Dog Training – Introducing Dogs and Children
Encouraging dogs and children to get along shouldn’t take too much effort in a happy family. There can be complications though and it’s important to do it right, which is the topic of this article.
Not all dogs like children. Small humans act oddly, move differently and make really funny noises. Some dogs can’t cope with such “odd” behaviour and will react with fear, sometimes even aggression to try and tell a child to go away. Read on and learn about the mutual respect that we need to nurture in order to ensure a happy relationship between dogs and children.
When dogs and kids meet it can be a great, fun and enjoyable playtime or it can be a nightmare. It’s vitally important to ensure that dogs and children meet on good terms no matter how old each of them are.
So if you live with a child it’s important to teach your little one the following rules:
- Never approach a dog without permission from its owner.
- Never approach an unattended dog.
- Always show respect to the dog and wait for the animal to ask for physical attention before giving it.
This will avoid the mismatch in communication that can easily happen when a child approaches a dog who is scared, worried or stressed.
As far as your dog is concerned it’s important to allow interaction with children but it must be the positive kind. Gentle games, careful handling and respectful playtime will show your dog that this small person in his midst is actually quite nice, fun and (if it’s a toddler) can actually drop food scraps on a regular basis.
A puppy should be allowed to learn positive experiences around children. The puppy that is born and whelped in a family home with careful kids will usually become really good with children. The puppy that becomes scared, has a bad experience or is hurt by a child can develop a serious fear of kids that is difficult to overcome.
If your dog has never encountered children it’s important to remember that even one scary experience, regardless of your dog’s age, can cause quite a strong fear reaction that once learned can be difficult to get rid of. So don’t allow things to get out of control, whether you are at the park or entertaining family at home always give your dog an escape route if there are children around.
By handling introductions with respectful caution you will help your dog to develop the best possible relationship with the children in his life. If you are a parent you will be showing your child basic respect for another species’ which is a habit that all children should learn from a very early age.
Dogs and kids should naturally be friends, yet if your dog is not keen do not make him accept the unflinching attention of children, because this can cause severe anxiety for him, which isn’t fair at all. Like humans, dogs should be allowed to choose who they want to be friends with, it’s only fair.