Did you know that the number of people bitten by dogs each year is up to the millions? Tragically, these type of victims are most likely to require reconstructive surgery if they are children.
Photojournalist Mike Daly and his 2-year-old son Graham were out one day for an easygoing bike ride, when little Graham was unexpectedly attacked by a dog. Frightening incidents like this can be prevented with some education.
Master K-9 trainer Blake Rashad is on a mission to get the word out. He says that 4.7 million people a year are bitten by dogs, and 70 percent of them are kids 8 years old or under.
The first rule to know, Rashad says, is to not immediately run from dogs. This can set the dog into a natural pursuit, and the dog may start to chase the child, simply because he is running away. “Kids will run from a dog even when a dog is not aggressive toward the kid. They just see a dog across the street, and they take off running … teach kids to stand still, hold their ground. Put their arms over their chest, think positive thoughts. The dog will come up smell you, get bored with you and move on,” Rashad said.
Secondly, Rashad advises to always ask permission to come or come near a dog. “And the person that’s holding the dog should walk the dog over for the pet, and then the child extend his hand out, fingers curled back, wrist curled back, until the dog smells you and then you want to reach around and pet the dog.”
In addition, Rashad says to remind your child to not take anything away from a dog, and never to tease them.
It’s also important that babies are never left alone with a dog, even if he is considered a friendly dog, and no matter how long you’ve had him. A lot of times, dogs may mistake a small child for a new toy.
“We use Smokey the Bear to stop forest fires, we said say no to drugs, we’ve got to do something about this epidemic,” said Rashad.