Training kids to be around dogs

I always had a dog growing up. We had one that was good to us, but would sometimes growl at my friends. He had to get used to my friends before he would let them pet him.

Wildlife Specialist Charlie Lee at Kansas State University says people seem more concerned about wildlife attacks than dog bites. But statistics indicate a dog is more likely to attack, especially when the victim is small, curious, and lacking in judgment. Lee says children need to be taught how to act around dogs

"To be cautious. Not all dogs are good dogs, and probably the next important thing would be how to approach a dog that they see somebody walking," says Lee. "The approach I think is certainly important because that initial approach can make that person a dog lover, or it can result a bite and someone that will never appreciate dogs."

A dog may feel threatened if a child runs up suddenly and tries to pet it. If the child yells and runs away, the dog might chase her.

Dogs also tend to guard things they perceive as theirs, and they don't like to be surprised. Teach your kids to approach a dog slowly, and hold out one hand to be sniffed. An accepting dog will respond by licking the hand and maybe wagging its tail. 

Children should also recognize the signs of aggression. 

"In most cases you're going to see the hair's going to stand up on their back and their neck, they may be baring their teeth, and there may be a growl," he says. "Or, it may be a combination of all of those."

When this happens, the best method is to stand very still and avoid eye contact with the dog by looking down at the ground. When the dog loses interest, the child should slowly back away until a safe distance from it. 

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