We all know that dogs and children can have an amazing bond. Certainly Hollywood loves to depict beautiful relationships between dogs and kids. But we all need to remember that no matter how ‘domesticated’ a dog is they can still react to situations. This is why it is so important to teach children to respect dogs. No dog should be placed in a position where it feels like it needs to protect itself. Equally so no family wants to run the risk of raising children around a snappy unpredictable dog. So what can you do to ensure everyone gets along?
Top Tips for Protecting Dogs and Children
Don’t leave dogs and young children unattended
No matter how much you trust your dog they shouldn’t be left with small children. Small children are unpredictable and they love to grab. How would you feel if you had a small person hanging off of your tail? Exactly it’s going to hurt and you are going to react. A dog is no different. Don’t put them in this position.
Give dogs space to eat in peace.
I know like they leave you alone when you have a biscuit in hand! But dogs can be protective over food. Teach your children to leave them to eat their tea in peace. Its great if they can help out with feeding, but when that bowl goes down it’s time to step back.
Discourage small children from feeding dogs by hand
This is tough when you are weaning. Let’s face it dogs are a fantastic clean up crew. What you don’t want is for them to always associate the kids with food. Feeding dogs from the table is a pretty bad habit anyway. Don’t let them beg and try to ensure they are not stealing food from small hands.
Keep them out of rough play.
My big boy Pie loves a bit of wrestling. He gets very over-excited and jumps all over me and the furniture. Great fun for all. The dogs get very excited and start jumping about too. They are playfully snappy and will often claw at us. If things get too loud or frantic they can get quite protective. A dog doesn’t know the difference between play and a real threat. Try not to put them in a position where they think someone needs their protection.
Remember it is their home too
It’s very easy to allow the kids to rule the roost. But you invited this dog into your home and now it’s his home too. Make sure they have somewhere quiet to go. Especially if you have other children around. They need a safe secure space where they can get away from it all. Don’t allow the kids to chase them or aggravate them. Encouraging games of fetch or playing with the dog supervised is great for building trust between kids and dogs. Read the signs though, when the dogs had enough give them some space.
Dogs can bring so much to a family. They can be great companions for all of you. If you can encourage children to be respectful of dogs it will make for a fantastic family dynamic. Long summer walks and winter snuggles with a dog can be amongst the best experiences for children. Just a few sensible steps will hopefully mean a long and happy relationship between you and your pet.