When do dogs bite kids? What situations are most dangerous? Learn the triggers and techniques to avoid biting.
In an earlier article, I discussed resource guarding and how to prevent it. If your dog guards his food, toys, or resting spots, then keep toys put away, be sure there’s a physical barrier between him and your child when the dog is eating or resting, and get a competent specialist in behavior modification to help you manage the problem and defuse it as much as possible.
An older child visiting a friend may not think twice about entering a yard where there’s a familiar dog. But if the dog wasn’t appropriately socialized in puppyhood, he may react aggressively to people entering the yard or house, even if he’s met them before. Such territory guarding seems to be the most common trigger for dog bites to older children. So if your child is visiting friends who have a dog, be sure the dog greets guests in friendly, welcoming ways. If your dog is the one who’s touchy about people stopping by, crate or otherwise confine him, and, again, get professional help.
Should You Rehome Your Dog?
It is reasonable to consider rehoming your dog if you have a significant worry that he may bite your child. Most rehomed dogs adjust well and bond quickly with their new guardians. Don’t just cross your fingers and hope a bite won’t happen; your child doesn’t deserve to get hurt, and if your dog does bite a child, your options for placing him drop off steeply.
Dog bites are scary. So let’s remind ourselves once again that although dogs often growl, snap, and bite, serious injury is surprisingly rare. We can help by appropriately socializing our puppies, by avoiding force and coercion in training our dogs, and by informing ourselves about dogs’ needs and body language so everybody can stay best friends.
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