Bits About Bites
Best Dogs?
Why Dogs Bite
Dog Language
Preventing Bites
SK/SD Talks
Free Online Book
Safety Songs
Service Dog Safety
Picture Notes
Photo Album

Updated 5/2014

© at the bottom of the page

Preventing Bites

Before you look at the site - please read the Picture Notes page.

Dog bite prevention first begins at home.  It does not matter if you have children or not or whether you have a dog or not, safety still begins at home.

This is what the Safe Kids/Safe Dogs Project was designed to do - Teach how to reduce dog-related accidents to all. The materials can be adapted to any age group from prenatal parenting education to seniors, field workers (i.e. gas, water, electrical meter readers), dog owners, teachers, medical professionals (pediatricians and nurses can be great ways to teach about dog safety), etc.

A few dog safety tips...

Here is a quick mnemonic device called WAGS for Dog Safety
By C.& N. Holmes with
NH Pets Online.  We have been in communication and this is used with permission - please do not use this without giving proper credit back!

    Wait!       Always wait for an adult before approaching a strange dog.

    Ask!        Always ask the owner's permission before petting a dog.

    Gentle!     Be gentle when petting a dog.

    Slow!       Move slowly when meeting and petting a dog.

Children and Parents

Never run up to a dog, even one you know.

Never scream or run around a dog, even your own.

Approach dogs from the side or front - do not sneak up on a dog from behind or while the dog is sleeping or eating.

Never approach a dog without adult supervision - even if the dog belongs to a friend or neighbor.

Always let the dog sniff you first and do not stare him in the eye, some dogs may be threatened by this.

Pat under the chin or on the back, some dogs may get nervous if you touch the top of the head.

If approached by a dog, stand still. If you are on a bike, stop, put the bike down and stand still.  Never run or ride away!

Never approach a dog that is acting afraid or one that is growling or showing teeth - even if the owner is there.

Never hang over fences or put your hands through fence openings to touch a dog, even one you know.

Leave a mother and pups be - she may become protective!

Avoid rough games such as tug-of-war, jumping up for toys/food, wrestling and chase the kid.

Never tease or hit a dog or pull ears, tail or feet.

Always inform an adult if you see a loose dog.

Never run away from a dog - it can encourage a chase. 

If a dog threatens you, avoid eye contact, hold a rolled up jacket or book bag in front of you and back away slowly. Do not scream or run.  The dog could chase you.

If a dog attacks, roll up like a ball and put your hands behind your neck

Dog Owners

Begin training and socializing your dog or puppy starting the first day it comes into your house. Enroll in a positively based Puppy or Adult dog obedience class. To read about the dangers of punishment based training please visit this page and read the many wonderful pieces.

Get your dog accustomed to having every part of the body handled.

Never allow a child to scream, yell or run around a dog. Even if the dog and child belong to you.

Keep your dog securely fenced and not tied in your yard. Tying can encourage unwanted behaviors.  Electric fences offer no protection for your dog from others and many dogs learn to ignore the fence over time and escape.

Keep your dog leashed when in public.  If you want to let him run, go to an area designated for off-leash dogs such as a dog park.

Never leave your dog unattended in the yard when you are not home or are asleep- the temptation for children to "visit" can be too great.

Make sure your dog knows the rules of greeting: always sitting calmly. If the dog cannot sit, the dog cannot be greeted.

Never let a child walk a dog unsupervised. Even a medium-sized dog can pull down a child or the child may become frightened and drop the leash. 

Always supervise children (even teenagers) with dogs.  And do not hesitate to reinforce the behaviors from both that you want.

Never force your dog to "say hi" if he is acting wary of a person.

Make sure people wishing to greet your dog are behaving nicely.

Monitor your dog's behavior and address any concerns immediately with a trainer or behaviorist. 

Use every opportunity to teach about dog safety.

Spay/Neuter your pet dog.  Hormones can make dogs less tolerant. People who responsibly show dogs know the extra responsibility of owning an intact dog. They go the extra mile to ensure the dog is well socialized. But the average dog is often less socialized or trained. Add in hormones and the chance of the dog becoming a problem are increased to varying degrees. Altering is NOT a cure-all for undesired behaviors in the pet dog, but can be a step towards working with them.

Learning About Dog Safety E-Book goes into greater detail and has a section with lots of pictures designed just for preschoolers and toddlers. AND IT IS FREE!!!


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© copyright 2002-2014 Karen Peak, The Safe Kids/Safe Dogs Project.

No part of this website may be used without written permission of Karen Peak, all pictures and writings are property of Karen Peak, West Wind Dog Training unless otherwise noted.

The Safe Kids/Safe Dogs Project is property of West Wind Dog Training.

All pictures on this site were sent to the Safe Kids/Safe Dogs Project with the understanding that the pictures were taken or owned by the individual sending them.