We have discussed in the past proper children and dog manners, but it can never be stressed enough the importance of supervision and proper dog-kid interactions. Educating early is the best way to encourage good interactions, prevent dog bites, and help our little humans grow up to be great leaders.
1. Never allow a child to pet a dog without permission. Some dogs may not be good with kids, may not feel well, or are in training for service or general good manners.
2. Never allow a child to run up to a dog. They should always approach at a relaxed pace, stopping before getting to the dog, and then allowing the dog to sniff you and close the gap. Since children are at a lower level, a child running straight up to a dog’s face can be very intimidating, especially if they are yelling or waving their arms.
If you don’t know the child approaching, step in front of your dog to block the child and engage them first, while at the same time showing your dog that you are taking care of everything.
3. Never allow a child to pet a dog if the dog is trying to avoid being petted. If the dog is turning away, suddenly panting, staring with a wide eye, turning its back, or all out trying to get away, the worst thing you can do is force a dog into the situation. This is a huge breach of trust and the dog will think you aren’t going to protect her from something that makes her uncomfortable, leaving her no choice but to protect herself.
4. Never let a child pull on, climb, poke, tease, or harass a dog in any way. What seems like affection to us does not say the same thing in dog language. Climbing on, wrapping arms around, or placing ourselves on the dog can be very dominating, making the dog uncomfortable. Some dogs don’t care, some dogs tolerate it, some dogs tolerate it until they have a breaking point, and some dogs hate it from the start. The best thing to do is to respect the dog’s space and not test whether they like it or not.
5. Never allow a child to disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or playing with bones. While no dog is allowed to guard resources, the grown ups can should take care of these behaviors and prevent incidents.
6. Teach children to never run away from a dog. Running from the dog can increase its prey drive, especially if the child is squealing too. Teach children to “make like a tree” and stand still.
7. Never, ever, ever allow a child to play with a dog unsupervised no matter how great the dog is. So many things can go wrong and it certainly has. Safety first.
Certified Dog Trainer
K9 Solutions LLC