There have been numerous articles in the news recently regarding children who have been bitten by dogs. I am sure you are familiar with the phrase “dog is man’s best friend.” Most of the time, this is true. We all have special memories of pups that brought meaning into our lives. Pups have been valuable members of our families. 
The process of bringing a new pup into our family can be exciting and wonderful but we should proceed with caution when introducing a dog to a child. Unfortunately, there are times when dogs bite or react in an unfriendly manner. Every day, around 1,000 people seek emergency treatment for dog bite injuries. Parents need to do everything they can to prevent their children and beloved pets from ending up another statistic.

Here are 6 suggestions for safely introducing children to dogs:

1.    Teach children how to gently touch and pet animals. Often, children don’t realize they are squeezing or pulling a dog’s fur. Unintentionally, children hurt dogs which can result in bites or aggressive behaviors. To avoid these problems, show children the proper way to pet a dog. 
2.    Instruct your child to calmly approach the dog from the side and stop with enough room to allow the dog to willingly come to your child. This allows the pup to watch the child without feeling overwhelmed and to greet your child on the dog’s terms.
3.   Have the pup "sit". Use a synthetic leash, not a retractable leash, to control your pup.  A leash gives you control in case the introduction goes wrong. 
4.    Avoid treats and toys during the introduction. Dogs may get excited and roughly snatch the treat from tiny fingers (treats should always be offered from your palm, never your fingers). Toys can cause territorial issues that would not help an introduction go well.
5.    Let the pup sniff your child. Instruct your child to stand still, allowing the pup to sniff. Do not let your child offer a hand to smell. 
6.    Keep your child calm and avoid wild movements or loud sounds. Sudden body movements can easily frighten a pooch and cause them to protect themselves by biting or nipping.