Dog Body Language: Teaching Children The Signs
Children are naturally curious, high energy, and adventurous, and these characteristics often come out in full force when they interact with dogs. Their love for canines put them at risk of injuries, so statistics on children and dog bites are concerning for every Georgia parent. Around half of all victims are children, and the highest rate of injuries occur to children aged 5 to 9 years old. In fact, getting bitten or attacked by a dog is the second leading reason parents take kids to the ER for emergency treatment.
Another important point about children and dog bites involves understanding body language, the physical signs, sounds, and indications that a canine is feeling pressure or distress. In many cases, the dog sends a message before attacking, but children are not experienced in recognizing this communication. Parents can protect their children from child dog bite injuries in Atlanta by teaching them the signs.
Tail and Ears
When a dog feels threatened, it will often draw its ears back – almost flat to the head. Depending on the breed, the position of the ears may not be so obvious. Another physical indicator is the tail. Wagging is a good sign, but canines tend to lower their tails and hindquarters when feeling vulnerable. Explain these factors to your child as a visual clue.
The most important audible sign is rather easy to spot, and even young children can be taught to avoid a growling dog. Growling with barking and snarling is quite obvious, but describe how to listen for a low, almost imperceptible sound in the throat. This is a warning and should be treated as such.
Dogs are quite expressive through their faces and eyes, so they will give someone a glare when feeling uncomfortable. A hard, almost threatening stare from a dog is communicating a message, and it is “Stay away.”
Much like humans, a dog’s stance can tell you that it is feeling distressed. This posture is usually the animal’s strategy for protection, so you might see a mother dog take an aggressive stance when her puppies are nearby.
Additional Tips for Parents
Reading a dog’s language is important, but it can be difficult for young children. As such:
- Train your child to always ask permission from the owner before approaching an unfamiliar dog.
- Tell children to stay clear of dogs when eating or nursing puppies.
- If you encounter an aggressive dog, avoid eye contact.
- Instruct children to keep their faces away from the dog’s face, which the animal may view as a challenge.
Contact an Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyer to Discuss Legal Options
It is helpful for individuals of all ages to know a dog’s body language and signs that an attack is imminent. However, even these useful tips cannot prevent all dog bites. To learn more about your rights as a parent, please contact Zagoria Law right away. You can set up a no-cost case assessment with an Atlanta child dog bite injuries attorney by calling 404.653.0023 or going online.