Any dog can bite, even your family dog.
The website PreventTheBite.com has an excellent mnemonic to aid you and your children in learning how to approach a dog.
WAIT: Wait, Ask, Invite, Touch
In order to pet a dog, you must go through each step of the WAIT process.
Wait to approach the dog until you see that the dog is with his owner and appears to be friendly. STOP and walk away if the dog is alone or looks frightened or angry.
Ask for permission to pet the dog from its owner. STOP and walk away if the answer is no. Even if the dog looks friendly from a distance, it may not enjoy interacting with strangers.
Invite the dog to approach you. Talk in a gentle voice to the dog. Keep your hands loosely at your sides. STOP and do not touch the dog if he doesn’t come over to sniff you.
Touch the dog gently on its chest or back. Dogs can be sensitive about petting on their head, face, or tail area, so avoid these areas with a dog you do not know well.
PreventTheBite has an educational presentation kit including flyers, activities, and coloring pages for children on their website.