Children and Dogs, The Golden Rules – Keep it Safe
Of course dogs can go well with children, but it can also go wrong. Too often it happens that children are bitten and unfortunately this is usually because the child and dog do not understand each other well.
If you have a dog yourself, it is therefore important to invest time in teaching your child how to deal with dogs. But also for children who do not have a dog at home, it is important and necessary to understand what they can and cannot do with a dog. After all, kids encounter dogs everywhere.
We have to ensure our kids are educated and at the same time it’s important that you have to teach all these tips in a friendly playful manner, you don’t want to teach your child that dogs are dangerous animals, but that caution, especially in the beginning is just part of the deal. Many families are enjoying the company of an extra furry friend and family member, keep that in mind too!
Below we have compiled a good basis for teaching your kids how to handle dogs safely.
Children and Dogs – The Golden Rules
Teach your child to understand dogs and follow them when possible, it will contribute to a better understanding for the child and can prevent dangerous situations.
- Don’t hug the dog – The problem with hugging ( as a child can be very impulsive and enthusiastic) can be that the dog may feel trapped and want to defend itself. Cuddle a dog by gently stroking it, for example on its chest or on the side of its shoulder.
- Ask before petting a dog – Not all dogs enjoy petting.
- First have your child ask you as a parent.
- Then ask the owner of the dog. – If the child is allowed to stroke the dog by both the parent and the dog owner, the child may gently extend a hand and see if the dog approaches the child. If not, he does not feel like it and the child has to leave the dog alone.
- Do not run towards a dog, nor run away from a dog. – In the first case, the dog may feel threatened. In the second case, he can start chasing the child, often as a game, but it can frighten the child. Walk near the dog, and call the dog instead of walking towards him.
- Don’t stare at the dog. – Staring at a dog can be a challenge or a threat to the dog. Rather look past him or at his tail to keep an eye on a dog.
- Do not lie under the dog, and of course not on top of the dog – If the child is under the dog, the dog can feel in control, and in addition, the child’s face is very close to his teeth. If the child lies on the dog, it can hurt him and the dog may defend himself. Stand or sit on a chair while playing.
- Leave the dog alone when eating or sleeping – Have children stay away from the dog’s food bowl, treats or bone, the dog may want to defend them. When the dog sleeps, the child should never disturb the dog: if he wakes up, he can bite.
- Do not get into the dog’s basket or crate – That place belongs to the dog, he should feel safe there and be able to withdraw quietly.
- Do not stroke the dog on its head, but rather on the chest or neck – Many dogs do not like petting over the head, they may be scared or may think that the child wants to be in charge.
- Do not allow children to play pulling or playing games with the dog – The dog uses his teeth and that can go wrong. In addition, the dog quickly notices that he is stronger than the child, which means that he can become the boss of the child. Better games are search and retrieve games. Be careful that the child does not try to grab a toy from the dog’s mouth.
- The child should not want to solve a problem with the dog himself – Teach the child to then enlist the help of parents. In the eyes of the dog, a child ranks below him. If the child is in charge of him, he may not accept it.
In addition to The Golden Rules , there are a number of important things to keep an eye on.
Never Leave the Child Alone With The Dog
First of all, you should never leave your dog and child alone. In the eyes of a dog, children up to the age of 10-12 are a kind of ‘pups’, who in his opinion rank below him. However, if you, his boss, is nearby, he will see the children as “belonging to his boss”. He will not quickly correct them for behavior he does not like. Otherwise, it may be that the dog wants to stop unwanted behavior of your children and he can use his teeth for this. Therefore, always stay on top of it.
Be Careful With Punishment
Do not punish your child in front of the dog, because there is a chance that the dog will want to copy you. But do not punish the dog in front of the child, the child can imitate this and the dog can later react to the child.
Child and Dog – Keep it Safe
Dogs can go well with children, but it can also go wrong. Too often it happens that children are bitten. This is usually because the child and dog do not understand each other well.
If you have a dog yourself, it is therefore important that you teach your child how to deal with dogs. But also for children who do not have a dog at home, it is necessary to know what they can and cannot do with a dog. After all, they encounter dogs everywhere.
The Ten Golden Rules A good basis for learning how to handle dogs safely is the Ten Golden Rules. Teach your child to adhere to this. This can prevent dangerous situations.
Watch Your Child
Of course, you should be careful that your children do not tease or (accidentally) hurt the dog. That is no fun for the dog, and it is also dangerous for your children if the dog wants to defend itself.
Don’t let Children Give Commands
It is better not to let young children give the dog commands. The dog may not accept that. In addition, the child gets the idea that the dog should obey him and may want to enforce it, which can be dangerous. It is better to let children participate in a search game for the dog under the guidance of the parents: for example, let the child hide a toy under a newspaper or cloth while an adult holds the dog, then the dog can go looking for it. Older children can do some exercises with the dog, but only if you are there yourself.
Not on the Couch
Teach a dog not to sit on the couch so that he does not get up to eye level with the children quickly and there is no disagreement about who should sit where.
Also teach the dog not to beg if the children have something to eat. This prevents him from grabbing food from children’s hands.
Do not let your child play lying on the floor
Prevent your child from lying on the floor in front of the dog. This can be confusing for the dog and the child is also very close to the dog’s teeth. If you have a baby, teach the dog not to get on the baby’s rug. Give him something to do elsewhere in the room.
Do not let your child walk the dog
Children cannot yet walk the dog independently. A child cannot be held responsible for the dog’s behavior. The dog can start to show annoying behavior, and in large dogs the dog can knock the child over. Your dog can also come into battle with another dog, even without provoking this himself. Your child cannot intervene and runs the risk of getting in between the dogs if he tries to save his dog. This is of course dangerous!
Be careful with the child friends
Pay attention when friends of your child are visiting. When they frolic with each other, the dog may think that “his” child is under attack and want to help him.
Dogs can be great friends and family members but need careful attention, not only with regards to how to raise them but also to ensure all rules, for the dog and other family-members are clear. Visitors must be educated as well, or at least get some basic principles from you how to behave and treat the dog.
When keeping that in mind and with always you as dog owner feeling responsible for the safety and well being of the Family of dog.