Ask The Dog Guy's

FREE Brain Drain Activity Guide For Your Dog

With your subscription to the 'Ask The Dog Guy' Newsletter (also FREE)
Brain Drain Offer Pop Up

Blaming Children for Being Bitten by Dogs Needs To Stop – Dog Bite

The ‘Child Safety Around Dogs’ dog bite industry (and sadly it has become an income generating industry for some) is a scam. Everyone capable of critical thinking knows or by now should know it’s a scam but the vast majority of “professionals” turn a blind eye.

From what I can tell, because it’s a sexy thing to be a “spokesperson” of the ‘dog bite’ industry and for some because it generates an income stream and others because it gives themselves an unwarranted sense of authenticity (in the eyes of those that don’t know any better) it motors along just as did the emperor without his bite

Programs formal and informal exist. It is doubtful that any child in North America escapes some form of advisement. Everything from parental chats, introduction via school curriculums, specially designed games, colouring books, videos and it goes on ad nauseam and has for at least 40 years.

These programs have been designed by “experts” and amateurs alike and have been sponsored by insurance companies, rescues, SPCA’s, animal controls, police departments, fire departments etc. and guess what? Over the 40 years, the data indicates there has been little or no significant impact on the numbers of children bitten by dogs which in both Canada and the United States is defined as epidemic in nature.

Why? Because only a fool doesn’t understand (and apparently there are many of these fools – enough to sustain an industry) you can’t stop a child from being a child and at the same time has made it politically incorrect to preemptively address dog aggression by including as priority options (for dog owners, trainers, breeders, veterinarians and rescues), either re-homing to households where the dog can be trained or euthanized when it cannot. I would say with 40 years of on average, 1 out 2 North American children being bitten by a dog before they reach the age of 12, it should be obvious that “child safety around dogs education” does not usurp the reality of children doing childish things and the “business plan” needs to change.

In my view blaming a child’s behaviour for being bitten by a dog is as reprehensible as blaming a woman for being sexually assaulted. If we’re ever going to end this epidemic – blaming the victim has to stop. Only when the “experts” get this into their thick skulls will we start to focus our attention intelligently and hopefully find long term solutions.Don't blame the victim

Yes, I’ve seen children do things that shouldn’t be done but I’m not talking about the exceptions to the rule. I was just reading a thread where a child almost lost an eye (in surgery as I write this) to a dog and someone commented once again (ludicrously) defending the dog, Quote “children running towards the dog?, screaming? This is a definite threat to a dog of any size and of course will react. Children need to be educated on how to behave around dogs.” End of quote. I call B.S. and shame on anyone that thinks as much. The child in question was minding its own business running down a narrow bike path with other children. The dog a known threat to children and handled by someone physically incapable of restraining the dog mauled the child. Criminally negligent in my book.

I have been assured the owner feels horrible (I’m sure they do) and is taking full responsibility. I would suggest since by all reports they were unquestionably fully aware of the risk the dog posed, the “taking full responsibility” door slammed shut some time ago. If they had actually been responsible they wouldn’t be feeling horrible (and in any case no where near as horribly as the child and parents) because the dog would have been possibly re-homed or euthanized when they realized they had too much dog for themselves or worse, an unstable dog. After the fact regret when you have foreknowledge should not be good enough and yet in the thread I’m referring to and so many others I’ve followed over the years – it is – good enough – for an incredible number of dog lovers. Whereas I’m of the opinion when a dog owner becomes aware that a dog can’t abide the normal mercurial and frenetic activities that is being a child., the dog owner needs to question the wisdom of keeping such a dog and act. And, I might add – otherwise suffer the consequences which I suggest in many cases have crossed the line from civil liability over to criminal liability.

The above scenario is not uncommon. Over the last 30 years of working with dogs I have assessed hundreds if not 1,000’s of dogs that have bitten human beings and it is so rare as to be insignificant for significant warning signs to not have been present for anyone with common sense to not know what was coming down the pike if they didn’t take drastic steps.

It’s not just dog owners that need to be held accountable. Too many “trainers” and rescues insist any dog can be rehabilitated/saved and too many in society now believe them. This isn’t even true in theory but when it is, there are variables (like the owner’s lifestyle, handling ability to mention only two) that can reduce the likelihood of a transition that would occur in a timely enough manner and/or to a sufficient degree to keep children/people safe. The line has been drawn in the wrong place and it cultivates irresponsible dog ownership where dog first – people second is acceptable in far too many circles.

Owning a dog is a privilege and not a right. Caring for, loving that dog, is a very serious responsibility and I admire anyone that takes it seriously. However, it does not (or should not) absolve any dog owner of their social responsibilities as they pertain to their own children, other children, friends, neighbours and any other human likely to cross their dog’s path whether on or off their property.

John Wade

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

8 thoughts on “Blaming Children for Being Bitten by Dogs Needs To Stop – Dog Bite”

  1. Chibiabos

    Dog people aren’t allowed to be rational human beings. Start acting like a weird narcissist right now, dammit.

  2. It is the parents fault in many cases. Parents fail to supervise children with the family dog or put them in precarious situations. Recently a new born baby was attacked and received a tooth puncture to the chest after his father decided to change his diaper on the bed next to the family pitbull. No charges were laid but that father should have been changed with reckless endangerment because that is what it is going to take to get through to parents and dog owners. It is always the dog that suffers, they get put down for just being dogs and animals. Any dog is capable of biting, and the fact that there are millions of dogs and so few actually bite is a testament to how much dogs put up with. Many bites are preventable if people would keep in mind that dogs are animals, not children in fur, and that they think and respond as animals not humans. Managing dogs around children is part of being a responsible parent and pet owner.

