This survey does not reveal surprising results to those who work as professional dog trainers or dog behavior counselors.

The aim of the research was

  • To map a child's knowledge of dog’s communication signals
  • The understand the perception of a child’s own authority in the relationship with a dog and
  • To determine the frequency of individual risk activities in their mutual contact.

The research abstract detailed that ' The research study has revealed alarming deficiencies, especially in the knowledge of communication signals and canine body language. The awareness of signs of the two most hazardous communication signals (threat and attack) was very poor".


Journal of Nursing, Social Studies and Public Health, Vol. 1, No. 1–2, 2010, pp. 102–109

Marie Chlop?íková, Adéla Mojžíšová
University of South Bohemia, College of Health and Social Studies, ?eské Bud?jovice, Czech Republic

Every relationship, even that between a child and dog, should be based on mutual respect and understanding that allows not only trouble-free interaction, but also creates
a good basis for a positive approach and relationship of both partners. If the child is supposed to create and strengthen the relationship with an animal – a dog – he/she must learn to know and respect not only dog’s basic physiological needs and supervision of the dog’s health status and fitness, but also specific differences seen in the behavior and communication
(communication signals) of his/her animal companion (Fra?ková 1999).

Ignorance of divergent patterns of behavior, perception of hierarchy (authority) by the animal in the human family, a variety of communication signals representing aversion
or pleasure of the animal, or just spending free time together (independent activities – walking the dog) puts both individuals into risky situations and represent primary causes
of possible conflict. The decision to let the child grow up together with a dog belongs, without a doubt, to one of the best decisions we can make. However, it is necessary to realize the
responsibility of adults in this relationship. A dog can make a child’s life richer – as a silent companion, a guardian, psychological support, and a loving and faithful friend. A
dog is worthy of our reverence and respect for all these positives. If children are taught to respect all living beings and pass this experience along, the positive consequences of our effort will enrich future generations (Hessler-Keyová 2002).

The full article can be sourced here

Thank you to Doggone Safe for bringing this important study to our attention.

Joan Orr  of Doggone Safe added in her email newsletter dated March 9th 2011

Some Key Risk Factors Identified in this Study

  • Children considering themselves to be the highest authority over the dog
  • Children walking the dog without adult supervision
  • Ignorance of dog body language signals - considered by the authors to be the main bite risk factor

The overall bite incidence in this study was 51% (of 200 children age 8-12). This is consistent with finding from our own survey of children in Be a Tree sessions that 54% (of 869 children age 5-9) has been bitten.

The results of this study provide strong support for the Doggone Safe approach of teaching children to read dog body language to help reduce the dog bite risk.

The DogSmith National Training Center will later on this year be rolling out an entire educational program around dog bite safety. This will be in partnership with Doggone Safe and Dogs & Storks. Watch out for our news releases. each locally owned and operated DogSmith Franchise will become a licensed Presenter on behalf of both these organizations