16 Things Every Kid Should Know about Dogs

Here are some basic facts that every child should know about dogs. Help your child by teaching these basic principles:

1. A wagging tail does NOT necessarily mean a friendly dog. Just because a dog wags his tail does not mean he is friendly. Tail movement is a communication signal in dogs and can mean friendliness but in some dogs, especially when the tail motion is fast and upright, can mean aggression.

2. Don't approach a dog unless you are sure he is friendly and the owner's dog says it is okay.

3. Know how to approach a dog. Before you pet a dog, make sure he sees you. You may offer the back of your closed hand so that he can sniff it before you open your hand to touch him. But don't force your hand into his personal space – rather, allow him to approach your hand, that is, if he wants to.

4. Not every dog likes being petted on the head. Petting the top of his head can seem like a dominant, threatening action to some dogs.

5. If a dog comes to you, avoid direct eye contact and allow him to smell your hand. Don't make any fast motions. By avoiding eye contact, you are communicating that you are not an aggressor.

6. Know what to do if an aggressive dog approaches you. Don't look the dog in the eye. Be very calm and still, standing with your arms to your sides. Never run away.

7. Know what to do if a dog attacks. If a dog attacks you, give him something to chew on such as your coat, your book bag or your bike. Slowly back away until there is something between you and him such as a tree or bench. If a dog knocks you down, roll into a ball, protecting your face, and lie still until he goes away.

8. Stay away from aggressive dogs and don't go into a yard or near chains where dogs are tied until you know for sure they are friendly.

9. Don't disturb dogs that are eating or sleeping. They may be defending their food can active aggressive. Sleeping dogs may be frightened away and act aggressive.

10. Dogs love to be loved. If you love them, they will love you back.

11. Dogs need good care, just like you do. They need good quality dog food to eat, plenty of fresh water, lots of opportunities to go to the bathroom, and exercise every day.

12. Dogs like routine. They like to be fed, walked and exercised at consistent times every day.

13. Dogs can keep secrets.

14. Dogs don't always know what is best for them. They may want to eat or chew on things that are dangerous and need your help to protect them. For example, some dogs don't know if something is poisonous so you need to help protect him or her.

15. Dogs can get sick just like people can. Common signs of illness include a pet that won't play, acts really tired, or won't eat. Other signs are vomiting and diarrhea. If you think your pet is sick, tell an adult so that they can evaluate the situation.

16. Most dogs are good and will love you no matter what. But you have to be smart and careful when around dogs that you don't know and don't know you.