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Can you help your child regain trust after a dog bite?

When a dog bites your child in California, the trauma can go beyond physical disfigurement. Your child may experience ongoing emotional turmoil that interferes with school, relationships and behavior.

Facilitating your child’s recovery requires you to understand some of the strategies for helping a child overcome a traumatic experience. Working together with professionals, you can identify a treatment plan that responds appropriately to your child’s individual circumstances and concerns.

Getting help

Professional therapists can play an instrumental role in helping your child assess triggers and learn appropriate responses. You can participate in therapy with your child to better understand how his or her experience continues to impact behavior and rationality.

Acknowledge that it will take time for your child to feel comfortable going around dogs again. Do not force your child to participate in situations where a dog may cause angst or discomfort. Kindly explain to family members and friends with dogs about your child’s concerns so you can adequately respect his or her feelings. With time, space and ongoing support, your child may eventually overcome trauma-related irrationalities and once again feel comfortable around dogs.

Encouraging education

There is no downplaying the seriousness of a dog attack. However, you can educate your child and teach him or her the appropriate way to behave around dogs. This can help your child recognize that it is possible to play with dogs without experiencing fear or injury. According to John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, some of the dog safety tips you can teach your child include the following:

  • Asking for permission before petting someone’s dog
  • Moving slowly around dogs and giving them adequate space
  • Stay close to a grown-up when you feel unsure

If your child has learned some simple dog safety tips, he or she may feel much more confident in the company of a dog. Make sure that you also follow these tips to provide an example to your child of the right way to act around a dog.

 

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