Dog-child interaction is the single most important issue to deal with if you have a child and a dog.
Children love dogs but dogs don’t always love children.
When you bring home a new puppy, your child should be trained together with your puppy and stressed here puppy, it is never advisable to get a fully grown dog unless you know his background if you have very small children.
Dog owners need to remember that it takes two to tango.
Children aren’t often taught how to treat a new doggy which can make his life a living hell, this is not only torment for your dog but can be dangerous to your child at the same time.
Never trust your child alone with ANY dog, regardless of how gentle that dog is known to be, a child tends to know just which buttons to press to turn the gentle of animal into a dangerous beast.
Most dogs initially feel threatened by a child because they are at eye level, they have high-pitched voices and make vigorous movements which the dog senses that the child is somewhat unpredictable.
Dog-child interaction should be monitored in order to make sure that your child and your dog are getting along.
What you should teach your child
Do not let your child hug the dog until the dog-child relationship has developed and they’ve become comfortable with each other.
Children are accustomed to showing their affection with a hug, but some dogs will tolerate it while others will not.
Never approach a strange dog without asking the owner if it is o.k. to do so first.
Allow the dog to sniff you before you try to pat him, never run towards a dog you don’t know.
Stay away from stray dogs, a stray dog may carry disease or try to attack.
Never scream or run away from a dog, this will over excite the dog and start chasing .
Never run around a dog, as this will also over excite him even more.
Never approach a dog face to face, this is definitely threatening to them, always approach a dog from the side
this will allow the dog-child relationship to develop.
Never look a dog square in the eyes as eye contact is a challenge ..
Never tease or hit a dog whether he’s loose, tied up, behind a fence or in a crate not only is this cruel to
the dog but will encourage aggression as the only way a dog can defend himself is to use aggression.
Never play rough games with a dog, such as tug-of-war, this can encourage a dog to become aggressive.
Never pat a dog on the head, always approach him under the chin or on his back.
Never bother a sleeping dog as like people need their sleep and may wake up grumpy let him wake naturally.
Never bother the dog while he’s eating or chewing his favorite bone, this is definitely a no no, in fact always
leave your dog and let him eat in peace.
A dog is not a toy. Never pull on his ears or pull his tail, this is a very sensitive area and will hurt him.
If a dog poses a threat, teach your child to stay perfectly still with arms at the side, avoid eye contact, don’t scream.
If there is no one around who can pull the dog away, have your child use a jacket, schoolbag, garbage can cover, or anything he can find as a shield while backing away from the dog slowly, this situation should never arise if you are a responsible parent.
If a dog has knocked your child to the ground, the child should curl up into a ball with his hands behind his head to protect his face
never penalize the dog as this may be an accident.
Never give the dog table food, not only is this bad for your dogs health but also encourages them to become a hinderance around meal times,
always put your dog in another room whilst eating.
Always play with your dog under adult supervision especially if your child is very young.
Always be kind to your dog this will help develop a dog-child friendship in the best way and you will
have a perfect dog and friend for life.
Always protect your dog from harm, keep him in a fenced and gated area outside and inside behind dog gates
so he knows he cannot just wonder where he wants to be, this has to be on your terms not the dog.
What you should know as a dog owner
Begin obedience training for your dog as soon as possible, preferably professionally Don’t wait til he gets older, it’ll only get harder
for both you and your dog.
Never leave your child alone with the dog, this is only common sense, as a child is no wiser than the dog.
Never let your child walk the dog alone, always have a responsible adult with them.
Never tie up your dog. Provide your dog with a fenced-in space instead, as stated earlier on in this article always have a fenced
property, tying a dog up is actually cruel …
Socialize your dog. Get him acquainted with other dogs as early as possible. You should also get him familiar with everything in his environment, both indoors and outdoors. This is key in attempting to establish a great dog-child relationship, take him with you to as many places he is also
allowed, people interaction is just as important as dog interaction.
Reward your dog for good behavior with praise and a treat, and to also point out you the owners interaction with any training
he may get always praise him in the best ways.
If you leave your dog in the yard, make sure your fence does not have spaces large enough for a child to stick their hands through,
or anything that may tease the dog in anyway, teasing a dog this way is very bad for your dog.
the best fencing is where the dog cannot see other neighbours and families like a wooden fence or high walls, obviously walling is
the better option although not always possible.
Never allow your child to abuse the dog in any way. This will never enable a dog-child relationship to flourish, and make
a dog quite aggressive, this is the sad part on the dogs life as in many cases dog aggression is caused by bad handling
and in most cases ends a beautiful dogs life as always the dog is to blame.
Give your dog a space to call his own to which he can retreat to if he is feeling bothered ,such as a crate/kennel
or court yard.
Get your dog used to being touched on all body parts. This will make him more comfortable around children,
this can be done by stroking him and even softly brushing him as also part of a way of grooming him at the same time.
If your dog is chewing a bone or has a bowl of food, whilst he is still a puppy, take the bowl or bone away from him at
several times in the day, never let him get possessive over them, this will teach him control when taken off him, there is
nothing worse than a dog/puppy that snarls and growls over his food and treats, you tap him and say no in a very
authorative manner, he will soon learn to be tolerant.
Teach your child how to properly handle the dog/puppy as stated in parts of this article.
Walk your dog on a leash. Do not allow him to roam free, the leash is also part of his training and handling.
Keep in mind that just because your dog is wonderful around your own children doesn’t mean he will tolerate other children the same way,
make sure he interacts with as many children as possible so he relates to them properly.
Spay/neuter your dog is a good idea but if you are a breeder/show exhibiter like myself you cannot do this
but if you are quite sure you are not going to breed then have it done for your own peace of mind as well as the dogs
This article only touches the surface, there are so many other issues with rearing your pet/children together in a happy world
but these are the basics that every family should know !!!
Other issues will be addressed in other articles like eg: “dogs and your pregnancy/after baby is born and the do’s and don’ts !!!