Playgrounds are supposedly your family’s go-to places for fun and relaxation. While kids run and play, you can just find a spot to sit and catch up with your favorite novel or enjoy music on your player while keeping an eye on your children.
In playgrounds, you can also witness pets doing their own thing. They either play fetch, walk with their owners, or do some tricks they’ve learned from their obedience training.
However, the problem arises when someone’s dog becomes unruly; worse, aggressive. How do you protect your child in this situation?
What Makes Dogs Go Into A Frenzy?
Most domesticated dogs are trained to become tame and friendly towards humans. However, they are still animals, and there’s a limit to what they can tolerate.
Here are some reasons behind dogs’ aggressiveness, which can lead to them attacking humans:
- Lacking in exercise - Yes, parks should be a place and opportunity where dogs can get that much-needed exercise. However, when they have been homebound for so long, being finally let out in an extremely stimulating place can make them overly excited. They may not mean harm, but because of the pent-up energy, they may become more aggressive than they should.
- Untrained - Unless the breed is one that is calm and an unaffected type, bringing your dog on a park or playground with lots of people, especially kids, can be an unwise decision. Even a trained dog needs a proper introduction to fellow dogs and humans to warm up, so you cannot expect an untrained one to be automatically friendly to everyone.
- Pregnant or in-heat - This one’s a big no-no, unless you want to test how much you can take control of a situation, which may not sit well with other park goers. Female dogs in heat emit pheromones, which male dogs can smell even from miles away. This can lead to these male dogs fighting over your pet.
Ways to Protect Kids from Aggressive Dogs at the Playground
Regardless of how authorities ensure the safety of these playgrounds, you still need to educate yourself about safety while on these premises. This is to avoid any untoward incidents that may result in injuries and even deaths among children.
However, when it comes to animals, especially dogs, you also need to do the necessary precautions as dog bites and other dog-related injuries are prevalent. In fact, there are about 4.7 million dog bites reported in the USA every year, and half of those are suffered by children aged five to nine years old.
You can follow the recommendations below to protect your kids against dog attacks:
- Since you cannot prevent pet owners from bringing their pets at parks and playgrounds, look for a place that has separate areas for dogs. Also, be aware of the kind of regulations a certain playground has to protect goers from animal interactions.
- Keep an eye on the children at all times. Dogs can sometimes appear or act harmless, but can be ready to attack anytime they feel threatened or confused. Ensure that they don’t, in any way, act in a way that may be misinterpreted by the animal as a threat. Remember, even the most friendly dogs can still cause harm as a way of self-defense.
- If your kids are already old enough to be taught or trained on how to act in the presence of animals, here are a few tricks they have to learn:
- Don’t ever run in the presence of an aggressive dog.
- Keep control of the situation by acting like a leader to the dog by instructing them to follow simple obedience tricks, such as sit, “no”, stay, or go home.
- Keep still, don’t move, and don’t make eye contact with an aggressive dog.
- Distract the dog using an umbrella, a bag, or a bike to serve as a barrier between yourself and the dog.
- Look for an elevated area or playground equipment where you can climb slowly.
- When already knocked down by an aggressive dog, it’s essential to roll onto your stomach, and your hands should cover your nape and ears.
- If worse comes to worst, a dog bite attorney can assist you in getting the owner liable for the injuries caused by their dog.
Prevention Above All
There’s no better way to avoid all the danger that aggressive dogs can bring to your kids’ safety than preventing things from happening. As much as possible, try not to go to areas where there are many animals, especially large dogs and those breeds known to be aggressive.
Also, teach your kids not to pet a dog on instinct and to always ask permission if they can’t help it, even if the dog is a small breed and very friendly. Most of all, tell them to never try to touch a dog that’s sleeping. They don’t want to startle it and feel threatened, which can cause it to bite in retaliation or defense.
Just because the place seems safe and the animals in it look harmless doesn’t mean you can put your guard down. Dogs’ behavior can be unpredictable, especially in a highly stimulating environment.
By being proactive, you can enjoy family bonding without having to worry about hospital bills, court proceedings, and the thought of your children getting severely harmed.