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Important Tips For Child Safety With Dogs


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My family recently adopted a pit bull. Because pit bulls are identified as a bully breed, in Virginia the adoption process is quite rigorous. A volunteer organization here (bullypaws.org) agrees to screen the dogs and prospective owners and oversee the entire process to ensure that responsible owners are able to adopt friendly and non-vicious pets. The process included:

  • Checking all of our references (they called and interviewed friends and family to confirm our experience with dogs and details about our home and family life—I didn’t even bribe them and somehow we still got approved)
  • Confirming with our landlord that we were allowed to have a pit bull in the home (we are lucky to rent from an animal lover)
  • A call to our vet to confirm that we had been responsible with our other pets by keeping their shots up-to-date
  • A visit with us and the dog at the shelter to observe how we interacted with the dog
  • A visit to our home to make sure we had suitable accommodations for an active, medium-large dog.
  • Our dog was spayed before we could bring her home.
  • We had to agree to enroll in a dog training course to ensure that we would properly train our new dog.

Our New Dog

I tried to offer up my PetPerks reward card too as evidence of how spoiled my other dog has been, but apparently, this isn’t one of the criteria for establishing a responsible pet owner. Here’s a picture of our beautiful new addition.

Child Safety With Dogs

I don’t advocate for everyone to adopt a pit bull. They aren’t for everyone because they do have different needs and entail more responsibility than many other breeds.

Tips To Keep Your Child Safe Around Dogs

However, by introducing our new family member to neighbors and friends, I realized some adults and many children are unfamiliar with how to best act around and interact with dogs. Since not all dog owners are diligent and responsible, it is the parents’ responsibility to make sure their children know how to act around dogs to avoid potential harm. Here are some tips to teach your child to keep them safe around dogs.

  • Never Treat A Dog Unkindly – Even a calm, docile dog might become aggressive if it is taunted, kicked, or hit.
  • Do Not Approach An Unattended Dog – Even if the dog looks friendly, if its owner is not nearby, do not approach it. Call animal control if the dog is loose and unattended.
  • Avoid Accidentally Threatening A Dog – If a dog is loose and approaches you, avoid a confrontation by becoming as non-threatening as possible. Stand perfectly still with your hands down at your sides. Don’t make any noise and do NOT look at the dog. If you run from a dog, it will likely chase you since many dogs are bred to run after things and others will think you are initiating a game.
  • Always Ask The Owners Permission Before Approaching A Dog – Not all dogs do well meeting new people, so be sure to check with the owner to make sure it is okay to approach the dog. When you approach, move slowly and hold your hand out in a fist (it looks more like a paw that way) and allow the dog to sniff it. If the dog doesn’t back away, a gentle rub under the chin or beneath the ear is best. Try to avoid rubbing the top of the head or the back of the dog when you first meet one.
  • Be Calm and Quiet – Many dogs get excited when the people around it are acting lively or speaking loudly.  If you keep your voice low and make slow movements, the dog will likely remain calm as well.
Children and Dogs

Hopefully, these tips will help keep your child safe around animals and make their interactions with these lovable creatures enjoyable ones.

Love dogs? Check out this list of 20 Dog Movies on Netflix.

21 thoughts on “Important Tips For Child Safety With Dogs”

  1. Pingback: 20 Dog Movies on Netflix for Dog Lovers - Best Movies Right Now
  2. Great tips! I am even scared to enter a garden because I might startle the plants and they could hurt me. then again, I grew up in a jungle kinda.

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  3. Great post! Parents need to teach their kids to be careful with all dogs. And good for you for adopting a pit bull – I’m glad to know one more has a loving home:)

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  4. The avoid accidentally threatening a dog is the one that always “worries” me a bit… great points!

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  5. This is a great list of safety tips. Dogs can be unpredictable and try to defend themselves. Even the safest dog could snap if a child pulled its tail or is constantly pestering the dog. I think it is important to teach children how to treat animals.

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  6. Dog love here and thanks for the great advice. I will admit that I am somewhat leery of the pit bull breed but am always thankful there are responsible, loving people out there to adopt these beautiful animals.

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  7. Wow! That is quite a process to adopt a dog. However, I can imagine it is more than worth it! All of our animals are rescues, however, the process wasn’t quite what you went through. (we have a Pomeranian and a mutt).

    She is a beautiful dog! What is her name? If you don’t mind my asking.

    The tips you gave are awesome! It’s very true that a lot of people don’t think to cover these. Even the nicest dogs can get upset if someone does something wrong. Especially if they are like our dogs and have “bad” backgrounds. There are certain movements and sounds that really get to them…but even with those they have never gotten aggressive…they just get scared and hide.

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    • This is the first time we’ve gone through this process, though like you we always adopt rescue dogs. We have always had great luck with them and I’d much rather save a dog than buy one from a breeder (though I know that is a better option for some people–no judgment!).

      And no, I don’t mind. Her name is Bella (not because we are obsessed with Twilight, but because we thought she was beautiful). She is such a cuddle puppy–she has to be touching someone at all times–that my heart breaks every time I picture her locked up in the kennel at the shelter for the 3 months she was there. I’m so thankful there are organizations like Bully Paws and volunteers who run them in order to save these wonderful animals.

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  8. These are great tips and your dog is beautiful. I am not familiar with the pit bull breed aside from what I see on TV or the horrible news I hear about the breed, but some that I have come in contact with always seem so kind.

    I really hate when people go up to my dogs, which are Corgis (small little things), and try to pet them without asking. I often bring them to the dog park which doesn’t mean people have a free pass. Most of the time, it is young children and my male corgi will growl (not in a mean way, but just say hey I don’t know you..he’s very protective of his space) and I have to tell them, he isn’t use to little people and to not get in his face. Otherwise, he is fine!

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  9. very nice tips.. you are right you never know what might happen. I’m just glad that my little one don’t like other dogs except his dog 🙂 but still there is a child nature of curiosity so you are right we really need to be careful at times.

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  10. What’s sad is that they do that just for pits, people seem to fail to realize every dog can be just as aggressive as a pit-bull. People train them to be mean dogs which they could do to any type of dog. but they choose pits… Anyways, The list is great!! People need to be aware of animals, they were hear before us and will be here after us!

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    • I agree. Other breeds are considered bully breeds (e.g. Rottweilers) and though any dog can be aggressive or vicious, it’s the strength and size of the “bullies” that makes them especially dangerous and feared.

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  11. Very good advice-I have owned dogs in the past and they tended to love people and were extremely tolerant with kids–bur as I always reminded everyone-a dog has teeth and if they feel threatened-will use them-even those little tiny dogs (who think they are great danes by the way!)

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  12. It scares me what some parents allow there children to do around unknown dogs, I’ve had kids run up to ours and just throw there arms round her. x

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  13. I did not realize the restrictions for adopting a pit bull. I have some fun giveaways for your pooch too if you have time to check them out. Congrats on the new addition and I even worry about kids approaching our passive golden, if they don’t approach and ask..

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  14. This is definitely a good list. You just never know when something horrible will happen. I have a dog myself that we really love but we still make sure to be guarded around her. She is the friendliest little thing ever and it would be a shock to think anything else of her but after many incidents we’ve heard of in the past, I have always been cautious.

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