Most of you have probably never even heard teaching our children to “stand like a tree” if an unknown dog approaches you. Instead we might try to grab the dog’s collar or lean over and pat its head. Many people teach their children to put a hand out for the dog to sniff. We might even get down into the dogs personal space and try to give that pooch a good snuggle. Whoa! Most of these actions could get you bit, especially with an unfamiliar dog! Instead you should stand perfectly still (like a tree) and avoid making eye contact with the dog.
These misconceptions are often the reason that 4.5 million people per year are bit by dogs and 60% of the victims are children. To help lower these numbers, the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association has introduced a bite prevention program that coordinators can take into the community to help teach children how to safely act around dogs and prevent bites.
Carver Lake Veterinary Center’s Bite Prevention Team has been out and about in the community teaching kids how to safely approach dogs and how to react if a strange dog approaches them.
In 2010 we met many local families at the Safety Fair in Inver Grove Heights and spent another morning enjoying the energy of our youth at Woodbury’s Safety Camp. This year we continue to spread the word and teach children the appropriate ways to handle themselves in the situation of an approaching strange dog. The good news is that most dog bites can be prevented!
The MVMA Dog Bite Prevention Program teaches children:
- How to safely approach and pet a dog
- How to know the difference between a “safe” and “unsafe” dog
- Basic dog body language
- How to STAND LIKE A TREE or LIE LIKE A LOG if a strange dog approaches you.
Our Bite Prevention Team would be happy to speak to your elementary school or youth group about how to be safe around dogs. Please contact Carver Lake and ask to speak to our Certified Veterinary Technician, Kelly to learn more.