Kids vs Dogs; How to prevent dog bites

In the previous entry titled “How to introduce the newborn baby to your dog“, I wrote that I would like to spend time to learn more about how you can introduce your newborn baby to your dog in the house. Then, if there were something we can practice before our little son will come join us, I thought, it will be great to have practice time with Palette.

In it, I also wrote that once baby can move around, of course, as always, supervision is important but also it is important to teach your baby how to interact with/approach to your dog.

 Not only dog needs to learn to interact with baby, baby also needs to learn how to interact/approach to the dog.

 Kids sometimes do what dogs do not appreciate;pulling fur, step on the tail, hugging etc and no matter how calm,gentle dog you have, there will be a threshold and dog could snap at the kids and it may end up with injury.

blog Palette vet office

Palettes pause for camera..

 Just recently, I came across the post with the picture a little kid is hugging the dog from behind and,clearly, the small dog seems not comfortable when you look at his body language. The post asked viewers “Have you hug your dog today?”.

For some people, the picture may look “cute”, but for those who understands dogs, it is a scary picture something not good such as snapping at the kid or biting waiting because dogs generally do not like to be hugged. Hugging for people and hugging for dogs has complete different meaning to it. The poster should have known that and should not encourage people to see that the act of hugging the dogs being “cute” or good things to do.

Also, in the past, one of the shows on animal planet focusing on one popular vet in MI ran one episode that include the vet had to euthanized the old dog because dog bit his farmer friend’s grand daughter.

 The farmer friends said that his grand daughter was gently caressing her dog and pet.Then,one point time, the dog snapped at her. When the incident has happened,he said luckily, he and his wife,his son were at the porch about 10 feet away from the grand daughter. He then continued saying that if they were not at the porch,it could have been a lot worse,he said.

 For the incident, the vet says “The dog should not attack the kids. When pets become pest like this,taking the dog to the dog pound is not an option. Having the kids bitten again is not an option. So, only alternative is to euthanize the dog. “

The farmer friends say “There is no reason for the dog to be aggressive and turn on the child.”

When I watched the episode, I was shocked to see it happened because family members were not right next to the kid to supervise the interaction between the two so they know anything dogs would not like such as poking,pulling,aggressive petting etc are going on, and they were 10 feet away from the kid and let the kid interact with the dog alone,which I feel how they can supervise the kids well from that far distance.

Also, as vet’s son says in the episode, older dog sometimes have sore spot and they do not like to be touched so, I think that the family should have take that into more consideration and should have close monitor the interaction.

Another thing I was shocked to see was that the family labeled the dog as “aggressive” with this one incident,and they saw the dog as only being bad without considering there might have been something kid did to the dog and the dog did not like.Then, they decided to euthanize the dog.

 They did not examine the dogs to see if the dog had health problems they did not recognize before, or if the health issue was not the cause of snap then, they could seek out other alternative ways; teach the kids how to interact with dog, teach themselves how they supervise the kids vs dog interaction or if the family could not stand having the dog in the house from one incident, then,the dog could have another forever family to be with etc..

 No matter how good the dog is, especially if the dog was old, if the kid touched sore area or startled etc.., they could snap at the people and more close supervision is necessary.

 Biting is not good but,at the same time, I think it is important for people to look for the cause and realize what trigger the act of biting and prevent that to happen again.

 It is not always the dogs that should be blamed for the incident.Unsupervised kids can do things that could trigger the incident. Therefore, if you have a kid in the house, from the early age, you should teach them how to interact with your dog and learn the manner. And you should make it a habit to be with the kids when they interact with the dog,not sitting 10-20 feet away from the kids.

To understand why the biting happen, you should see things through their point of view,not ours.

When dogs interact with kids, they have to tolerate all the strange, unpredictable behavior, and we should not expect them to react the way we human do and, we should not expect them to understand how they should react to kids’ behavior.We need to teach them as we should teach the kids.

Dr Sophia Yin DMV has a great article explaining on this very topic;dog biting incident vs kids. I would like to share her article here.

 According to the article written by Sohia Ying DMV, often times, biting happens because humans,especially kids are extremely rude to the dogs.

She gives one case where the baby bitten by a dog ended up tragic death in the end. According to the article, the parents decided to take a vacation and left the baby with the baby sitter. The baby was allowed to crawl after the dog even though the dog tried to get away from the baby. The dog gave the warning;barking, growling, snarling but all of those were ignored and the dog had to resort to the last option; the bite.

She agrees that most cases of biting incidents, these biting could have easily been prevented from the start just by understanding the types of actions that makes dogs feel teased,bullied,pestered so much that he feels the need to bite.

I remember Palette and kids (my brother/sister in law kids) loved playing together and I was right there monitoring the interaction between them and at one point time, I saw Palette trying to be away from the kids but kids still coming after her and, after that, Palette sneaked out to other room when kids were not watching to be alone. Dogs tolerate the kids’ rough petting to some point or maybe on going tailing but at some point, it can be too much and they wants their own time away from the kids and we should respect that.

Cause of the dog bite and the common sense

1.When dogs are eating food, they would like to eat the meal in peace. However, kids sometimes reaches over to grab the dog’s food or put their hands in the food bowl,and bite happens

2.  When dogs are playing with toys, kids could grab the toy trying to take it away and bite happens.

** She recommends that teaching the dog “give” cue is good way for them to gives up their toy without feeling possessive and bite

3. Kids putting their face into dog’s face.

4. Bothering the dog when they are at the private space. Dog needs their own space to feel relaxed,away from the kids.

5. Dog do not like to have their ears,paws,tail pulled. Kids needs to learn how to interact with dog in polite manner.

6. Dogs do not like to be stepped on, climbed on.

7. Loud screaming of kids can make dogs worn out.

8. Dogs do not like to be hugged.Kids should learn even if family dog could tolerate what they do not like, other dogs would not react to the hugging the same way the family dogs would.Let kids learn what dogs do like, do not like.

9. Teach kids how to read the dog’s body language (ears,posture etc..to understand if the dogs being fearful or anxious) and let them learn to interact with dog polite manner and know the dog’s limit and back off.

10. Make the dog to have the positive association with kids by kids giving rewards for good behavior etc..

11. Accidents can happen in the split second. Make sure to supervise all the interaction between kids and dogs.

As I wrote in the previous entry titled “How to introduce the newborn baby to your dog“, she agrees that  supervision is important but also it is important to teach your baby/kids how to interact with/approach to your dog.

 Then, dogs also needs to learn how to interact with kids.

You can read the full article by Sophia Ying DVM article on “kids and dogs” here.

To the list above, I might add if the dog were older dog especially, then, the kids need to learn that the dogs have painful spot and learn to not touch the area at all.


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Jun 01, 2014 | 0 | Dog Training

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