How to Prevent Dog Bites at Home


Let's start here: any dog can bite. Even the most friendly and easygoing dog will bite if provoked. Believe it or not, the vast majority of dog bites are from a familiar dog - often the family pet. When a bite occurs, both the dog and child pay a very high price for it. Children can be physically hurt and emotionally damaged if they get bitten. The dog often ends up in a shelter.

The most important thing you can do to prevent dog bites at home is supervision. Number 2 is training, for both the kids and the dog. Teach your children to respect your pets and train and socialize your dog.


  • Most dogs don't like to be hugged. Some will tolerate it, but that doesn't mean they enjoy it.

  • Tell your kids not to kiss Fido; dogs like to be petted instead.

  • Keep your children away from the dog when he's eating. Even if your dog is OK with it, no one wants to be bothered when they eat.

  • Don't stare at the dog and don't put your face in the dog's face.

  • Kids should never throw anything at the dog, yell, hit, tease, or pick him up.

  • Don't ride the dog, no matter how large they are.

  • Make your dog part of your family! Don't lock them up, tie them up, or keep them outside all the time.

  • Teach your children that if the family dog has grabbed something that belongs to your child, they should get an adult, not attempt to get the toy back by themselves.

  • Remind your children that pets have feelings and can feel pain, just like they do.

  • Consider your child's age. If they are very young, you can't expect them to remember the rules.

  • Children should never put their fingers in the dog's eyes, ears, mouth, or bum (with very young kids this frequently happens - it looks like a target).


  • Set up a crate or private space for your dog. Teach your child that when Fido goes to his space, it means he needs a break and a nap.

  • Show your kids how to touch the family pet. Petting on their back is good, with soft, long strokes.

  • Work with your child to teach the dog new tricks; it's fun for everyone.

  • Talk in a calm, happy voice to Fido. Many children read books to the family dog, which is an excellent activity for both of them!

  • Teach youngsters to be kind to all animals.

  • Do things your dog likes - fetch is a fun game for everyone.

  • Teach your kids to let sleeping dogs lie; no one likes being roused from a nap!

Please watch the following video; it will help you and your children learn how to read dog body language. It's fun to learn, and it's a life skill you will often use.

Dog Body Language (includes a fun picture quiz)

You'll have a safe and happy home once your pets and kids understand each other!