Dogs make great pets, but it is important to remember that they are animals. When threatened, frightened, or trying to display dominance, dogs can hurt humans – intentionally or unintentionally. Whether dealing with your own dog or a stranger’s dog, it is important to make sure that your children know how to properly interact with dogs. On this page, I provide some information to help you and your family prevent dog bites.
Unfortunately, some dog attacks cannot be avoided, even if you and your child do everything right. In these situations, the dog owner might be at fault for injuries that your child sustains. You can also learn more about what happens after a dog attack here.
Ways to Prevent Dog Attacks
A delicate balance to achieve as a parent is teaching your children to be cautious around dogs (especially dogs that they don’t know) while avoiding fear of dogs in your kids.
Most dog bites occur when a dog feels frightened or threatened. Your child can unknowingly and unintentionally aggravate a dog by doing things such as:
- Trying to play while they are eating.
- Trying to play too soon after meeting.
- Trying to play with newborn puppies (the mother may become overly protective).
- Petting a dog in sensitive areas or places they don’t like to be touched.
- Startling the dog by making sudden movements, screaming, etc.
- Playing too rough or petting too hard.
- Waking a dog up.
- Trying to play with stray dogs or playing with dogs without the owner’s permission.
- Running – the dog may think that the child is playing and try to chase them, which could frighten a child and cause issues.
You can avoid these issues by making your child aware of them. Teach your child the proper way to interact with a dog.
First, make sure that your child knows they always need to ask the dog’s owner if it is ok to pet the dog. If the dog is a stray, you should tell your child not to pet the dog at all.
If the owner says that your child can pet their dog, your child should first hold out their hand for the dog to sniff. Then, teach your child to slowly pet the dog on their head or their back. Have your child stay away from the dog’s mouth or areas that might be sensitive.
Instruct your child to speak in a soothing voice, pet the dog slowly, and avoid the issues mentioned above. If your child follows these basic rules, they should not have any issues with dogs or other pets.
After a Dog Attack
Of course, you could do everything right and still run into problems.
If your child was bitten by a dog, you might want to take action against the dog’s owner. In this case, one of the first steps to take is contacting a child injury lawyer.
If you have already documented your child’s injury, the case will go smoother than if you did not. If you don’t have documentation of the injury, don’t worry. Our team can talk to a doctor and help you get the information that you need.
A lawyer can explain this process to you. They can gather evidence to be used in the child injury case so that you don’t have to. A lawyer can also fill out all of the necessary paperwork, answer your questions, help determine the amount of compensation that your child deserves, and assist with negotiations. You and your attorney can decide together if it is in your family’s best interest to settle the case (if a settlement is offered) or proceed to court. At my office, we can do all of this for you and relieve your stress during this difficult time. Your priority can be your child, while we handle the case for you.
For additional help, contact my office.