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Helping Kids and Dogs Interact Safely

Kids are naturally enthusiastic. It's up to all of us to teach them - and adults, too! - how to properly treat and approach dogs. Our responsibility as pet owners include:

  • Socializing our dogs. This is generally easier to do with younger dogs; by exposing them to other animals and people - under safe and appropriate conditions - you can teach your dog what type of behavior is expected of him.

  • Keeping our dogs under control. Dogs must always be under control, whether leashed or not - leash-free areas are not an excuse to have a wild, out-of-control dog.

  • Educating others on the proper way to handle dogs. By collectively doing our parts in helping others to understand dogs, we all benefit.

DO's and DON'Ts When Introducing Kids and Dogs


  • Ask the owner for permission to pet the dog. Even if the dog looks friendly, always ask first!

  • Approach the dog slowly and gently, and allow him to sniff your hand before scratching him on the chest or petting him along his side.

  • Don't try to handle injured dogs alone. Injured dogs may bite out of fear or pain. Ask an adult for help.

  • Stand still and be calm and quiet if a dog approaches you.

  • Get an adult if you see a stray dog that needs help.


  • Don't run towards a dog or throw your arms around it. Remember to approach slowly and always ask the owner for permission to pet the dog.

  • Don't tease a dog or throw things at it.

  • Don't try to take food or toys away, or bother the dog when he's eating or sleeping.

  • Don't pet a dog by reaching through a car window, a kennel, or a fence. Likewise, don't pet dogs in the back of a truck. Many dogs are nervous or protective and may bite.

  • Don't assume that every dog is friendly just because it's tail is wagging. Ask the owner if it's okay to pet the dog.

Please also visit our article on reading a dog's body language.