe. However, remembering that we’re talking about animals that used to be predator-wolves, should get our attention. So how can you help ensure the safety of your children around strange animals? How can you help ensure their safety around ‘known’ animals. Start with one simple rule;

Always, Ask Before Cuddling

Click here to download our ABC coloring page

Click to download our ABC coloring page

Hardly ever do you see a “Beware of dog” sign when it really matters (like on that cute little Chihuahua at the pet store)! And even though ‘that’ dog over there is safe, they don’t wear ‘safe’ signs either! So teach your kids when they see a dog (and cats can be nasty too!!!), ASK before they approach. Who do they ask? Well, you teach your kids NOT to speak to strangers, so continue that thought. Your kids should come to YOU and ask, “Mommy, can I pet that dog?” This gets you involved on an adult to (hopefully) adult level with whomever is handling the dog in question. Then YOU ask, “is it safe for my children to approach/pet your dog?” Then YOU decide.

This GUARANTEES nothing, but at least a responsible pet owner should say, “Buffy is a little ouchy today. Maybe next time.” Hey, dogs have bad days too! Maybe Buffy just had shots or surgery and is a tad nippy. This brings up our next point; Just like we react differently to different situations, so do dogs! Maybe “Spot” is normally a great, calm dog. But what you don’t know is that if his male owner isn’t around, he gets real possessive and may nip.

Next (actually first, but who’s keeping track besides my editor?) teach your kids to be kind and gentle to pets. My dogs’ tails are not handles, the ears are not there to be pulled on and they really like their fur where it is. Honest. Approach gently. Gentle is good! Gentle approach, gentle petting, gentle retreat.

Fear; This is not intended to teach your kids to fear dogs. In fact, it’s great that they don’t FEAR, but they RESPECT dogs. Introducing weak or fearful energy to a dog that’s already unsure of itself is a recipe for disaster. Remember, dogs are inherently a predator. They LOVE to chase stuff. Especially if it’s a stray that has been chasing to catch it’s only food. Beware. So teach your kids NOT to run from a dog, even though every instinct is telling them to.

This page is not intended to be the end-all authority on dog safety. It is intended to remind parents that it is their responsiblity to teach their children to respect animals. Remember, the younger your child is, the simpler the instructions; be gentle; and Always Ask Before Cuddling!

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