Danger With Unfamiliar Dogs

Not every dog is man's best friend. Be sure that you know how to act around unfamiliar dogs.

This article should be read and discussed with your parents.

Dogs for Kids usually follows an informative, light-hearted format. The articles are designed to impart information in a fun way, so that you can enjoy the topic and, in the process, learn something useful.

Well, we are going to make a sharp right turn during this article: There is no fun in here.

Instead, we are going to discuss the important topics of how to act around strange dogs and how they react to you. If you do not act correctly, you might end up getting bitten or worse.

There are no hard and fast rules that if obeyed will always keep you safe when confronted with a strange dog, but we do have some tips that should keep you out of trouble.


Family Matters
According to well-known dog trainer Matthew Margolis (aka Uncle Matty), children younger than the age of 12 are attacked by dogs more than any other age group.

Margolis, the host of Woof! Its a Dogs Life on PBS, has written numerous animal behavior books including Grrr! The Complete Guide to Understanding & Preventing Aggressive Behavior in Dogs (Little Brown, 2003). His informative website also has an entire section about dealing with canine aggression.

Margolis says that children younger than 12 also are more often bitten by the family pet. So let us begin by thinking about your own pet.

How does your dog act around you and your friends? Is he friendly, fun-loving, tail-wagging happy to interact with you? Are there any times that your pet will bark, snarl or snap at you? Has he ever bitten you in the past?

As much as we would like to consider our pets as miniature people, the truth is that dogs are canines, not four-legged children, and their reactions will not mimic the choices a two-legged child would make.

More than 5 million dog bites a year occur from the family pet, and probably another 5 million go unreported, Margolis says. While the focus of this article is on strange dogs and avoiding their bite, it wouldn’t hurt to think of your  pets behavior, too. Does he show any outward signs of aggression? Is he especially protective of his food bowl, his toys or his place on the sofa? Does he guard his food or growl when you try to retrieve the bowl if he hasn’t finished eating?

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