Community safety

A dog’s friendship can be wonderful for children. However, children - particularly those under 10 years - are most at risk of being bitten. Even a friendly dog can bite if threatened, angry, afraid or hurt.

Here are some simple tips to help minimise the risk:

Dog owners

  • Make sure your dog socialises safely with children from an early age.
  • Introduce your dog to strangers when it’s in a calm state, rather than excited.
  • Give your dog its own space (i.e. a crate or kennel) where it can be unbothered.
  • Remove your dog from excitable environments - particularly children’s parties and sports games where it may become over-excited or aggressive.
  • Keep children away from your dog if it’s sick or convalescing to let it recover without interruption.
  • Never leave your dog alone with babies or young children.


  • Always ask the owner if it’s okay to pat their dog.
  • Show your child how to introduce him/herself to dogs (i.e. palm for them to sniff).
  • Assess the dog’s body language - is it submissive (i.e. rolling on its back) or acting aggressive (i.e. tense and alert)?
  • Never approach a strange dog unless the owner is present and the dog has been properly introduced and established as friendly.
  • Never interrupt a sleeping or eating dog.
  • Don’t tease, handle roughly or grab them around the neck or tail.
  • Don’t cuddle dogs face-to-face - it may represent a threat.