It is hard to walk down the street and not find a house with a dog sitting at the fence or tied up in the yard. It is easy to think that all dogs will be friendly, especially to children, but that is not often the case. Dog attacks in children are prevalent and can result in trips to the hospital. Because of this, it is important for parents to understand why dogs attack children and what can be done to avoid this.
Why do dogs attack children?
Many of the dog attacks that occur involve children. According to A National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) study, the majority of dog attacks, about 68 percent, involve children five years old or younger. Why is this?
- Children are intrusive: Many children don’t know that it is important to be wary when met with a dog, especially if it is one that they have met before. This can lead to a child intruding on a dog’s personal space.
- Children do not recognize warning signs: When dogs are uncomfortable, they may exhibit a variety of warning signs such as yawning, growling, fur standing up and even tail wagging. When children don’t pay attention to the warning, they may be in danger.
- Children are small in size: Children are often similar or smaller in size when compared to dogs, which may make the animal think they are superior. This could lead to aggressive behavior when a dog is attempting to prove it is the alpha.
How can parents help children avoid an attack? The best way to help children avoid an attack is to teach them how to appreciate a dog’s personal space as well as the warning signs that might indicate distress.
- Avoid kissing and hugging dogs
- Do not sneak up on dogs or scare them
- Heed warning signs of distress
- Be wary of all dogs, even ones that are familiar
Many dogs are loving and playful, but in the same breath, many are not. It is important to keep safety a priority for your children and keep them educated about what is proper behavior when dealing with these four-legged animals.