Babies and Dogs: Creating a Safe Relationship

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Throughout the years, dogs have been known to bring joy, loyalty, and a sense of security to families all across the world –– whether they’re adopted or chosen as puppies. But what if children are involved and the animal experiences new behavioral problems? Does the joy remain in the home, or does it go away? The answer to that question depends on the owner and their training abilities. With that in mind, in order to protect both your child and your four-legged animal, it’s important for your child to learn how to interact with the family’s pet to help reduce tension.

If kids aren’t taught how to respect an animal’s personal space, things can go south quick, and the child could get bit. Depending on the bite, the injury could range from minor to severe and could result in the animal being euthanized, which is something no family wants. So, to avoid these things from happening, it’s best for parents and guardians to work with their children early on to establish a good relationship.

When it comes to building a positive relationship with pets, it takes commitment and hard work. Remember, dogs and children aren’t natural companions, despite what others might think. Dogs require behavioral training, based heavily upon canine psychology, which addresses behaviors from the inside out. This means that it’s going to take some work to build that relationship and make sure their companionship is safe for both parties. While the lessons might be time consuming, the tasks aren’t. 

Dogs, Kids, and Food

No matter how sweet they appear to be, all pets need to be treated gently and with kindness, especially during dinner time. Both the dog and the family should always be able to eat in peace. Pet owners can establish a safe environment by feeding their dog in a quiet place, where children can’t bother them. It also helps to talk to children about this and teach them the rules. You can tell them just as they shouldn’t interrupt adults during mealtime by putting their hands in their parent’s foods or taking something off of someone’s else’s plate, they are not allowed to harass the dog when they’re eating.

Although some pet owners might disagree with this practice by believing that, dogs shouldn’t learn how to protect their food, the reality is, it’s the fastest way to make them even angrier. If an adult (not a child), for example, wants their dog to understand that food comes from their hand, then that’s fine since it requires different training. However, young children shouldn’t play with the dog’s food unless they’re being supervised by an adult and the training session is taking place away from their food bowl.

Teach Children About Respecting the Dog’s Body

Have you ever seen pictures or videos of children climbing on dogs, riding them like they’re a horse, or just using them as a play toy? While those pictures and videos are cute, the majority of dogs will be patient until they’re injured by accident. Then, they’ll be sent over the edge and forced to defend themselves against a child who just wanted to play with them. When a child isn’t taught how to respect a dog’s body, the animal will run out of patience faster than you many think.

Just as children are taught to respect others, they also need to learn how to respect animals. That means don’t poke the dog in the eye, don’t pull their ears, yank their tail, or climb on them. They should also know not to step on the dog’s paws or bounce on them. In a home that contains disruptive behavior, teach your child how to gently pet your dog. Have them pet the dog’s back, scratch their ears, and rub their stomach. 

If things start to get rough and the dog’s body language starts to change, then remove the child from the dog. Things like eye contact, growling, and straight ears, for example, are all signs that tell us whether or not they want to be bothered or left alone, which is why it’s important to recognize these behaviors.

Respect the Dog’s Environment

Your furry friend needs a safe zone where they can have time alone. This place can be their crate, your bedroom, the laundry room, garage, backyard, or any other place where kids can’t bother them. When they’re given something to chew, or are just tired after a long day of chasing squirrels, let them go to this spot to rest and unwind. This place can also be helpful if you’re having company over.

When your dog is in “the zone,” teach your child not to bother them. In fact, kids should not even attempt to go near the spot unless they’re told to do so. Everyone in the family is to treat this spot with respect, even if hyper kids are around.

Also, some dogs may get nervous or annoyed when the kids are screaming and running around constantly, which can lead to more aggression. This is an important lesson and something that needs to be monitored. So, if your dog gets nervous easily, be sure to let your kids know that they need to be calm around the dog or to take their activities elsewhere. The point is, kids need to learn how to care for animals of all sizes, and teaching them that pets deserve respect and their own space is the best way to do.

Author Bio:

H. Davis enjoys exploring the outdoors. If you can’t find him online, you might be able to catch him at the gym or watching sports (Go, Broncos!). Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241. Thanks!

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