Children and dogs both bring a specific sense of joy to a household. Although kids and dogs are often the best of friends, it is important to keep the safety of each party in mind, especially when the child and dog are just getting to know one another. To help keep your child and dog protected and happy, keep these simple safety tips in mind:
Keep Kids Calm Around Dogs
Teaching children to be gentle and calm with dogs goes a long way toward ensuring the safety of both parties. When children jump and scream around dogs or resort to physical measures such as roughhousing or pulling a dog’s tail, there is an increased risk of bites or physical altercations. Although a dog may not mean to harm a child, some will react aggressively when hurt or scared. Because of this, it is important to show children how to pat dogs quietly and calmly.
Always Leave Dogs Alone While Sleeping or Eating
Even the friendliest dog can react unpredictably if awakened suddenly and many dogs are protective about food. Teaching kids to leave dogs alone while they are sleeping or eating will ensure that a dog will not be startled or pressured into acting aggressively and helps educate kids to respect animals and their space.
Teach Children to Approach Strange Dogs Cautiously
When a child’s own dog is virtually bombproof, it can be difficult for them to learn that not all dogs possess the same level of gentleness and patience. If your child shows interest in a strange dog on the street, teach the child to give the dog a wide berth and always ask the pet parent before petting. When the child does pet the dog, the head and face should be avoided in favor of small strokes on the dog’s side and back.
Teach Dogs to be Gentle with Children
This road goes both ways. Teaching children to be gentle with dogs is every bit as important as teaching dogs to be gentle with children. Dogs are often curious about children and it is easy for a dog, especially a large breed, to harm a child during harmless play or snuggling. For this reason, it is important to ensure the dog has a good grasp on commands like “no” and “leave it.” This will ensure that your child stays safe while playing with his or her four-legged friend.
Do not Leave Children and Dogs Unattended
It is especially important, especially during the early stages of a relationship, to avoid leaving children and dogs together without supervision. Although both parties may mean well, it is easy for a negative interaction to take place due to a misunderstanding or accidental rough treatment. By keeping an eye on children and dogs, you ensure that both parties are behaving well and being respectful of the needs and boundaries of one another.
Children and dogs often develop strong bonds. In order to do so, however, it is important that both the child and the dog interact safely, respectfully and carefully. Keep these simple tips in mind to ensure that their relationship gets off on a great foot.