I know so many people who have children and dogs. Sometimes it is a good match and sometimes it can be a mess 🙂 Here are few tips.
1.) Never leave child unsupervised with a dog. A dog can at anytime bite a child and it doesn’t take too much for the bite to be dangerous with a little child.
2.) Be ready to do much training with your dog. A little jump with some full-grown dogs can knock down your child.
3.) Many children play rough with dogs as they want to pull the dogs hair, tail, ears and etc. This can irritate your dog and possibly cause the dog to bite them. It is best to pair some treats with body handling to help acclimate your dog to this.
4.) Children love to run and dogs love to chase running people. Teach your dog to stay on his bed or to stay in these situations. If your dog will not stay then separate him from the children when they are playing loudly and running.
5.) Children respond best when they are told what to with dogs rather than what not to do. Be positive with your child. Having a reward-based system set up with your child can be highly beneficial. You can create a chart with five empty spots for stars. When your child responds well with the dog give your child a star then after your child gets five stars give him/her a big reward.
6.) Family meetings can be good and ideal. The entire family needs to be on the same page.
7.) “Leave it” can be an excellent command to train as your dog may want to grab food out of your child’s hands.
8.) Keep a clean house. It is easy for children to get messy. Teach them to keep food in the cupboards and away from the counter. Also teach them to clean up their toys 🙂 Keeping food off the counter will prevent your dog from wanting to jump onto it.
9.) Expect at some point your dog may grab one of your child’s toy. Do not yank the toy out of your dog’s mouth, instead show your dog a treat to encourage him to drop it.
10.) Teach your children not to grab toys out of your dog’s mouth and to stay away from your dog while eating. This will prevent an angry biting dog.
11.) It is highly recommend to work with a trainer if any issues arise as kids and dogs can get sticky at times. These are just a few tips and many more ideas can be implemented as well.
Happy Training and Much Love!
Johanna Teresi, Professional Trainer of Four Legged Scholars LLC