Dog Bite Prevention for Families with Toddlers*

A crawling or walking baby may become of interest to a previously disinterested dog. The baby will also discover the dog, and may hurt or frighten the dog by mistake. Neither dog nor toddler can be expected to know how to behave around the other.

  • Do not allow a baby or toddler to hug, kiss, follow or chase the dog, or pull fur, ears or tail, or enter the dog’s crate or sleeping area.
  • Reward the dog with food treats for calm behaviour around the toddler.
  • Give the dog a safe place to retreat from the toddler.
  • If a toddler or crawling baby is interacting with the dog, an adult must also have their hands on the dog.
  • Adults should use food rewards to desensitize the dog to the things a toddler may do.
  • Recognize warning signs from the dog, such as moving away, half moon eye, licking chops when not eating, yawning when not tired, or sudden scratching.
  • Put the dog in his safe spot before he gets to the point of growling or snapping.

*Adapted from materials developed by our friends at


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