Teach Your Children and Dog to Get Along
Children and dogs seem to go together, but as fun and easygoing as their relationship may be, children need to learn how to handle the family dog properly. Proper treatment prevents aggressive behaviour from your dog and keeps
the relationship between him and the children under control.
How soon should I teach proper dog treatment to my children?
The best relationships start when both the child and the dog are young. Even young babies can be taught to pet the dog gently. Older dogs who have never been around children may have some difficulty adjusting to them being around. Help your children understand proper care and treatment of your dog when they’re young.
How can I make sure nothing unfortunate happens to my small child or the dog?
Always keep a very close eye on your kids and your dog. A dog may not always have the self-control to be gentle with a very young child and not realise his friendly overtures hurt or scare your child. Likewise, toddlers have trouble controlling their impulses and can inadvertently frighten or harm the dog.
Because dogs may bite out of pain or fear, closely supervise playtime to prevent unfortunate accidents.
How can I teach proper respect between my children and our dog?
Dogs and children both benefit from learning manners. Teach your child to treat your dog with love and kindness. Explain what actions may hurt or scare him. Also teach your dog basic obedience — reward good behaviour toward children while discouraging jumping or nipping. If necessary, enroll your dog in an obedience class and have your children participate. Use the following guidelines to help teach your children basic rules:
Never hit, kick or tease the dog.
Don’t bother the dog while he’s eating or playing with a favorite toy.
Don’t yell or scream at the dog.
Don’t run to the dog in a way that could scare him.
Never jump on the dog.
Don’t look the dog straight in the eyes; some dogs see this as a challenge.
Never reach for a dog’s head.
Don’t pull the dog’s hair or tail.
Set a good example for your children. Show little ones how to interact properly with a dog, including how to pet and play. Teach your child some simple training with the pooch, such as sitting down for a treat. Some experts recommend showing attention to the dog only when the child also is receiving attention, which helps the two associate with each other more and often build a better relationship.
How can I prepare my dog for our new baby?
Preparing your dog for your baby before you bring her home is important to everyones health and safety.
Take your dog to the vet for a complete checkup. Bacterial or parasitic illnesses can be picked up easily by a newborn’s under-developed immune system.
Take care of any flea problem. Fleas can provoke a rash on your baby’s sensitive skin. Your vet can prescribe a variety of medicated flea control products to eliminate the problem.
Bring home an article of clothing from the hospital with your baby’s scent on it, like a cap or blanket. Getting to know your baby’s scent ahead of time will help your dog recognize your baby when she comes home.
Supervise all contact between your dog and the baby. With guidance and positive reinforcement, teach your dog what behavior is acceptable around the baby and what is not.
Find time to spend with your dog. Although it may be hard to find time to even shower with a newborn in the house, make sure your dog doesn’t feel left out.
Like us, dogs are sensitive, and he may be going through an emotional adjustment. Your dog needs to trust he won’t be abandoned with the arrival of this newest family member.
You can nurture a positive relationship between your dog and children through proper instruction and training. A little time and effort is all it takes to keep everyone happy.