Dogs and children can have a wonderful time together with proper guidance and supervision. Left to their own devices, however, safety can become a major issue. Boisterous and loud children can be threatening or overstimulate a dog. Children can hug too hard, pull or poke and dogs can respond with a defensive bite. Yearly, countless children receive bites that could have been avoided. It is up to us to look out for the safety and well being of both dogs and children.
Its the adult’s job to…
- introduce their dogs to lots of quiet, calm children at a variety of ages who can offer treats on a steady, flat palm.
- recognize signs of stress in the dog and remove him from the children if necessary.
- teach children to remain calm around the dog and play appropriate games like fetch.
- teach children to ignore (time-out) the dog if he gets too rough or excited.
- teach children to help with the dog’s training. Include trick training!
- teach children to ask before petting a strange dog.
- teach children how to pet/handle a dog.
- teach your dog to accept and like being handled and restrained in a variety of ways (gentle ear tugs, hugs, head pats, feet touched, etc.)
- NEVER leave dogs and children unsupervised.
Dogs and children can learn to behave appropriately with each other only if we educate and manage them. All of their interactions should be as positive as possible. If your dog is showing signs of shyness, defensiveness and/or aggression toward children, please contact your trainer.