If you have children:
Infants, Toddlers and small children should NEVER interact with dogs without supervision from a trusted adult – ANY dog has the potential to bite!
Children should be taught to how and when to interact with dogs appropriately (See picture)
If approached by a strange dog, teach your child to be a tree – stand still, you’re your branches(arms) in close to your body and look down at your roots (feet) – this will be perceived by the dog as non-threatening or non-challenging and the dog will likely lose interest. The child can then back away slowly. DO NOT RUN as that can trigger a dog’s instinct to chase.
If knocked down by a dog, teach your child to curl up into a ball with knees to chest and interlace hands behind their neck (to protect head, neck and ears) and to lie very still – hopefully the dog will lose interest and move on.
If you have a dog:
Remember that ANY dog has the potential to bite! Whether from fear, pain or being startled, even the most loving, affectionate and tolerant dog in the world will have its limits.
Socialize your dog! Puppies especially! A lot of bites happen because the dog is fearful. Encourage as many supervised, positive interactions with as many different people as possible – men, women, children, toddlers. A well-known behaviour expert, Dr. Ian Dunbar, suggests new puppy owners should aim to have their puppy meet 100 different people by the time they are 12 wks old!
Keep your dog under control – do not let them run loose where they might encounter strangers. Insist that people ask for permission to pet your dog and make sure the dog is under control and not put in a position where they might be startled or feel threatened – Learn to read and understand your dogs body language.
Do not put your dog in an uncomfortable position. The internet is FULL of ‘cute’ pictures of dogs with children where the dog’s body language and facial expression is clearly saying they are VERY uncomfortable.
Keep your dog up to date on vaccinations – particularly Rabies vaccination.
If your dog does bite someone, it is your responsibility to notify local public health authorities (Algoma Public Health)
Thanks for doing your part to keep everyone safe – Please feel free to share