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How to prevent dog bites in children and what to do if your dog bites your child


“Vector bit me!” My toddler cried, Nicholas. Unconvinced, by Nicholas’s positive imagination, I stood up to investigate. I find myself arbitrating on one side – my dear son, often incapable of telling the truth, and on the other – my beloved lifeboat, inherently incapable of telling me anything. what. At first glance, there is no clue.

But for once my toddler was not exaggerated. Proof that the pink tears flowed down his face, Vector had bitten 10 times on his cheeks, so fiercely that he was bleeding. Nicholas screamed, and I was … stunned.

To say that this was not Vector-specific would be an expression similar to shrugging indifferently when Lassie ate Timmy (from the 1954 Lassie television series). At the age of nine, Vector had never been aggressive toward people – especially not his immediate family – and his time with us predated Nicholas. From becomes a big four-legged brother In 2016, Vector performed the standard hits, buckets, falls, and somersaults that young children give to their dogs with diplomatic indifference.

Vector loves Nicholas and vice versa. So what exactly happened?

Behind the bite

Separating the dog from the bitten one, I took Vector to a centimeter-wide room, shutting the door behind me. Next up was Nicholas. Suspecting that a toddler’s selective memory would soon distort the truth with fiction, I gave him a stuffed animal. “Show me what happened,” I said. Nicholas reenacted one of his key moves: hugging Vector from behind. Though not informed in hindsight, it was a scenario that had played out hundreds of times before. Why did this case end in bloodshed?

I go back to Vector. After a few select words that when I look back, I’m thankful he couldn’t fully understand, I calmed down, turned him around and imitated Nicholas’s approach. Nothing.

I know, I’m Vector’s favorite. If I could get him to react to me, that would confirm my suspicions that the bite was a defensive response to pain. I tried it again, this time under his right hand. Biting his hand, Vector grabbed the air near mine – he almost bit me. Bingo.

The next day, a trip to the vet uncovered a newly received bruise, which could have accumulated from tall marks in one of Vector’s infamous attempts to steal food. The case is closed, but the last thing I want is to repeat it. Here’s what I have learned about preventing dog biting incidents around children.

Supervision, supervision, supervision

My family’s bite incident – an incident involving a dog in a close relationship and a child he has lived and loved for more than three years – shows how easy comfort it is to create out complacency. I committed a crime by overly trusting a plump 3-year-old and a cuddly pet that, although often very tolerant, was able to act if startled, threatened or injured.

I should have taken the same precautions as Nicholas to minimize the chance of Vector biting any small child, whether mine or that of a perfect stranger. Although well-matched, young children and dogs can create an unsettling situation that requires proper supervision.

“The first thing I tell the adopters is to always supervise your baby with your dog,” said Samantha Gurrie, director of adoptions in Brooklyn. Project Satowhere dogs rescued from Puerto Rico and sent them to families across the eastern United States.

Of course, Samantha realizes that it is almost impossible to monitor both our dog and dog all the time. For example, in cases where an adult is running around the house doing chores – or more and more people working from home – it is time to keep the dog away from the child. Here, pet or child portals can be an effective tool, as they often allow the dog to still see everything and therefore not feel completely obscured.

Teach your kids what to do and don’t do

Samantha also emphasizes the importance of teaching young children to live with dogs how to properly interact with them.

“Don’t disturb a dog when it is sleeping, don’t grab its ears or pull its tail, don’t jump on top of it,” Samantha continued. “It makes me a bit thrilled to see pictures on social media of kids crawling all over dogs or even riding them like horses.”

She added that young children, a lack of impulse control and an ability to understand that dogs can mislead innocent intentions, are almost always the mastermind of a bite. Taking a toy the dog enjoys, disturbing it during meal and bedtime, or surprising the animal all have the potential to lead to stray dog ​​encounters.

According to Jill Breitner, dog body language expert and founder of California-based Shewhisperer Dog Training, 77% of dog bites happen to friends and family. For families who are having a problem with dog-puppy compatibility, she recommends contacting Family Paws Parent Education, which offers safety programs.

Be aware of body language

Of course, the practice of bite prevention also extends beyond the home. Adults with dogs must remember that children will be … well, kids. The kids are unpredictable, unknown and vulnerable. The adult motivation to identify a dog’s warning signs could be a sign of a bite, bite, or other flare-up.

“It’s important to know the warning signs that a dog is under stress: looking away, hiding, licking his lips, gasping for air,” says Jill.

Prevent problematic situations

Situation awareness is another priority. Surprise, surprise: The house dog family eats human food. Therefore, be especially cautious at gatherings that involve food – especially large parties like barbecue parties. For those with dodgy canines, like Vector, very good at stealing food, a ruminant kid is the most susceptible to mark and, if the kid overreacts, the encounter could resulting in more than one burger being bitten. Consider this, chaining (if outside) or chasing the dog out of the room (if inside) during food gatherings is the safest way.

There’s also one thing not to do outside of the house: Never tie your dog and walk away. Like humans, dogs have two options when threatened: fight or run. Tying your pet to a pole while you run into a coffee will detract from the preferred option – flight – and exponentially increase the other’s appearance. Do not give young children – or anyone else – the chance to approach your pet cuddly but in captivity, because a pat on the head can turn into a slight bite on the hand.

Unfortunately, no precaution is completely safe. If dog bites do happen, Samantha and Jill agree that reprimanding the dog may sound plausible at first, but in fact counterproductive. Per Jill, “Dogs that punish verbally or physically only increase their fear, thereby increasing the likelihood of being bitten again.”

With vigilance and best practice, the risk of a dog biting with young children is greatly reduced. For my family, a single bite didn’t ruin the relationship: Nicholas, while once bitten, doesn’t mean being shy about embracing his four-legged big brother … except now, he will definitely approach from the front.

Continue reading: How to help your dog weather big changes


Why Gates is GREAT!

When you cannot supervise children and dogs, manage the situation using the portal. They keep children and dogs separate but allow the dogs to see what’s going on and feel part of the family.

6-Panel Dog Gate Richell Convertible Elite. Use as pen, gate freedom or room divider. Includes a door panel and is available in four colors. The height is 31.5 inches. $ 240. Richell USA; available at petco.com

Combination port. Portals for babies and dogs with style: Changing with 24 art screens to choose from. Comes in various sizes, along with extensions Starting at $ 179. Fused; fusiongates.com

Etna Flower Cut-Out Design Adjustable Wooden Pet Gate. For small to medium dogs, this port is 19 inches tall. Made of wood, easy to move and fold, $ 79. Etna; available at chew.com



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