    1. Hi Sue,

      We’re pretty much on the same page. Where we differ is where you say it is a “fact” that “there are millions of dogs and so few actually bite”. It used to be that parents euthanized dogs that showed aggression or worse bit a child. Now, influenced by popular culture they go to great lengths to save the dog. So much so that one out of two children are bitten by dogs before they reach the age of 12. I think that indicates that more then a few dogs actually bite. There are other factors as well but over the last 30 years I’ve seen a trend where it is less a parenting issue and more of a social perception problem.


  3. At what point would you advise putting an aggressive dog down? I have no problem doing it if it is necessary, but I’d also like to give the dog the ability to change his behavior if it’s possible.

    My dog growls and snaps at everyone in our family often when we try to take toys or food from him. We have tried all of the things the trainer advised (taking the toy, saying “No!” loudly, giving him food and then taking it away, making him work for whatever he has, etc.) He has never bitten anyone else, but he has growled and snapped at a child when we were at a playground. (Yes, the child was running toward him and yelling. It was a kid at a playground, I expect nothing less.) We obviously haven’t taken him out to places where kids are, but we are thinking maybe it’s time to just put him down.

    Thanks for your advice.

  4. Scarlett

    I think there’s so much more that could be said here as I don’t believe this is a black and white issue, but more of a gray area “blame the parent–dog and human–not the child/pet,” type thing. The child is being a child. The dog is being a dog. It’s a case of miscommunication. The dog says “i don’t like that, stop!” but the humans being humans do not understand. The parents do not step in and tell their children “doggy doesn’t like that, use (for example) gentle hands. Let’s do it together, see how mommy’s being gentle? Now you try” from an age that they can understand it.

    As for dog owners: protecting our pets and controlling them is our top priority. Adaquete fencing, obeying leash laws, training our pets with kindness and love, all of this goes towards keeping the child and the pet safe from harm.

    I don’t think one can compare sexual assault to a dog bite. Humans understand logic and reason, that certain behaviors have far reaching cinsequences. Pets do not. The dog world is both very similar and very different our own. In the dog world, you steal somebody else’s food (for example), you’re in for a rude awakening, you lick your wounds, you move on. Between two dogs, a growl and a snap are perfectly acceptable forms of communication, and tragedy can strike when a human child is introduced to the dog world in this way, that’s why it’s so important to teach them appropriate behavior around animals young.

    It’s very much a two way street, but neither the child nor the dog is to blame. A child is a tiny human with less knowledge of the world around them, teaching them is how they’re kept alive until they can take care of themselves in adulthood, teaching them is crucial. A dog is a dog. Their human owner needs to take precautions as well. Nip problems of aggression in the bud before they begin, keeping them properly contained both on and off the owner’s property, training them properly, being able to restrain them if worst comes to worst (or better yet, muzzle the damn dog if it’s known to be agressive in public situations) etc. A child is a child, a dog is a dog, it’s up to the adults to protect them both. All of this can be avoided, and it breaks my heart that innocent parties are involved, both child and pet 🙁

  5. Im sorry but this is idiotic. Dogs dont have our morality and ethics, its up to humans to understand dog behavior and body language, after all we are supposed to be the smart ones. Most dog bites are caused by humans, irresponsible parents who think its cute to let kids be aggressive to the family dog, and well dammit that damn dog better not bite! These people are morons its absolutely their fault if the kids get bit. I was raised to never antagonize the dog, but in this world of anything goes and we are superior we can do whatever we want to an animal and its the animals fault for reacting, it absolutely ridiculous.

    As i sit here by my window writing this my neighbors have a dog kept on a tie out with no training or socialization. This dog is ignored not even fed or watered until they may remember to do it. So they have the grandkids over and what are the kids doing? They run over to the dog and proceed to push it around jump on its back, force it to lie down, smack its face lay on top of this big dog…all without one adult present outside. This is an attack in the making and its absolutely the humans fault not the dogs. So when tragedy happens the dog will get shot and a child will be disfigured for life all because moron humans think they are superior and no dog should ever bite even when being hurt afraid or tortured, what an absolute crock of crap!

    1. Hi Dina,

      I’m not entirely sure, but I think you got all worked up over nothing. From what you’ve written you seem to agree with me for the most part. You’re not blaming children either. The children you’re describing sound for the most part like children being children. Unless I’m missing something you’re laying the blame for a potential bite at the feet of those actually responsible. Those that own the dog. The only thing you’ve written that I don’t entirely agree with is that you were “raised to never antagonize the dog”. I thingk I understand the intent in what you’re saying. However, most children are subjected to that message. The problem for me with that statement is as per your observation of the neighbor’s grandchildren, children cannot stop being children. Dogs need to be bred and raised, and supervised correctly. Children need to be supervised around unfamiliar dogs as a child cannot stop being a child simply because someone told them something. I maintain that blaming a child for being bitten by a dog is unreasonable.

      – John “Ask The Dog Guy” Wade – Embracing Science and Common Sense

      Visit For A Free Weekly Newsletter
      & FREE Brain Drain Activity Guide For Your Dog

      PS Don’t forget if you find that the many free resources I provide companion dog owners via Ask The Dog Guy website ( and elsewhere (YouTube, newsletter, etc.) inform, save you time and, or money, why not buy me a coffee? Click the link to Buy Me A Few Coffees

      PPS You can also become a Patron and support spreading the word about science and common sense in companion dog training by clicking on the membership link instead. Click the link to Become An Ask The Dog Guy Patron (Various levels of sponsorship have benefits for you as well.)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top