Did you know that dogs have a startle reflex?
A startle reflex means that a dog can bite as a reflex action from being startled.
Bites to children often occur when a dog has been startled awake. Some children may run up to hug a sleeping dog or accidentally step on a dogs tail causing them to startle awake.
Waking a dog up can cause the dog to startle and be confused. If a dog does bite through this startle reflex, the dog is not thinking at that moment in time. It is a jerk response reaction.
It is important to teach our children to let sleeping dogs lie. If you need to wake a sleeping dog up, firstly, it should only be an adults job. Secondly, try and make your presence aware. This may be walking towards them with heavier footsteps, talking loudly, clapping your hands to try to get them to wake up. You should never shake a dog to wake up.
Written by Leanne McWade