Why are children more vulnerable to dog attacks?
Children are younger. They move faster and erratically compared to adults, and this can trigger a dog’s hunting and instinctive reaction.
Children often project excited or fearful feelings when interacting with dogs. Feelings of excitement can cause a dog to become overly hyperactive and accidentally hurt the child while trying to play. Feelings of fear can cause a dog to become fearful of himself, and show aggression due to anxiety and fear. Therefore, we leave you a couple of tips to keep your children safe.
Always maintain adult supervision when children and dogs are playing.
Sometimes, children may encounter off-leash dogs, stray dogs or simply walking freely in the neighborhood. Many of these dogs have probably escaped from their backyards, and are outside trying to explore. This is dangerous for people, especially children, who can inadvertently trigger a dog attack when trying to interact with one, as dogs tend to be very territorial.
Always ask the dog owner before greeting the animal.
If a child would like to meet an unfamiliar dog, ask the dog’s owner first. Some dogs may be fearful, or unsure of strangers. Others may be overly excited, and unfamiliar with children.
Approaching the dog from under the head.
It is natural for children to approach a dog from above and pet it on the top of its head.
However, some dogs may see this as a threat. Imagine if a very large stranger approaches you, and begins to extend his hand over your head. It would be natural to feel threatened, and to be a little afraid.
Because of fear, a dog may try to run away or respond with aggression, especially if it feels cornered.
So, try to get close below the dog’s head and scratch his chest, rather than stroking the top of his head. Instruct a child not to initiate direct eye contact with the dog, as it can also be seen as a threat from the animal.
Bend your arms and turn around when a dog jumps on you.
If a dog gets too excited and starts jumping on us, do the following:
- Stand up immediately if you are crouching.
- Bend your arms, so the dog can’t bite your hands.
- Slowly remove from the dog.
- Do not turn your back on the dog, as it will encourage you to chase it.
Stay calm and try not to be too excited or fearful.
Dogs are very sensitive to our feelings. If a child gets excited, a dog can easily sense this, and is likely to get excited as well. This can sometimes lead to aggression. Feelings of fear, frustration and anger can bring similar responses from the dog. When encountering a dog, try to keep your child calm. If the child begins to feel fearful or stressed, make the greeting with the neighbor as short as possible and leave the scene before an accident occurs.