Have a dog and kids at home? What happens if the dog bites the kid? Is the child at fault, or was it purely the dog’s instinct?
Biting incidents can be 100% prevented if you know how to properly manage your kids and the family furries. Keep it simple when you teach your kids how to be safe with any dog or other pets.
Reasons Why Dogs Bite
You’ll be surprised to know that most dog-biting incidents are inflicted by family pets or a neighbor’s dog that the kids are familiar with.
Unfortunately in most cases, the dog was sitting somewhere and their kid was tormenting the poor animal relentlessly. So why does your usually gentle and friendly dog suddenly snap and bite your child? Here are the common reasons:
#1. Your Dog Feels Threatened and Afraid
This can be due to your child’s sudden movements or your kid invading its space. Dogs love to cuddle but on their terms, and if they feel that someone is getting too close for their liking, they bite out of fear to put some distance between them and whoever or whatever is making them anxious.
#2. Your Dog Was Startled
This usually happens if your dog is sleeping or just taking a break with its guard down, and then suddenly, they get startled by someone or something. With them still confused, disoriented, and suddenly alarmed, their instinct is to protect themselves and bite.
#3. Your Dog Is Extremely Frustrated
Dogs can get overwhelmed, too, and one of the ways they can express it is through biting behavior. This is so when they are being held back, like on a leash, placed under an uncomfortable situation, or forced to do something that they’re not keen on doing.
#4. Your Dog Is Being Protective
This is especially common to dogs who just gave birth and are in full protective mode. This can also be when your dog is possessive and protective of their favorite toys or blankets, and your kids sometimes tease them and take those items away.
5 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites
Yes, it is given that the children can be curious and excited when there’s a dog around. Still, as parents, you should always be on standby to observe and provide the necessary guidance on how your kids should act and behave around a dog, especially a new one.
Again, you should not blame the dog if it bites.
Remember that even a well-trained and most behaved dog can snap if it gets started, feels threatened or uncomfortable, hungry or overwhelmed.
How can you avoid being bitten by a dog? Here are five ways!
#1. Always Ask the Dog’s Owner If It’s OK to Touch and Pet the Dog
Owners would know their dog’s temperament best and even their dog’s mood for that particular day. When the dog has their owner with them, always approach the owner first and ask permission to pet the dog. Even if the dog knows you or looks friendly, request their owner’s approval first.
If you always find yourself wondering, “How do I get my dog to stop biting my child?”, setting boundaries is the first step.
#2. Let the Dog Become Familiar with You
Once you have the dog owner’s approval, never let your kids lunge at the dog. Sure, they’re excited, but you can’t say if the dog returns the enthusiasm. Teach your children to approach the dog slowly and, if needed, crouch to be at eye level.
The dog needs to see you slowly approaching it. Give the canine a few minutes to sniff you and be familiar with your scent. Then gently pet the dog on its shoulders, chest, or sides. This is a sure way to avoid any dog bites kid episode.
#3. Always Respect Your Dog’s Space
Aside from telling your children to leave your dog alone when it is eating, resting, or taking care of the puppies, it would also be a good idea to lead by example.
Remind your household that if your dog goes to its crate or bed to sleep or is taking its meal, leave them be. Do not disturb, initiate a game or carry them somewhere else. Always consider that despite your dog being the friendliest of all, the chaos and stress of the household can also get to them, so respect their space and privacy.
This is one of the most considerate but effective solutions.
#4. Handle Your Dog with Caution and Kindness
Imagine being carried, put down again, dragged somewhere else, squeezed in tight and uncomfortable hugs, backed into a corner, and forced to wear something. It’s not fun.
Your dog feels the same way, too. So let your dog do what it wants and leave them alone. Set aside some cuddles and playtime, and handle them with respect and kindness all the time.
#5. Observe and Learn from the Dog’s Cues and Actions
Every day is a learning opportunity if you have kids and a dog in the household. Let your children be more aware of the family dog’s behaviors – for example, after some play, your dog retreats to somewhere quiet and then go back on its own to be with you. These are cues that everyone in your household needs to be aware of.
If your dog reacts negatively when you take away its toy, then don’t do it again. It’s just as simple as adjusting to everyone’s personality and mood in your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to Do if a Family Dog Bites a Child?
Take immediate care and clean the wound, seek medical assistance as soon as possible for further assessment, and a medical plan can be put in place. Put your dog inside the crate or in an isolated room.
If a Dog Bites a Child, Will It Bite Again?
Yes, if a dog bites, there is a considerable chance that it might do it again. Most second attacks are more vicious than the first.
My Dog Bit My Child in the Face; What Should I Do?
After cleaning the infected area, seek medical attention immediately.
What Happens When a Dog Bites a Child?
There are instances where your dog can be labeled as a dangerous animal, and based on the severity of the bite, drastic actions need to be taken. Unfortunately, even if your dog bit a child out of fear or self-protection, your dog will take on the more serious end of the deal.
It can be euthanized and you, as the owner, can face charges or fines.
With preventive measures in place and a home that is sensitive to the needs of everyone, including your dog, you don’t need to worry about a dog bites kid dilemma. Dogs are one of the most patient pets you can have, and so long as you don’t cross the line, they won’t bite.