SAFE Dog Bite Prevention Program for Kids
SAFE Dog Bite Prevention Program for Kids

Teach your kids how to be SAFE around dogs

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Mom Dog & Kids Dog Safety Talk

Make Dog Bite Prevention Fun

Talk about dog safety in your home

Dog bites are scary, but dog bite prevention doesn’t have to be. It’s important to have a conversation with your children about how to stay safe around strange dogs. Our SAFE program gives you fun materials that you can use to teach your children how to be smart and prevent dog bites.

Kids want to pet and rush up to every dog they see, but that’s a very unsafe practice. Not every dog is as tolerant or accepting of children as your family dog or dogs that your children have previously met. Kids need to be taught to stay away from dogs they don’t know and to stay away from dogs without an adult around.

Running, screaming and moving quickly are actions that can overstimulate or trigger arousal in some dogs. Teaching children calm body language around strange dogs can help diffuse potentially dangerous situations. Regardless of the breed, any dog can bite, depending on a variety of factors including their previous social experiences or lack thereof, level of self control, and the how their owner has trained or handled them.

What to Do to Keep Children Safe Around Dogs

Playing the SAFE game is a great place to start

Teach your children dog safety and dog bite prevention with the SAFE game. It’s easy, fun, and promotes safe behavior around dogs. The SAFE game can be used not only with unfamiliar dogs, it can also help in a range of different situations where your child is interaction with an overexcited dog.

The body cues practiced during the SAFE game not only keep your child calm, they can be calming signals for the dog as well. SAFE can reduce everyone’s excitement level.

Strike the SAFE pose
SAFE Dog Bite Prevention Game for Kids

What Can You Do To Help Your Children Avoid Getting Bitten By a Strange Dog?

  • Supervise Children

    We’re all busy and have a million things dragging us in different directions. But unfortunately, the reality is that most dog bites occur when an adult is not around. Supervise children around dogs and places where loose dogs could be, like a park or neighborhood street.

  • Don’t Approach a Strange Dog

    Teach children not to approach a dog they don’t know, without an adult around, EVER. You just can’t guarantee how a strange dog is going to respond to your child. Better to be safe and stay away.

  • Remind Children of The "Rules"

    Create a list of rules in your family about how to behave around dogs. Remind children the “rules about strange dogs” often. If your children are going on a playdate to a friend’s house, remind them of your “dog rules” every time you drop them off, even if your friends don’t have a dog. It’s better to get the occasional eye roll or “Oh Mom!” than to deal with the aftermath of a dog bite.

  • Don’t Ignore Body Language

    Dogs do communicate with their bodies and most dogs will demonstrate certain body language postures or cues, prior to biting.  For example, a wagging tail does not mean a friendly dog. Tail movement is much more about a dog’s arousal level than their friendliness. If adults and children ignore or misunderstand body language, dogs will sometimes escalate to a bite.

Dog Body Language Signals Chart
Dog Body Language Reference Charg

Body Language of Dogs

What are dogs trying to tell you?

Dog communicate with us every day. If you know the signals, you can have a much better idea of what a dog is trying to tell you.

Dogs have stress and anxiety just like people. They can’t come right out and tell us they are uncomfortable, but they do communicate how they feel and their intention through their body language. These signals can range from posture, to eye contact, to tail height and movement and can be warnings to us that a bite is possible. If you see a dog giving certain signals when they are interacting with your child, it is your responsibility to step in and redirect your child or the dog.

As adults, we need to teach our children to respect every dog’s space and every dog’s body. Each dog is different and may not communicate their discomfort, especially if they have been ignored or punished in the past. One dog may tolerate being crawled on or ridden like a horse, but that doesn’t make it appropriate, safe, or fair to that dog or any animal. A dog is not a toy. Don’t allow your child to treat any dog like one of their toys.

In any interaction with a dog, teach children that gentle touches and soft petting on the dog’s chest, back, and sides are enjoyable to most dogs. Let the dog decide when they’ve had enough. When the dog gets up and walks away, it’s important that children understand the dog has had enough for now and they need to spend some time alone. Have a space, like a dog crate, that your dog can retreat to when they need a break that is a child free zone.

Learn More About SAFE Dog Bite Prevention for Kids
Be Safe Around Dogs You Know

Take a Stand Against Dog Bites

Dog safety education for adults and children is key

Any dog can bite, regardless age, breed, how long you’ve had your furry friend or how well you think you know him. Unfortunately, many dog bites result in a dog being surrendered to an animal shelter. According to the ASPCA, approximately 1.2 million dogs are euthanized each year.

Help stop the growing number of dog bites and the number of dogs being surrendered at shelters. Educate yourself and your children about dog safety and the proper behavior to have around dogs, how to greet a dog, and how to respect dogs. A little understanding goes a long way to building a better relationship between dogs and all your family members.

Download the SAFE Dog Bite Prevention Kit for Kids

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