Even though having a dog can be a wonderful experience for a child, caution should be exercised when it comes to children and dogs. When you first get a new dog rules should be put in place to protect the safety of both your child and your dog. These rules will ensure that your child understands their boundaries with your new dog, and that your dog and child develop a lasting mutual respect for one another.
Rule #1 Never leave a young child alone with a dog without adult supervision. Children are impulsive and they may do something to startle or harm the dog accidentally. Additionally, they may do something to unintentionally provoke the dog into a negative reaction.
Rule #2 If your child wants to hold your dog they should do so while sitting down. This decreases the likelihood that they will drop the dog. Have the child sit down and you place the dog on their lap. Remind them to be gentle when petting and sitting with the dog.
Rule #3 Make sure your child understands that it is completely unacceptable to pull or tug any part of your dog. This is natural and often not malicious, but it my not be viewed that way by the dog on the receiving end of this often painful behavior. Show your child what acceptable forms of affection are and show them how they should pet the dog. For younger children you can hold their hand and physically show them how to pet an animal.
Rule #4 Be mindful of your dog when your child is playing. When children run, jump and play it often looks exciting to a dog and they may respond to that excitement by jumping and even nipping at your child. This behavior is playful for most dogs, but it may frighten your child and sour them on the whole dog ownership experience. Try keeping your dog on a leash while your children are playing until you are confident your dog and children can play together without misunderstandings.
Rule #5 Make sure your child does not bother your dog while it is resting, eating or playing with a toy that it favors. Until you are familiar with your dog’s temperament you cannot be sure that your dog will not misconstrue these interruptions as aggressive. In fact, until you are comfortable with your dog’s temperament your dog should be separated from your child while they eat and sleep.
If you are interested in dog training in the Beverly Hills or West LA areas, please schedule a consultation with our dog trainers today. Call (310) 367-7023, or fill out our contact form for more information.