Play it Safe Around Dogs: Petco™ Shares Ways to Help Children Avoid Dog Bites and Interact Safely With Pets

in Press Releases

San Diego, CA (June 2013) – A recent Insurance Information Institute study states that in 2012, about one third of the total money paid out for homeowners’ liability claims overall was attributed to dog bites. According to the Center for Disease Control, 82 percent of dog bites treated in the emergency room involve children under 15 years old. While this is a serious issue, dog bites can be avoided through proper education of children, parents and dogs. In order to help prevent accident and injury, Petco™ is sharing their method on how children can safely approach and interact with dogs.

The first thing children need to understand is how to properly greet a dog. To approach a dog walking on a leash with their pet parent, Petco Certified Dog Trainers recommend that children follow the “SAFE” method:

  • S – Stop, stand still, and turn sideways before getting close to the dog.
  • A – Ask the pet parent for permission to pet the dog first.
  • F – Fist, offer a closed fist for the dog to sniff while standing still. Allow the dog to approach you. If the dog is friendly, pet the dog under its chin.
  • E – Exit slowly away from the dog by backing up, then walking away.

To avoid startling dogs, children should not run up to any unfamiliar dog or pet the animal on the top of the head or face. Using the “SAFE” method ensures that a dog has a moment to meet a child and approach the child if they feel comfortable with petting.

If a loose dog approaches a child, Petco Certified Dog Trainers recommend that they “make like a tree” by standing as still as possible, keeping their hands by their sides or behind them, looking down at the ground and staying quiet. Dogs will most likely lose interest and walk away, but children should stay in this position until they can no longer see the dog. It’s important to remember to never try and pet a dog that is running loose without a pet parent nearby.

Parents can learn more about keeping children safe and dogs happy in-store at Petco’s Positive Dog Training classes. This 30-minute class provides hands-on tips and information about greeting both familiar and unfamiliar dogs, as well as how to care for the physical, mental, social and emotional health of animals. Petco’s Positive Dog Training rewards good behavior in a group or private setting, which results in an emotionally happy and socially engaged dog. Classes also keep dogs mentally alert by stimulating their minds while keeping them active. To find out more information on training classes, contact the nearest Petco location or visit Petco’s Positive Dog Training website.

For more information about how children should safely approach dogs visit:

About Petco

Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,200 stores nationwide and in Puerto Rico, including more than 50 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop, and  The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $110 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 350,000 animals every year.

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