Dogs and children both require a lot of attention, so when they interact with each other, sometimes things can get complicated. If you follow a very simple checklist, you can prevent dangerous situations and your pets and kids can get along well. Keep in mind that this list is aimed at older kids about three years and up:
Kids and Dogs’ Checklist:
- Establish ground rules before the two interact for the first time. Lay out the rules for your child as clearly as possible and make sure they agree to follow them.
- It’s critical to teach your child the right way to approach and interact with your dog. Teach them to pet the dog on their chest and cheeks, rather than hitting the dog on the top of the head.
- Protect your dog and make sure they feel safe while your child is interacting with them. If your puppy feels unsafe, they may be forced to protect themselves which can be risky for your child. You can help prevent this by monitoring interactions between the two and stopping your child from doing things like pulling on your dog’s ears or tail.
- Do not allow rambunctious play between your child and dog, even if it sounds like they are both having fun. Running around and screaming can be too much for your dog and over stimulation can cause your puppy to act improper with your child.
- Educate your child on how to properly play with your dog with games like hide and seek, fetch and catch. These can all be great games if properly played and supervised.
- It’s important to teach your kids to never approach a stranger’s dog without permission from both you and the dog’s owner. Not all dogs are friendly, and even a friendly dog can be scared by an overexcited child.
- Get your children involved in the training of your dog. This is a great way to build a confident relationship between the two. Keep in mind that you should be monitoring all types of training that your child does with your dog, as kids tend to go to extremes with their commands and it can end up having an adverse effect on your pooch.
- Children and puppies should never be unsupervised at any point, period.
Children and dogs can have a great relationship if it is handled properly. Make sure to always supervise your child and your dog to prevent any incidents. Getting your children involved in the training of your dog teaches them responsibility and can greatly improve their relationship.