At the very least, issues with dogs not getting along with children is frustrating and annoying. At worst case, it is extremely dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, half of these are children.
Here are some tips to help our children and canine friends develop a strong bond and rewarding relationship:
- Supervise all interactions between your dog and your kids. If you cannot properly supervise your dogs and children, then confine your dog to a safe area away from the children. Please make sure your children cannot get to the dog (if they are young).
- When you are supervising your dog and children, look for signs that your dog may not be enjoying the interaction. While some signs are easy to detect, other signs are more subtle. I highly recommend learning how to read dog body language so that you can understand what your dog is trying to tell your children.
- To help minimize conflict and facilitate a strong bond, you will need to teach your dog how to behave with your children. Just as important, you will need to teach your kids how to behave around dogs. Teaching children how to behave around dogs will help in the home and when they interface with other people’s dog in public. As a reminder, children must understand that they should never reach through fences or car windows to pet dogs who are unattended—even if they know the confined dogs. Also, they should ask the owner’s permission before going up and greeting someone else’s dog.
- Helping your children and dog develop a strong relationship will benefit everyone in your family. Providing proper guidance, learning how to read dogs and training your dog & children will help develop safe, fulfilling friendships between your children and dogs.”