Most dogs want to be friendly, but they do not always see the situation in the same way that humans do so here are a few recommendations for you, any children in your care and your dogs.
|Most important, however wonderful you think your dog is, never leave him or her alone with a child! Accidents can happen if the dog feels threatened, over excited or misinterprets a situation, and sorting out the problems can lead to upset and tears.|
Dogs and Children in the home
It is important to teach children to respect and be kind to all animals and have a calm and gentle approach when dealing with them. Sudden or loud noises or movements can frighten a dog so children and dogs need to be aware of how to behave with each other so that they can become good friends and safe playmates. For the dog in your family see our training page for skills your dog can learn.
All the following points are for children and adults:
How to say hello to a dog
- Ask the owner first, don’t rush up to a dog and touch it without asking.
- Make a loose fist and let the dog sniff the back of your hand. Be gentle and calm and then if the dog is happy you can touch him under the chin or at the side of the face.
- Never put your hand over the dog’s head as this is a sign of you being dominant over the dog and if he doesn’t like this behaviour he may react and tell you off. The same applies if you put your arm over the dog’s shoulder for a cuddle. However cute the dog looks he may not like close attention. Never put your face close to his.
- If a dog growls or backs away, leave him alone!
Dogs in the home
- Never tease a dog or pull the dog about by ears, tail or fur. Don’t play rough and tumble games as this encourages the dog to become over excited.
- Do not kiss, nuzzle or put your face near a dog, even your own dog may not like it or be in the mood for over exuberant cuddles.
- Never stare at your dog as it may feel threatened.
- Always wash your hands after touching your dog.
- Children should never attempt to pull a dog off a sofa or forcibly try to remove a dog from any position eg. doorways, foot of stairs, out of bed.
- It is not recommended that children or adults put their hands near a dog’s food bowl when the dog is eating. Care must be taken at all times.
- Never eat your food with the dog close by your side.
- Do not touch a dog that is sleeping as you may frighten or surprise it. A disturbed dog may snap out of self defence if it misinterprets the situation.
- Keep away from dogs that are ill or bitches with puppies. If these dogs are yours, treat these exceptional circumstances with respect and care.
Out and about
- Never touch a strange dog without asking the owner first.
- Never go near a dog that is on its own territory – remember, dogs will defend their own area so ask the owner before you enter, eg. this could be a garden, car or house.
- Never run screaming to or from a dog waving your arms about. This encourages the dog to chase and maybe bite! Always stand still like a statue with your hands across your chest, head down so you do not stare at the dog.
- If the dog knocks you over, curl up into a small ball and tuck your head in with your arms over the side of your face. Make sure any goodies you have are dropped as the dog is more likely to be interested in them than you. Once the dog has become disinterested and moved away, you can move too.
- Never ignore a warning growl or curling of the lip!
- Do not approach busy working dogs, such as guide or assistance dogs, Police dogs, sheepdogs or any dog concentrating on the job it is doing.
- An adult should always accompany young children out with dogs. Similarly, older children should not be allowed to walk a dog alone if it is unfriendly towards other dogs or people or if they are unable to control the dog when it is on or off lead.
- Do not try to separate fighting dogs, you are likely to get badly bitten.
- Do not let your offlead dog wander up to dogs on lead assuming they are friendly – they might not be!
- Keep control of your dog at all times.
- Do not let your dog wander the neighbourhood on its own.
- Do not put your dog into a vulnerable position. For example, do not leave your dog unattended outside a shop or left in an area it is unfamiliar with.
- Be aware of the local dog laws, and be a responsible dog owner!
For more information about keeping safe with our canine companions click the following link:
The Kennel Club Safe and Sound scheme