Whether or not you have a dog of your own, it’s crucial to teach your child about basic dog behavior and how dogs should be treated. This training is vital for your child’s safety, but also dogs’ safety. We don't know about you, but some of the photos of dogs and children we see on social media make us cringe and feel uncomfortable, even while others find them cute
People believe that a good dog should be tolerant of any behavior from children, however this is as far from the truth as you can get. Many people are surprised to learn that a large percentage of dog bites occur because humans, especially children, treat the animal inappropriately, ignore the dog’s signals and efforts to make the behavior stop, and push the dog until it feels it has no other option to make the treatment stop other than biting the human.
Avoiding tragic situations in which children can be injured and dogs are unnecessarily euthanized is not difficult; it involves common sense and educating your children about how to behave around their furry companions.
Children of every age should be taught to respect dogs. As a parent, it is your job to keep your children and your dog safe. Be responsible. Teach and follow boundaries with kids and pets. Even the most well-behaved dogs can breach a tolerance level. Don’t allow your child to test your dog’s good nature. This behavior is how good dogs get euthanized. Stand up for your dog and help your children learn right from wrong when it comes to animals.
Do NOT Allow Children to:
2. When they are sleeping
3. Or in their crate or safe space
The most important rule to follow when you have a child and a dog is to supervise interactions. Never leave a child alone with a dog, no matter how much you trust either of them. Learn to read your dog’s behavior and remind your child of the rules that need to be respected when dealing with their dog. As a result, they’ll have a rich, loving bond that will last them a lifetime, and they will have learned the essentials of being a dog owner later in life.
A Dogs Safe Space
Dogs have boundaries, just like humans. The best way to explain this to children is to remind them that they shouldn't do it to others if they wouldn’t like it done to them. All dogs should have a quiet place where they can go not to be disturbed, preferably a crate, but it can be a small, quiet space of the house with a dog bed. Children should be taught that this space is sacred and reserved for the dog only. They should never enter this safe space and should especially never try to wake their dog if he is sleeping.
Hugging and Kissing
Children get used to hugging and kissing family members and might transfer this behavior to a dog. However, this is not normal canine behavior and can be associated with a threat. Over time, dogs get used to this from their people, but it is not natural for canines. No matter where the dog has been adopted from, children should be taught to touch dogs appropriately. Appropriate touching means they should never hug or kiss their dog’s face or head. They should never approach their face to their dog’s face and should treat their pet with the uttermost respect. Instead, show your child that it is alright to pet the dog on its back and at the base of the tail. It is also appropriate to scratch them behind the ears or on the neck if they like it and, on the belly, if they roll over for you.
Children should know a few basic guidelines for playing with a dog safely. No dog, no matter how big he is, should ever be ridden or climbed on. This behavior is bad for the dog’s back but can also be very overwhelming for the dog, not respecting a dog’s personal space. Similarly, games of wrestling should not be allowed. Children should be taught never to take a toy, chew bone or food, etc., from a dog’s mouth. The dog may not be in the mood to share and could guard his toy aggressively. Playing tug of war is another game that should be avoided for children.
Children should also be taught to contain their excitement when playing with their pets. Dogs have sensitive hearing and can get easily irritated with children running around and screaming. Saying this doesn’t mean children can’t play with their dogs. Children should be respectfully quiet and gentle during play sessions; children can engage in various games with their dogs. The best games to play are hide and seek, scenting games, and trick training (for older children). Fetch is also a great game to play if your dog knows how to “drop it,” this way, there is no physical contact between the child and the dog.
Caring for a Dog
Involving children in dogs care is a good idea as it can teach them about dog behavior and responsibility for animals. It will also help your dog and child bond.
Children should be taught not to run towards or even approach dogs they don’t know and certainly never to pet them unless they’ve asked for and been granted their owner’s permission.
Humans face it and so do dogs. However, while people are able to express them-selves, dogs communicate using subtle signs of body language. At times inappropriate human behavior causes stress for dogs.
A picture showing classic calming signals that a dog gives when he is NOT comfortable. Please note all four signs in these pictures indicating that the dog is NOT enjoying this situation:
It’s hard to believe that 77% of dog bites come from a family or friend’s dog. That means that these aren’t crazy, stray, vicious dogs - they are OUR pet dogs! Please watch the video and look at this at this page Are Your Kids and Dogs Safe? Together, we can stop the 77.
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