Dogs and children usually go together like peanut butter and jelly. Most people have fond memories of growing up with a dog, playing hide and seek, fetch and other fun games.
Dogs and kids can be the best of friends. However, they can be the worst of enemies if not trained properly.
Kids often think of dogs as jungle gyms. They try and ride them like a horse. They poke and prod various parts of their bodies. When it comes to roughhousing, they often don’t realize the strength of a dog.
It is no wonder that 2.25 million children are bitten by dogs each year. All dogs, even well-trained gentle dogs, are capable of biting when provoked, especially when eating, sleeping or caring for puppies.
Some dogs just naturally get along with children, but not all dogs like children. In fact, some dogs are afraid of children.
Keeping Your Dog and Children Safe
The best way to ensure your dog behaves around children is through dog training. He needs to be taught boundaries, obedience and socialization so he knows how to react around people, before you even worry about little people. The best time to start is when he is a puppy — to build a foundation of trust. Here is when he will learn not to jump on people, not to steal toys, and to get used to the volume of noise children can make!
Positive reinforcement goes a long way to getting dogs to adapt to children. When your dog is behaving well around children, be sure to give him a lot of praise and belly rubs. He will soon make a positive association between kids and fun.
Just like dogs, your children need to be trained how to act around the dog. A dog should be patted gently and should never be kicked or hurt. These types of behaviors can breed aggression in the dog.
Kids can be taught to help with the dog but they should always do so with adult supervision.
Dog Breeds That May
Be Bad for Children
According to dogreference.com, here are 20 breeds of dogs that may have issues with children:
- Alaskan Malamute
- Siberian Husky
- Saint Bernard
- Bull mastiff
- Australian shepherd
- Shih Tzu
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Shar Pei
- Chow chow
- French bulldog
- English toy spaniel
- Afghan hound
None of the breeds listed above are “bad” breeds. They may just not be right for small children because of their size, temperament, history or genetics.
Here are some tips to teach your children:
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog and always ask for permission before petting a dog.
- Never approach a dog that is eating, nursing puppies, or sleeping.
- Don’t poke, hit or pinch a dog.
- If a dog is in his crate, don’t disturb him. This is his safe haven where he can get away from all the noise and bustle.
- Understand there are times when the dog may want to be alone.
Tips for Dog Owners:
- Never leave a small baby or toddler alone with a dog.
- Teach your dog to treat the dog with respect and be careful of playing too rough or getting the dog all wound up.
- Make sure your pet is well socialized as a puppy so he is comfortable around dogs and other people.
If your dog reacts negatively when your child is around, contact me to help with this issue. With training, patience and respect, we can turn your home into a harmonious one where there is a safe relationship between your dogs and kids.