What is the best way for my child to safely give treats to dogs without getting bitten?
Great question! Many times dogs are maligned for biting someone as they were simply trying to receive the pro-offered treat. Children may be calm and relaxed around dogs or high-energy or flat out scared of dogs. Take time to note how your child is around dogs before giving them treats to give to the cute doggy.
Caution: The finger hold method of offering a treat can be mistaken as part of the treat and nips may happen. The finger hold method also limits how a dog may take the treat – they need to use their teeth.
Caution: The cupped hand method tends to invite licking or digging in with the teeth to get to the bottom of the treat. This method is not recommended. Use the next method instead.
Safe: The flat palm or flat finger method is easy for a dog to navigate. They are able to locate the treat with their mouth, lips or tongue and receive it without using their teeth. If teeth are used they do not puncture or pinch the palm of a hand when the hand or fingers lay flat.
Safest: The toss it in their general area method (not at them) is the first step for the ultimate safety. If your child is too excited or nervous, this is the method to use. This method ensures the energy is not transferred to the dog who may become nervous or excited as well and together they can be an accidental nipping episode.
By tossing a treat towards the dog, a person is signaling, “Hey, I’m friendly and I’m respecting both of our spaces”.
ALSO ALWAYS, in all cases, make sure the dog approaches you in a way of saying I’m friendly, available, and interested. Otherwise, walk on and leave the dog alone.
This training is helpful for adults who have had little or no interaction and training with dogs. Please share with them too.