Setting bite-proof boundaries? Help dogs and children get along better this summer
It’s a real shame, but more children are bitten by dogs during the summer holidays than at any other time. Thankfully, most nips and bites aren’t serious – but knowing some of the reasons why they happen, and how to keep children safe, can be a big help at this time of year.
Why are there more bites in the summer?
The simple answer is that children are just around more. But it’s also true that it’s not usually the family dog that does the biting. A lot of bites happen while children are staying with friends or extended family. If a dog’s not used to having children around for long periods, they may well have a much shorter fuse.
But my dog loves children…
That doesn’t mean there’s no risk of a bite. Biting isn’t always angry or aggressive; it’s just as likely to result from some boisterous playing. Just like children, dogs can get over stimulated and lose self-control – even the most placid dog can nip when having a mad five minutes.
What you can do
•Always watch children and dogs while they’re playing, and stop the game if the excitement gets too much. If the dog mouths a child (puts their mouth on skin or clothing) or tries to grab them, give everyone some time out.
•If you can’t see them easily, it’s better to keep your dog and child separate. You can prepare your dog for this by getting them used to being alone in a room or dog crate before children come round.
•Be extra careful while you’re preparing food. You might all be in the same room, but with your eyes on the worktops, oven, sink or fridge, you won’t always be able to see what’s going on.
•Get the paddling pool out. Being hot and bothered makes everyone tetchy – so if your dog likes water, having a paddle can be a great relief, both for them and the kids.