Family 411: Advice on keeping kids safe around dogs

Advice on keeping kids safe around dogs (WSYX)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC) - Dogs can be our closest companions. But sometimes man's best friend will bite. According to the CDC, there are more than four million dog bites in the united states each year.

Scottie MacConachie is a canine trainer who not only knows how to teach dogs to do tricks. "I think the number one rule when meeting a dog is that we always want to let the dog come to us."

He also teaches humans the basics on how to stay safe with dogs.

Eleven year old Audrey Stoneberg was bitten by a dog when she was younger. She says people should be still when approached by an unfamiliar dog. "Don't look them in the eye , they will be intimidated and want to pounce on you or bite you."

Trainers say try to avoid leaning directly over the dog or coming right into a dog's face. And if you are giving the pooch a treat, watch your fingers.

Students get the message, don't always be in a hurry to pet a dog. "If a dog does bite you. You need to freeze. You want to be a dead animal at that point."

Jaden says never run from a dog you don't know as they are attracted to the movement. "It would look at you as kind of a rabbit because they are predators," said Jaden, 10.

Scottie says it's a good idea to scout the park and watch for signs of unfriendly dogs. A wagging tail does not always mean a dog is happy. "If the dog is hard, staring from a long distance , tail up in the air standing tall. That is a dog I am probably going to avoid."

Students learn to use a backpack or other clothing to protect themselves and keep a dog from biting them.

According to the CDC, the rate of dog-bite related injuries is highest for kids ages five to nine. And over half of those injuries occur at home with dogs that are familiar to us. "It does bother me that so many children are getting attacked by dogs and it is so unnecessary."

Anyone bitten by a dog should seek medical attention if the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen, or if it has been more than five years since your last tetanus shot and the bite is deep.

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