Even if your family does not own pets, your child is going to need to be able to safely interact with animals. It is likely that they will visit the homes of friends who own pets, and they will also interact with them in parks. It is important that you teach your child to act safely around dogs, in particular, so that injury can be avoided.
Your first impulse may be to warn your child about the dangers of dogs so that they are cautious. However, this could be an unhealthy form of communication and counter-productive. Children who are scared of dogs may panic or even scream when they come into contact with them, potentially triggering the dog to act aggressively.
It is far better to approach the topic from a more positive angle. The following are some ways that you can teach your child about being safe around dogs.
Promote good communication
You should make sure that healthy boundaries are understood by your child when it comes to pets. They should know that before petting a dog, they must ask the owner of the dog for permission. This will decrease the likelihood of your child coming into contact with a more aggressive dog.
Teach your child to behave kindly to both humans and animals
We teach our children to be kind to humans, and this principle should extend to animals, too. You should ensure that your child does not try to tease, hurt or scare the dog that they are playing with. By only acting in a loving and caring way, they will be less likely to cause the dog to react angrily.
Remind them to stay calm
Often the reaction that a child has to a dog’s aggression can be enough to trigger an attack. It is important that your child knows how to react if a dog becomes excited or aggressive. They should make sure to stay calm at all times and not to make any sudden movements.
If your child becomes injured by a dog in California, it is important to know that holding the owner responsible is an option. By doing so, you may be able to gain compensation for medical bills and other damages caused.