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After local girl injured, keeping your kids safe from dogs

Posted, December 16, 2013 --- 6:24 p.m.

A 10-year-old girl is on the road to recovery after being mauled by a relative's dog over the weekend. It happened Saturday night on South Jackson Street in Janesville.

Police say the 90 lb American Bulldog attacked the girl, taking out a chunk from the back of her arm and piece of her ear. Police say this dog has bitten a child in the past and should not have been interacting with kids.

The dog is being held at the Dane County Humane Society until a court decides whether it should be euthanized.

Now, with holiday visits right around the corner, a dog trainer has tips on how to make sure this doesn't happen to your child.

It's the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also the season that can turn even the best behaved dogs, into mischievous thieves, or worse.

"I think the most important thing is recognizing that dogs have their limits."

Daniela Vaughan's been working with animals for years. She says anything from wrapping paper, to strange people, to overly excited children, can be enough to put any dog on Santa's naughty list.

"A lot of times if owners are making themselves aware of those stress signs that dogs give off beforehand, you can prevent a lot of those outward reactions like growling and lunging from happening."

If a dog is licking their lips, panting, drooling, avoiding contact with people she says it's a good idea to give them a break.

"A lot of times that's what they would rather do anyways, kind of get away the action for a little and calm down."

If your child isn't used to being around dogs, you should talk to them before going over to a friends or relatives. Make sure they know how to approach them. Daniela says asking the owner if you can pet the dog is a good place to start.

She says don't grab the dog's ears or tail, and avoid the top of their heads.

"Don't do stuff like grabbing them and hugging them, our own dogs will tolerate it, but they don't love it."

And for the dog owners: She says keep your pet on a leash at first. It can be really scary for kids if a dog jumps up on them, and make sure guests know things that seem like common sense to a dog owner but many people might not know.

"When dogs are on their mat, or chewing on their toy, or eating their food, just leave them alone, treat that like it's their own private space."

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