Whether you own a pet or see animals at the park and at neighbors’ houses, it’s important to teach your child how to handle them. Kids often don’t realize that animals have boundaries just like people do. Infringing on an animal’s space can result in a bite or a more severe attack. Teach your child how to be safe around animals with these tips.
Establish a rule about asking the pet owner first before approaching someone else’s dog. You never know how a dog will react when approached by a stranger. Even if the dog doesn’t bite, it could jump up or knock over your child. Some pet owners aren’t comfortable with people petting their animals even if they are mild mannered. Have him ask every time, even if it is a dog you’ve seen before.
If an animal is unsupervised, teach your child to stay away from it. Even if it seems friendly, animals can change quickly.
Respect an Eating Pet
Have a rule about your pet eating. Teach your child that he should never go near an animal who is eating. Animals often get protective over their food and may snarl or bite. He might not even have to touch the animal to get a reaction. Have your child stay several feet away from the animal while eating.
Play time can easily get out of hand if your child isn’t careful. Remind him not to pull on a pet’s tail, ears or other body parts. Not only can he hurt the animal, he could upset the animal and get bitten. Teach him to avoid pulling a toy from a dog if the dog doesn’t want to let go.
Watch Body Language
Kids sometimes get bitten when they don’t watch the signs the pet gives. Teach your child to recognize the signs that the animal wants space. This might include walking away, acting nervous, growling or showing teeth. Remind him to walk away and leave the pet alone if it shows any of these signs.