Helping Your Child Prevent a Dog Attack

It’s been several months since the city of Atlanta has had a gruesome dog attack make the news, but odds are that it will happen again. As is often the case in dog bite attacks, the victim will likely be a child. As we see in national headlines, dog attacks happen every week and lives are often saved by good Samaritans and intervening heroes.

Children Frequently Dog Attack Victims in Atlanta, GA

Two recent stories from across the country illustrate a common trend of dog attack victims being young children. It is likely that because children are closer to their own size that dogs view them as a threat. Unfortunately, it’s because of their size that children run the risk of suffering the worst injuries and even possibly fatal injuries from a dog attack.

On Feb. 12, in Newark, N.J., a neighbor kicked in a door when he heard a child screaming. What he found he hopes he never has to see again: a 10-year-old boy was being mauled by two dogs.

The neighbor wrestled with the dogs and managed to get them off of the boy at one point. The boy began to run and fell down the stairs, at which point the dogs began attacking him once more. When police arrived, the dogs charged officers and were shot. At the scene, the 10-year-old victim had no pulse at one point but was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.

In a similar case, a 6-year-old boy in Salt Lake City was attacked by a neighbor’s dog as he was outside playing. The dog broke his chain to maul the boy. The owner of the animal got him under control but let him go again when the boy began to run away. The dog again latched onto the boy, inflicting serious injury.

Transported to the local hospital, the child has already undergone hours of reconstructive surgery to his face, where the dog had torn his lip and cheek. Another surgery is scheduled for his arm. reports the boy will need to stay in the hospital for at least a few weeks and will have to undergo speech therapy to help him talk after the damage to his face.

Talk to Children About the Risks and What To Do In the Event of a Dog Attack in Atlanta

As these stories illustrate, the potential for a dog attack is a good reason to prepare your child. Talking to your children about how to handle violent dogs could ultimately save their lives.

Professional dog trainer Bob Conklin recently appeared on “Good Morning America” to discuss how to protect yourself from a dog attack. He offered the following tips:

  • Don’t run away. A dog will chase you and will likely catch you.
  • Don’t fight back. The more you struggle during a dog attack, the more a dog will fight because of its instinctive nature to hunt, fight, and kill.
  • Be as relaxed as possible. Try to remain quiet and still.
  • Avoid eye contact, as dogs see this as a challenge.
  • If attacked, cover your ears and rest your elbows on your side against your rib cage, protecting your ears and organs.

If you witness a child being attacked, redirect them. Hitting them with an object may distract them. Grab the animal by the scruff of the neck so that it cannot turn and attack you next. Do not pull a dog from a child, as if he is biting, it could further injure the victim.

Dog attacks are brutal and violent—no one wants to be a victim of one or even a witness. But knowing how to handle a violent dog could save your life or the life of a child.