Dogs and children can be great friends, and having a dog can help children develop kindness, understanding and respect for living things. Dog companionship can also improve a child's social skills, whilst caring for a pet can encourage responsibility. Because of this, many families have dogs which become lifelong friends to both children and adults. But it's important to teach children how to stay safe around dogs, to protect both children and our canine companions.

 

"But my dog is friendly."

Dogs and children communicate very differently. From a dog's point of view, children also communicate differently to adults; they cry, yell, shriek, crawl and run. Dogs can sometimes find it hard to understand children, and as they communicate through language, it can be even harder to tell us when they want to be left alone.

 

Children often treat dogs as their peers; they hug, cuddle, hold and scold them. Children express affection for their family through close facial contact e.g. kissing. While this may seem sweet, a dog may find this threatening, and it can be quite dangerous. For these reasons, young children are more likely to be bitten than any other group.

 

However, there are lots of things you can do, to make sure both your child and dog are safe and happy.

 

*The informational posters can be found below and are available to be printed so they can be placed in homes and classrooms.*