Did you realize the summertime is the most common time for a child to be bitten or mauled by an aggressive dog? And if you think it would never happen to your child, don’t forget that 400,000+ children are bitten every year and seek medical attention – and that doesn’t even include all the children who are treated at home without ever seeing a doctor.
So what can you do to prevent dog bites?
First, don’t assume that just because a dog is a friendly dog breed that it would never bite. Yes, even a golden retriever can be aggressive, just as a friend’s pit bull could actually be one of the most gentlest dogs ever. Don’t dismiss a dog’s aggressiveness simply because you know a certain type is “never aggressive”.
Never approach a strange dog. Read teaching caution around strange pets for more information on this, but the baseline is that you should teach your child to never approach a strange dog without first asking permission of the owner.
Along the same lines, teach your children to never approach an injured animal, even if it is a family pet. Pain and injury can cause even the friendliest dog to lash out in pain, without realizing they are harming those trying to help.
If a dog is eating, teach your children to never disturb the dog, or even get too close (even without touching). Some dogs can be very possessive about their food and treats even if they are normally very docile.
Never tease a dog. Dogs might not realize that your behavior, such as taking a toy from its mouth, is actually so you can play with them.
Get your dog regular checkups, especially if something seems to be amiss health-wise. Pain from an ear infection, for example, can cause a normally gentle dog to become aggressive, simply because they are in so much pain.