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Teaching Your Child to Be Safe Around Dogs

Ensuring your child's safety around dogs begins with education and communication. Here are essential principles to instill in your child:

  1. Always Ask Permission: Teach your child to seek the dog owner's permission before approaching any dog.

  2. Let the Dog Approach: Encourage your child to let the dog come to them and sniff before attempting to pat.

  3. Pat Under, Not Over: Instruct your child to pat the dog under the head, such as the front of its chest, avoiding patting over the head to prevent any discomfort or misunderstanding.

  4. Avoid Eye Contact: Teach your child not to stare directly into a dog's eyes, as dogs might interpret this as a threat.

  5. Respect a Dog's 'Territory': Explain to your child not to reach into a dog's 'territory,' such as through car windows, gates, or fences, to prevent any unexpected reactions.


Chat Before You Pat™ Rhyme:

These principles are encapsulated in our simple yet effective rhyme:

Chat before you pat,

Talk to the owner,

Don't stare into their eyes,

Pat under not over.

This easy-to-remember rhyme reinforces crucial safety guidelines when interacting with dogs.

Further Tips for Parents:

  • Supervision is Key: Always supervise interactions between your child and dogs, even those familiar to your family.

  • Teach to Recognize Dog Cues: Educate your child about signs of a dog's discomfort or stress, such as growling, baring teeth, or backing away.

  • Education through Books and Games: Utilize children's books or interactive games that focus on dog safety to reinforce these principles in an engaging way.

  • Positive Encounters: Encourage positive interactions with dogs under safe circumstances, reinforcing the principles learned.


Chat Before You Pat™ Resources

Explore our resources, including informative videos, engaging activities, and downloadable materials, designed to further educate both parents and children on safe interactions with dogs.

Feel free to view the Chat Before You Pat Rhyme below for a quick recap:

Chat Before You Pat Parent Corner

Chat Before You Pat™ Learning Centre


The Chat Before You Pat™ Learning Centre is a section of the website containing kid-friendly videos and other resources that you can use to teach your child how to be safe around dogs.

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