Every Day Dog Bite Prevention with Good Dog in a Box

By Jenn Merritt and Kim Merritt-Butler July 26, 2016
Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy more outdoor time together, backyard barbecues and social gatherings with friends and family. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, summer is also the most likely time that young children will be bitten by dogs. Many of these bites can be prevented through education, awareness and supervision.

Good Dog in a Box recently launched a two-part dog bite prevention program called SAFE which focuses on helping parents and children talk about and practice how to be safe around all dogs. Each part of the SAFE program encourages children to think about their own behavior around dogs and the importance of respecting a dog’s body and space. SAFE is presented in short, animated videos that highlight these practical aspects of dog bite prevention.

The first part of the program, SAFE for Dogs You Know, includes basic skills for day-to-day interactions with familiar dogs including:
  • Soft Touch, Not Too Much - Pat the dog gently on the chest and side.
  • Ask the Dog if They’ve had Enough - Always give the dog a choice to leave.
  • Be a Friend, Don’t Bother When Eating or Sleeping - Respect the dog’s space.
  • Enjoy, But Not as a Toy - Don’t ride, push, or dress up your dog.
SAFE for Dogs You Know not only helps children develop skills that prevent dog bites, but builds a relationship between your children and dogs based on trust and cooperation. SAFE provides smart ways for your child to interact and show affection to the dogs in their life.

The second part of the program, SAFE for Dogs You Don’t Know, teaches four calm body language cues for children when an unfamiliar dog approaches:
  • Stay Still and Chill - Don’t run and don’t make a lot of noise.
  • Arms Crossed, Like a Boss - Keep your arms still and close to your body.
  • Face Away Like You Don’t Want to Play - Turn your head to the side.
  • Eyes Down on the Ground - Don’t stare at the dog.
These body cues can not only keep your child calm, they can also be calming signals for the dog as well. A child running, screaming and moving quickly can trigger arousal in some dogs. Teaching children the four SAFE body language cues can help diffuse potentially risky situations.

Watch the SAFE videos and download the free SAFE materials including infographics, wall charts and kid’s ebook, plus other free SAFE resources at

Jenn Merritt, BS, CPDT-KA, and Kim Merritt-Butler grew up loving dogs. Jenn became a professional dog trainer and Tellington TTouch practitioner and Kim became a serial entrepreneur. Last year they got their heads together and came up with a new way to approach dog training, dog bite prevention, and humane education for families. Good Dog in a Box was born. Their mission is to keep dogs and kids safe through education, awareness, and advocacy. They want to reduce the number of family dogs surrendered at animal shelters by promoting positive, reward-based training techniques that are family- and kid-friendly.