According to disappointing statistics, most often children and the elderly are susceptible to dog bites. Moreover, about half of the attacks occur on the face and neck area. Does this mean that the animal does not like children? No. Then why is the dog showing aggression towards the child? In order to understand this, you need to understand a little about the psychology of the animal.
Children Through the Eyes of a Dog
A family for a dog is a pack. The leader and leader can be one of the family members if he was able to prove his strength to the dog, and maybe the dog itself if the owner was not able to properly raise the pet. In any case, the animal has an idea of the family as a kind of hierarchy, where each member takes its place.
Why Does Aggression Towards Children Arise?
Very often, according to the dog, children in the family hierarchy are somewhere in the last place. Therefore, the dog believes that, as a senior comrade in rank, it has every right to educate them;
Another common situation: with the appearance of a child in the house, the dog loses its position in the family hierarchy, it is jealous of the leader and perceives the baby as a competitor;
Often, children, especially younger ones, provoke the dog to aggression themselves. They bully, hurt the animal, get too close to the pet’s things (favorite toy, bone, bowl of food) or take them away.
How Does the Dog Show Aggression?
Not a single dog begins to bite immediately, with the mere appearance of an aggressor. At first, she will definitely give warning signals: she will bare her teeth or begin to growl. Some pets, due to their character and temperament, may try to avoid a conflict situation: they will simply go away. This will also be a demonstration of dissatisfaction.
If a child or an adult does not understand the warning signals and still continues to insist on communicating with the animal, most likely, a show of strength will follow from the dog, that is, a bite.
Interestingly, small dogs are more likely to show aggression. The reason for this is the attitude of the family to the little pet. Many people simply do not pay attention to the growl and grin of the dog, they think that the Chihuahua baby is just amusingly angry, and do not attach importance to the warning signals. One day, such disregard will force the pet to demonstrate its strength. And most likely the target of the bite will be the face of the offender.
How to Make Contact?
The dog’s aggression towards the child can be reduced, but this process requires maximum attention and control from adults. A number of rules should be followed:
Be sure to explain to your child that a pet is not a toy. The dog cannot be provoked: for example, tease, push, wake up and try to play with it, and then expect patience and disposition from it;
Encourage the dog to play with the child. But she shouldn’t be too active or agile. Games of hide and seek, bringing objects or joint tracking are perfect;
School-age children can take part in caring for the dog: the child can feed the pet, sometimes lead him on a leash for a walk, give a treat when executing commands. The owner’s task is to gradually bring the dog and the child closer together;
If the family has a child and you are just about to have a dog, try to initially demonstrate the correct hierarchy to the puppy. The child should take part in the upbringing of the pet on an equal basis with other family members.
How to Choose a Dog for a Child?
There are dozens of dog breeds that have proven themselves to be excellent nannies. Among them are Newfoundland, St. Bernard, Labrador Retriever, Collie, West Highland White Terrier, and many others. But it is important to understand that the attitude of a dog to a child largely depends on the person.