Safety experts look at how to protect children who interact with - KCTV5

Safety experts look at how to protect children who interact with dogs

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Cada says it's on parents and caregivers to teach children dog safety as early as possible. (AP) Cada says it's on parents and caregivers to teach children dog safety as early as possible. (AP)
FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

Spring weather is bringing everyone outside, kids, adults and dogs. That makes it the perfect time for families to talk about staying safe around pets.  

Even the gentlest dogs can bite and that leaves many people what they need to do to protect themselves and their families.

The American Humane Association reports that 66 percent of bites among children occur to the head and neck. And dog safety experts say most dog bites happen to children who already know the dog.

Geralynn Cada is a certified dog trainer with more than 30 years of experience.  She specializes in helping train dogs who live with families who have children.

Cada says it's on parents and caregivers to teach children dog safety as early as possible.

First, she says, people should always ask the dog owner permission before approaching any dog. Once that happens, she says parents should then tell their child no face-to-face contact with any dog, ever. 

“The other thing that scares me beyond measure, is a child that is not trained properly how to approach a dog. They walk up and put their hand in their face,” Cada said.

Cada says a hand stuck in the dog’s face or coming down on top of the head, can be scary to a dog. 

She also wants parents to teach the child to never approach a dog while the dog is eating and to never wrap their arms around a dog's neck.

And Cada has an interesting red flag for dog owners and strangers. When a dog is yawning, it does not mean they are tired. It usually means they are nervous and stressed out, so she says to give a yawning dog its space.

Of course, these are basic rules, and some families may have a dog who has been conditioned and is okay with this kind of contact, but every dog is different.

When teaching children, Cada says you can never be too careful. 

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