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Children and Dogs: Living Compatibly

Dogs like it when you...

  • Treat them with respect and kindness.

  • Approach them from the front.

  • Ask their owners' permission before petting.

  • Let them sniff you before you begin petting.

  • Stand still and quiet when they approach you.

  • Let them know you are near by talking softly or whistling, and not startling them

Dogs do not like it when you...

  • Run past or turn your back on them and run away. (A dog's instinct is to chase and catch fleeing prey.)

  • Approach them when they are confined or restrained, especially if they do not know you.

  • Disturb them while they are sleeping, eating, or guarding something. (Dogs naturally guard their food, puppies, and toys. Dogs also protect their owners, as well as property that belongs to their owners such as homes, yards, or cars.)

  • Put your hands between them and another dog.

  • Put your face close to theirs.

  • Pull anything out of their mouth, such as a bone, toy, or stick.

  • Pick them up or carry them.

  • Chase or tease them.

  • Approach them if they are injured. Instead, tell an adult about the dog.

If threatened by a dog...

  • Remain calm and quiet

  • Most dogs will only sniff you, decide you aren't a threat, and walk away. Try to remain motionless until the dog moves away, then back up slowly until he or she is out of site.

  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around.

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