A new study by the University of Colorado shows that unsupervised 3-5 year old children are most at risk for dog bites, especially to the face. Surprisingly, the culprits are usually breeds considered `good’ with children, like Labrador retrievers.
The study looked at 537 children treated for facial dog bites at the University Campus hospital between 2003 and 2008. Most often, a familiar dog was provoked to bite when the unsupervised child petted it too aggressively, startled it, or stepped on it.
Mixed breeds were responsible for 23% of bites followed by Labradors at 13.7%, and Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers at less than 5%. The study concluded that virtually any breed of dog can bite, familiarity with a 'good' dog is no safeguard, and leaving unsupervised children around dogs is very risky.
At Riverdog, we encourage families to look into the myriad of ways a supervised child can interact positively with the family dog, including participating in training classes, feeding rituals, playing sharing games like fetch or trade, and teaching tricks that reward submissive behaviors, such as 'Shake', 'Rollover', 'High Five', and 'Play Dead.'