Do you have young children in your home? If so, it is vital to ensure they are always safe around your dog. With this being said, dogs are not the only ones who need training. Children also need to be given rules about how to behave around your dog. The following tips will help prevent incidents and keep both your children and pup safe.
Most children can’t keep themselves from throwing their arms around a dog’s neck or tugging on a dog’s tail. Try and prepare your dog for this kind of attention before his first encounters with a child. Give him lots of praise and maybe even a few treats while you gently pull his tail, hold his paws, hug him, and check out his ears.
Let’s face it, kids behave differently than adults. They run, move and scream erratically. Try to introduce your dog to some of these behaviors yourself. Teach your dog to stay in one spot while you run around your yard or yell in a high-pitched voice.
You can also get your dog used to typical child behavior by taking him to a park or playground. Keep your distance at first, and slowly work your way closer. If at any point your dog seems concerned, take a few steps back and start over. Keep things fun, have some treats in hand and make sure to praise him.
Dogs often will feel more at ease around children if they have an escape route. Crate train your dog so that he is happy and comfortable in a crate. Make it clear to any children in your home that the crate is off limits to anyone but the dog. This way your dog can interact with the children when he wants to, but he also has a safe place to retreat.
Most people believe that holding a dog so a child can pet him is a good way to introduce dogs and kids. This is NOT true. If a dog is afraid of children, holding him while one approaches to pet him can be a unpleasant experience. A dog that is afraid can become aggressive and growl, snap, or even bite in an effort to escape the situation. Instead allow your dog as much time as he needs to get comfortable around kids, and give him the chance to approach when he feels ready.