Many Territorians keep dogs to protect themselves or their property. Unfortunately dogs can also pose a risk to their owners. Most dog bites occur to young children by a familiar dog in a safe environment. Often it is their own dog in their own home. Most bites are to the face or hands, so the results can be devastating and often emotionally and physically scarring. Very rarely they can even be fatal.
Why are children attacked more than adults? Children are often fast moving, loud and behave unpredictably. Dogs are more likely to see children as equals or subordinates. It is normal behaviour in a dog pack for a dominant dog to punish a naughty subordinate with a bite. Kids’ faces are often at the dog’s mouth height so the severity of the bites is often worse than for adults.
The risk of dogs biting children can be minimised by teaching the kids how to behave around dogs.
Children should be kept away from a dog while it is eating.
Kids should not engage in rough biting play with dogs and they shouldn’t grab the dog around the neck.
Let sleeping dogs lie; wake it by calling to it first before touching it.
Dogs with young pups require particular care as they can be very protective of their babies.
You should always ask the dog’s owner’s permission before approaching a strange dog or entering its yard. It is best to allow the dog to approach you rather than approach it.
Children under five years old should never be left alone with any dog.
If dogs do get into a fight it is important not to get involved yourself. Most fights only last moments and it is usually best to let them run their course before rendering aid.
When selecting a new dog it is also important to choose carefully to get a friendly dog. An aggressive dog is not a better guard than a friendly one but instead creates a new risk for your family.