For many children, play dates with friends and staying with babysitters are normal, fun activities that often mean being away from their own home. It is important to remember that other homes may have dogs that can be either friendly or unfriendly. This means that parents must take steps to teach their children how to interact with unfamiliar dogs, and should make sure children are never left with dangerous or unsupervised dogs.
Preventing Dog Bites When Your Children Are Away From Home
All children should be taught basic safety tips for interacting with dogs no matter what the circumstances are. For starters, teach your children to always ask permission before approaching or petting a dog. Once permission is given, children should let the dog sniff the back of their hand before petting the dog. Dogs can be aggressive if they are scared or intimidated, so watch for warning signs that a dog is afraid.
In addition to these safety tips, teach your children to always follow these rules when interacting with other people’s dogs:
- Only interact with the dog if a parent or adult is present.
- Never take anything away from the dog like toys, treats, or food.
- Never approach the dog if he is chewing, eating, or resting.
- Do not hug or kiss the dog.
- Stand still if the dog is excited, or if you are scared. For more information on teaching children to act safely around all dogs, check out the “Be a Tree” program.
For more information on how to prevent dog bites away from home and identify warning signs of potentially dangerous dogs, visit http://www.doggonesafe.com/.
About the Author: Christopher Guedri is a Partner Emeritus and trial attorney with the personal injury law firm of Allen & Allen in Richmond, VA. Guedri was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America for 2015 in the Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs category in Richmond, VA. He is a Fellow for the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers and has an AV rating from Martindale Hubble. Additionally, Chris Guedri has been listed in the “Legal Elite” by Virginia Business Magazine and as a “Virginia Super Lawyer” by Richmond Magazine.
 The “Be a Tree” program teaches children to read dog body language and stand still when a dog is overly excited or aggressive. See http://www.doggonesafe.com/Be_a_Tree_program.