July 02, 2015

Q: I live with my in-laws and they have a dog with a hot and cold disposition. One minute hes loving all over her the next he is growling. He has already attempted to bite her. It was only a grazing injury but I'm worried about the next time. How do I teach my 17m old to stay away from the dog when the grandmother just tries to keep them separated? Im at a loss when it comes to discussing this with her. My only recourse is training my child. Please help.

A: Here are Safe Kids tips regarding dogs and children – a split between working with the dog and the child:

  • Socialize your pet. Gradually expose your puppy to a variety of people and other animals so it feels at ease in these situations; continue this exposure as your dog gets older.
  • Train your dog. Commands can build a bond of obedience and trust between the dog and owner. Avoid aggressive games with your dog.
  • Vaccinate your dog against rabies and other diseases.
  • Neuter or spay your dog. These dogs are less likely to bite.
  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Teach your child to ask a dog owner for permission before petting any dog.
  • Let a strange dog sniff you or your child before touching it, and pet it gently, avoiding the face and tail.
  • Never bother a dog if it is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Do not run past a dog.
  • If a dog threatens you, remain calm. Avoid eye contact. Stand still or back away slowly until the dog leaves. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and protect your face with your arms and fists.

Answered by Dr. Jamie Freishtat


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