Dogs and Young Kids: Managing A Good Relationship

Posted on Jan 25 2015 - 12:26pm by Johnny B

A child’s relationship with the family dog can be one of their most cherished. However, when you first introduce them to each other, you can’t always presume that they will instantly hit it off. There may be a few teething problems which will require careful management. Even if they do become instant friends, there are still things parents should do to ensure the relationship is safe. This post aims to assist parents in preparing for and maintaining a good relationship between their children and their dog.

3

Image from Flickr.com

Pre-introduction

Before your child and dog start spending time together, it is a good idea to get your dog used to some of the things a child might do. Give him plenty of hugs and gently tug on his fur, ears and tail. At the same time as doing this, it is very important that you give him treats or a bone to chew on and praise him vocally. This will teach him that physical interaction is a good thing, and he will be less likely to snap when a young child does it.

Before they meet, it is also important that you take your dog for a checkup at the vet. You should also visit sites such as www.petfleas.co.uk and stock up on medication for fleas and worms. Children are at a higher risk of catching infections from animals. It is important that your dog’s health is well looked after, for their sakes and your childrens’.

Supervision during meetings

At the beginning of their relationship, it is important that their interactions with each other are supervised by you. This means that if the dog gets over excited or the child is too rough with the dog, you are there to tell them to calm down or be more gentle. However, they will both be very interested and excited in each other so it’s important to allow them to get to know each other. If you can’t be there to supervise them, it is a good idea to keep them separate, especially if your child is very young.

Encourage respect for your dog

It is important that from an early age to love and respect the family pet. This is a great learning experience for young children as they will learn how to be responsible, be gentle and to care for other living beings. The best way to do this is to lead by example. Show your kids how you speak and interact with your dog.

Deal with jumping immediately

When dogs are over excited to see someone, they tend to jump up on them. If you allow them to do this around small children, it could cause injury. If your dog begins to exhibit this kind of behaviour, it is important to deal with it straight away as it is not an easy habit to reverse. Train them by keeping them on their leash when children are approaching. When all four paws are on the ground, reward and praising your dog.

Good luck!