Kids Interacting With Dogs Safely (KIDS)

American Humane launches new program.
By Karen B. London PhD, June 2009, Updated June 2021

The American Humane Association has a new program called KIDS (Kids Interacting with Dogs Safely). The emphasis is on preventing dogs bites to young children, so the program targets kids ages four to seven years old. Many programs are aimed at kids older than eight, but it’s kids younger than that who so often receive serious bites to the face, head and neck.

The program focuses on getting young kids to think about dogs’ feelings in certain situations, and teaching them not to approach strange or injured dogs. In my experience, most dog bites to children happen when they try to hug dogs, even ones they know, or when they approach dogs who are tethered by a leash or rope. Teaching kids to avoid these behaviors, which many dogs object to, along with all the other educational aspects of the program should allow them to reach their goal of fewer physical and emotional injuries by dogs to young children.

Dogs and kids were also on the minds of readers who commented to our earlier post about Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Photo: iStock

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life