of all dogs and live by the rules of pack behaviour. This behaviour
understood by humans, can give us valuable information on how to prevent
biting people particularly children. Dog society is strictly
hierarchical, with a
dominant dog and subservient others in order of dominance.
Herein lies the very first problem in dealing with children and dogs.
view a young child as below them in the pack hierarchy . Therefore a
treat a child according to pack rules. For example a child will never
be able to
take food from a dog who believes he is the dominant animal. He may
rule with a warning growl, or if ignored a full blooded snarl and even a
NEVER TRY TO TAKE FOOD FROM A DOG.
NEVER EVEN APPROACH A DOG EATING.
Now for the next problem. Dogs do love people and they do love to play.
Sometimes a dog will run up to or charge at a child. This is often just
exuberance and a desire to play. However if a child runs, screams or
terrified the dog gets confused. It may chase a running child and bring
as it would prey. The child may be bitten by an aggressive dog or
licked by a
friendly one! The point is the child does not know what the dog will
do, so the
child must prevent this happening.
NEVER RUN AWAY FROM A CHARGING DOG.
STAND STILL, LOOK AT THE GROUND, WITH HANDS AT
Next we must remember that staring at a dog is viewed as a threatening
behaviour. It is best not to make eye contact or stare at a strange
dog. If you
watch puppies or lower ranked dogs in a pack or group it is easy to see
avoid eye contact with the dominant animals.
NEVER STARE AT OR MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH A STRANGE
Now, touching or attempting to pat a strange dog, is unwise and should
attempted without the dog owners permission and with the animal under
owner's control. This again is hard for a child to judge and I would
child only ever attempt to pat a strange dog with his/her own parent/s
child should only ever attempt to pat the dog under the chin, never on
top of the
head. Patting the top of the head indicates attempting to dominate the
Another warning about patting involved no fast movement which the dog
misinterpret. Particularly do not pull your hand away from the dog
ONLY PAT STRANGE DOGS UNDER SUPERVISION
DO NOT PAT TOP OF HEAD AND ALWAYS MOVE HANDS
This page was written by Sue Kennedy, from information gathered from my
observations of pack
behaviour, my own child's interaction with dogs and from my own
education about dogs in
obedience classes. There are many more comprehensive information
sources available and I
encourage you to search them out, and above all, to educate your child
or children to safely deal
with dogs. Dog give humans a great deal of pleasure and dog biting
represents only a minority
issue, but when it occurs the results can be quite devasting for all.
So please, be DOG AWARE.
Thank you for your wonderful advice and information. I do teach my children
about dogs and how they think. I feel it is important and may save them the
horror of a dog bite someday!
Personally I take a different route.
1) First thing, I make eye contact with the dog (I stare at him). If you
observe you can spot an aggressive dog (a biter) quickly. They will turn
away, they may growl, they may act nervous, they will not generally act
friendly. (yeah, anything is possible)
2) If the dog doesn't run over with his tail wagging or if he doesn't leap
strait away for your throat, I always speak playfully and call them "pup".
It is amazing how this can change a dogs demeanor. Many owners call their
dog "pup" once in a while when they're young (the dog, not the owner). It's
like the dog thinks you actually know each other, since you know his
3) If all the above fail and the dog bites you anyway, don't blame me,
anything is possible. And if it does come down to just you and the dog, a
good solid kick in the throat will stop that biting nonsense pretty quickly.
What? It won't stop "your" dog? Well, it will stop a full grown doberman in
mid-leap. ('course, I hopefully won't have to test the theory again <g> )
>Most dogs are friendly and love humans with a passion. However all dogs
>are first of all dogs and live by the rules of pack behaviour
Personally I take a different route.
> 2) If the dog doesn't run over with his tail wagging or if he doesn't leap
> strait away for your throat, I always speak playfully and call them "pup".
> It is amazing how this can change a dogs demeanor. Many owners call their
> dog "pup" once in a while when they're young (the dog, not the owner). It's
> like the dog thinks you actually know each other, since you know his
> Rick McQuay