By Joan Orr and Teresa Lewin
When a child wants to go to a friend's house, a responsible parent asks some basic questions. Will a parent be home? Does the family have a pool? Is the yard fenced? Are there firearms in the house and how are they stored? Rarely does it occur to a parent to ask if the family has a dog and if so, what steps will be taken to ensure that there are no incidents. Take safety precautions with these tips.
We recommend that parents visit the home of the family that their child wants to visit to meet the parents and the dog. We have created a check list of situations to help parents judge whether it seems safe to leave their child at a home with a dog.
Start with the red light criteria. As soon as you can check off even one item, follow the instructions for that criteria level.
Red Light Criteria (do not leave your child to play at this house, invite the other child to play at your house instead):
Yellow Light Criteria (leave your child only if the dog will be crated or locked away the entire time):
Green Light Criteria (leave your child if supervision will be adequate):
The Rules for Other People’s Dogs
If your child cannot follow instructions and is likely to follow a dog around trying to interact with him, then you should only leave your child if the dog will be in a crate, a pen or another room with no access for your child.
Joan Orr and Teresa Lewin are the co-founders on non-profit Doggone Safe. Doggone Safe’s mandate includes dog bite prevention through education and dog bite victim support. They are the co-creators of the Doggone Crazy board game, the Be a Tree teacher kit, the Clicker Puppy training DVD, several ebooks and online courses about dog body language and safety around dogs. They are known for their work with clicker training and TAGteach and have co-authored the book, “Getting Started Clicking with Your Rabbit”. Their websites are www.doggonecrazy.ca, www.doggonesafe.com, www.clickerbunny.com and www.tagteach.com. They have received numerous awards for their work.