Dogs and children at camp --keeping it a positive experience
Dogs are often a part of camp and, with proper supervision, they can contribute to a positive camp experience. Don’t let a dog bite disrupt that experience.
Actions that may provoke a bite from a dog
All dogs can display certain behaviors that might give some indication they are about to bite someone. Understanding what may provoke a response should be incorporated into your supervision philosophy when children interact with dogs. Social aggression is one classification that might apply to a camp dog because of its interaction with people on a daily basis. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) outlines several types of aggression that a dog may display before biting. A social aggressive response is usually provoked by things that a dog perceives as threatening or unpleasant, such as:
- Taking food away
- Taking a chew bone, toy or stolen object away
- Disturbing the dog while it’s sleeping
Physically moving the dog while it’s resting
- Hugging or kissing the dog
- Bending or reaching over the dog
- Manipulating the dog into a submissive posture (a down or a belly-up position)
- Lifting or trying to pick up the dog
- Holding the dog back from something it wants
- Grooming, bathing, toweling or wiping the dog’s face
- Touching the dog’s ears or feet
- Trimming the dog’s nails
- Jerking or pulling on the dog’s leash, handling its collar, or putting on a harness
- Verbally scolding the dog
- Threatening the dog with a pointed finger or rolled-up newspaper>
- Hitting or trying to hit the dog
- Going through a door at same time as the dog or bumping into the dog
Safety tips to prevent dog bites
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Do not run from a dog or scream.
- Remain motionless (e.g. “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and be still.
- Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
- Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
- Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
- If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.