Dog Article: Kids & Dogs.
Scarred for life by
Tricia Grey, Kasharno GSD
Published - QLD Dog World - November 2000
Recent dog attacks have once again raised
public awareness of dogs and dog ownership. Being aware of the possibilities
when combining children and dogs is fine but, in my opinion, being
prepared is better.
There are very few "bad dogs" and therefore
the responsibility for protecting children and our dogs must rest
with us. We, as adults, should take steps to reduce the chances
of a set circumstances leading to a tragedy.
No dog is 100% reliable with children.
Understanding why dog attacks happen is very important. The reason
for an attack is often forgotten by the media and if an attack involves
a child the injuries are usually facial and severe.
I am sure we all shudder when we read of another
attack but do we ever look at our own family pet and think it could
happen in our home. Of course it could. We understand how important
it is to socialize our dogs with people but this is not enough.
A well-educated dog still has 42 teeth and a basic instinct for
A dog's behaviour is influenced by his surroundings
and his previous experiences. If a dog has never seen an infant
he may "read" this new "thing" as a threat and attack. Why does
the dog not see the infant as human? Simple… They don't sound human,
they don't move as humans do and thanks to powders and lotions they
don't smell human. The dog with no memory to draw on, may misread
the situation. A proper introduction of the baby and dog is needed.
Once the dog understands this 'thing' is no threat he can draw on
these memories next time.
An adult dog lies in the sun and falls asleep.
Deep sleep. What bliss. Suddenly the dog is jumped on or fallen
over by a toddler. The dog wakes with a large dose of fear and the
instinct for self-preservation takes over. Attack is the best form
of defence. The child is badly bitten and the dog is on a one-way
trip to the vet. All of this could have been avoided.
A young child is eating a biscuit. The family
dog wants the biscuit. The child lifts his hand higher to keep the
biscuit away from the dog. The dog jumps up. The child falls and
screams. The scream triggers an attack from the dog. The child is
badly bitten and the dog on a one-way trip. Again, all of this could
have been avoided.
Kids and the dog go down to the creek for
a swim. The dog is in the water with the kids and keeps a watchful
eye on them. Good fun until the kids start to jump in off the creek
bank. One at a time the dog can cope with, but the kids jump in
two or three at a time. Dog becomes distressed. He can't keep track
of the kids. Dog starts swimming frantically, biting at the water
trying to find the missing child. You know the rest.
We spend many hours teaching our children
about "Stranger Danger". We spend many hours teaching them to ride
a bike. Kids are taught more about road rules than how to treat
the family dog even though both can kill. I have seen some cruel
acts by little children on dogs and yet we don't allow the dog to
retaliate. A little bit of forethought and a lot of education would
go a long way to reducing the risks.
TITLE: Parent told:
beware of the dogs
Published: The Sunday Mail December 31 2000.
By: ELISSA LAWRENCE
CHILDREN are at risk of dog attacks because
their parents are ignorant of basic safety measures.
A recent study of parents whose children had
suffered injury from a dog attack showed most had not recognised
the telltale signs of danger. In retrospect, however, most parents
said they saw ways the attack could have been prevented.
The study by the University of Western Australia's
department of Public health examined 150 dog attacks on children
over a 12 month period - an average of almost one every two days.
Parents of 64 children were surveyed.
Results show 75% of dog attacks on children aged between one and
six occurred in a private setting and that the head, neck or face
was the most common part of the body injured.
About 60% of parents said the dogs involved
were familiar with the child, and more than half of parents (57%)
said they could now identify ways that the attack could have been
avoided. Bigger breeds of dog such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds
and Dobermann's accounted for about 13 % of attacks, compared to
Blue Heelers (14%), Kelpies (11 %), Mongrels (9.5%), Border Collies
(6%) and Bull Terriers (6%).
Three out of five attacks were the result
of a child disturbing the dog, playing with or feeding the dog,
waking the dog from sleep or using body language perceived as threatening
by the dog.
Study author Alex Willson said parents were
often unaware of the dangers. "Parents need to have increased
awareness about prevention. Education is the Key" he said.
"Most attacks happen in people's backyards and parents tend to be
"In most cases, they know the dog because it is their own pet or
their friend's or neighbours dog. But they need to be just as careful
around familiar dogs as strange dogs."
Kay Hodges, manager of Bark Busters, a behavioural
dog therapy and training business said school holidays were a prime
time for dog attacks. "It's a time when people are getting a new
dog for the kids and dogs are being played with a lot more" she
"Kids gets excited in play and the dog's adrenalin is building up.
Dog's play differently to kids. They jump up and get excited and
they snap. "We need to get the word out that it can be avoided.
The last thing we want is to see kids out there being bitten unnecessarily.
TIPS - FOR PARENTS
1.Never leave a child alone with a dog.
2.When visiting a friend's house, don't let your child play
with the dog unsupervised.
3.Don't allow a child to feed a dog unsupervised.
4.Never let your child discipline your dog.
5.Never allow your dog to snatch food from your child.
TIPS - FOR CHILDREN
1.Never pat a strange dog, even if the owner is present.
2.Stay away while a dog is sleeping or eating.
3.Never pull a dog's tail or ears or tease it.
4.If knocked to the ground by a dog, roll into a ball, cover
your face with your arms and stay still.
for in Cars & Utes:
1. Never Leave dogs in the car on a
hot day even if the window is down and only for a minute, it may
be that minute too long. Dogs over heat quickly.
2. Always restrain you dog in the car, for the safety sake
of the dog and for yourself. In the event of an accident or even
heavy braking the dog could become propelled into you or out the
window. There are a number of excellent harnesses on the market
3. Always restrain you dog in the back of a Ute. At the front
centre of the tray, so it only has just enough lead to more a little
from side to side.
4. Do "break in" the dog into riding in the back of a Ute.
Allow the dog to take short trips, increasing each time until they
seam comfortable & sure footed.
5. Don't allow your dog(s) to eat or drink too much before
a long trip.
6. Do stop often to give your dog a break and explore the
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