Child Safety Around Dogs

Dog Park

Child Safety Around Dogs – Tips for kids on how to approach dogs. Some children approach dogs with a curious enthusiasm when perhaps they should be more cautious. Some kids are petrified of dogs when perhaps they don’t need to be. Whichever the case, these tips are good advice for children interacting with dogs. These tips aren’t just great for kids, they’re healthy for the dogs too.


Child Safety Around Dogs – Tip #1 – Saying HI – Remember to ALWAYS ask permission to pet a dog-some dogs are scared of people-and if there isn’t a person with the dog, DO NOT APPROACH! Parents, never leave your small child alone with a dog – of any size. You can’t monitor the behavior the child, or the behavior of the dog when you’re out of eyesight. Explain to your kids “in the moment” WHY a behavior is smart while the child is having the experience with the pooch – EX “His tail is wagging because he likes when you scratch his ears” or “He looks like he might be afraid of you because you’re a stranger, better leave him alone for bit”.

  • Do not run up to the dog
  •  Let the dog walk to you
  •  Make a fist for the dog to sniff
  •  After the sniff pet the dog under the neck (they LOVE to be scratched under their collar-it is itchy!!), back or behind the ears-do not reach for the dog’s head….that is scary!


Child Safety Around Dogs – Tip #2 – Don’t Be Afraid – As long as you remember to ask permission first, and say HI correctly, the dog should respond with manners.

• Stand nice and tall
• Do not stare at the dog
• If the dog backs away, it doesn’t want to play
• Dogs do not like loud people-yelling is scary

Tip #3 – “Leave Me Alone” – Do not approach if…

• The dog is growling
• The dog is ALONE (without a person)
• The dog is barking
• The dog looks scary-its head is low and it is staring at you
• The dog is injured. Go get a grown-up to help the dog

What to do if your child encounters a scary dog

• Do not look directly at the dog
• Stand nice and tall, with your side towards the dog
• Do not reach out for the dog
• Walk slowly away, without turning your back if you can

Tips provided by our dog expert, Erica Slomka. For even more on child safety around dogs tips, visit the American Association of Pediatrics website.

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