Royal’s response to teaching children safe skills around dogs

Every interaction with your dog matters

Adopting an Older Dog

Royal here! Once again to give you the dog’s perspective. Jenn’s recent blog post talked about how you humans tend to trust your family dog around small kids, maybe a bit too much. Unfortunately, sometimes that trust leads to lack of supervision and lack of awareness about your dog’s stress level, which can lead to snarls and bites.

Well, first of all, I guess we should be flattered in a way, that you trust us dogs to the point that you think a dog bite could never happen. Here’s the thing, dog bites do happen, to families just like yours. Even when parents are in the room. But here’s how you can do some things differently to keep kids and dogs safe around each other.

It makes total sense that you all spend so much time educating your kids that they shouldn’t approach or touch a strange dog.  We dogs really wish you humans would spend more time teaching kids how to act around the dog that lives in your house. Just because a dog lives with you, doesn’t mean that you bypass supervision, education, and advocacy for your dog.

Many bites happen, not because parents aren’t paying attention (because I know a lot of do pay attention) but because you’re not paying attention to the things that matter to the dog. We just want to feel safe too, but it gets uncomfortable when we don’t have a space of our own, when we don’t get a break from commotion and constant attention and body contact of children or when you ignore our stress signals.

Teach your children ways to love us that don’t involve hugs, kisses, or faces in our faces (we really don’t like that). Give us space of our own and privacy when we need a break. Pay attention when we yawn, lip lick, shake off, avert eye contact or try to move away. These are all things we do to diffuse and avoid conflict. And don’t forget to play the SAFE Game!  With a little education and awareness, we can all be safer together.

Four ways to be SAFE around your dog

  • Soft touch, not too much

    pat the dog gently on the chest and side

  • Ask the dog

    if they’ve had enough, that’s OK

  • be a Friend

    don’t bother when eating or sleeping

  • Enjoy, but not as a toy

    don’t ride, push, or dress up your dog

SAFE Wall Chart Dogs You Know

Check out our recent article in on that highlights dog bite prevention skills for every day interactions between kids and dogs.

Download our SAFE infographic on the four ways to stay SAFE around dogs they know, along with our wall chart and kid’s ebook, plus other free SAFE resources including our new video SAFE for Dogs You Know.

Share with us how your family and friends have used and practiced SAFE. Share your pictures on our social media. We’d love to hear from you. Let’s keep kids SAFE!

Download the SAFE Dog Bite Prevention Kit for Kids

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