Teaching Your Kids How to Act Around Dogs
I teach classes about socializing your puppy, I’ve talked about training your dog, about what to do if your dog barks too much, or licks too much,and more, all of which are very important subjects. This puts all the responsibility on your dog, but relationships, even dog and human relationships, are two-sided. One of the most important things we humans can do is to understand how to be around dogs, and taking it one step further, we need to teach our children how to be around dogs.
Starting at an early age, most kids (although there are exceptions) are fascinated with dogs, they love how they look and how they feel…they are simply drawn to them. And for the most part, dogs are lovable and tolerant of these little humans. But you never know when a dog is going to be annoyed, or a child gets grabby, and then there can be trouble.
So, for the safety of the dog and the child, begin at an early age to…
Teach your kids how to interact with dogs.
Before approaching a dog with your child, make sure it’s okay with the dog, by asking the handler if it’s alright to pet Fido. If you get the go-ahead, then you can introduce your child and the dog to each other. (Even if the owner says the dog is friendly, pay close attention to her body language, she may not be in the mood for kids that day.)
- Beginning with very young children, teach them that it’s not alright to grab at the dog, pull her hair or pull her tail or ears. Teach them that the first thing they should do is to slowly extend the back of your loosely closed hand to give the dog the opportunity for a sniff. (If your child is too young to understand these things, it’s probably best to let them admire the dog from a distance.)
- Teach your child not to run towards the dog, this might frighten and provoke her.
- Teach them how to pet a dog…
- Gentle strokes are best
- Never put arms and hands over the dog’s face or head.
- Stop petting and give the dog her space if she begins to act anxious, snaps or growls.
- The child needs to understand that it can make the dog uncomfortable to be face to face.
- If a dog is eating or chewing on a toy, that’s what she wants to do, teach your child not to approach and to give the dog her space.
- Help your child to avoid yelling and screaming around dogs, the noise could scare or annoy them.
- Children should understand that it can be dangerous to approach a strange dog who is off leash and unattended.
- For safety’s sake, teach your child that if a dog becomes aggressive, that they should stop whatever they are doing, stand as still as possible with arms behind the back and avoid looking at the dog.
It all comes down to teaching your kids that dogs are great, but they need to respect them, not startle or over-excite them, and definitely don’t tease or taunt them.
You train your kids, and I can train your dog…
I’m Gayle Ballinger and I am fiercely committed to guiding family pet owners everywhere to achieve a fun, trusting relationship with your pets so you can enjoy the type of unique relationship you originally dreamed of when you first considered adopting a companion animal.
My training techniques are based around one simple question:
What do you want and expect from your dog?
We believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are, under given circumstances and situations.