Here is a startling fact for you: 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. every year, and most victims are children interacting with familiar dogs. To help reduce the occurrence of dog bites, the American Veterinary Medical Association has launched Dog Bite Prevention Week. During this week, the AVMA has partnered with other organizations to reach out and inform Americans of what they can do to protect themselves, their children, and their pets. As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our children how to properly interact with animals, just as it is the responsibility of pet owners to effectively train and socialize their animals. The ASPCA has some great tips, including a list of “pledges” to recite with your children, and an activity sheet.
1. I will not stare into a dog’s eyes.
2. I will not tease dogs behind fences.
3. I will not go near dogs chained up in yards.
4. I will not touch a dog I see loose (off-leash) outside.
5. If I see a loose dog, I will tell an adult immediately.
6. I will not run and scream if a loose dog comes near me.
7. I will stand very still (like a tree), and will be very quiet if a dog comes near me.
8. I will not touch or play with a dog while he or she is eating.
9. I will not touch a dog when he or she is sleeping.
10. I will only pet a dog if I have received permission from the dog’s owner.
11. Then I will ask permission of the dog by letting him sniff my closed hand