As a trainer with Four Legged Scholars LLC, dog training Salt Lake City, I notice many families allowing their children to interact with their dogs in unhealthy ways. When a dog feels uncomfortable, he / she becomes more likely to growl, lunge, snap or bite. I want you to create safe and healthy interactions with your child and your dog!
1.) Give your dog plenty of alone time.
No dog wants to be around children all of the time. Children’s movements tend to more jerky, direct, loud and fast. As a result, your dog needs a break from this high energy.
Here are some ways to give your dog break from your child.
It is also especially important to do the above when your child is being extra hyper and will not follow your directions. Your dog will feel more calm and loved if he is not forced to be around a hyper child.
2.) Supervise your dog when he or she is with your child.
It is easy for your child to do things unintentionally that can make your dog feel uncomfortable. Keep your child safe by always watching your dog when your dog and your child are together. If you are not able to watch their interactions, put your dog behind closed doors away from your child.
3.) Learn about calming signals.
When your dog is stressed he will demonstrated certain behaviors to help himself calm down. If these signs are not acknowledged then your dog may bite. When your dog is exhibiting these signs, it is time to give your dog space and alone time. This will diffuse the stress. However, if your dog is exhibiting these signs frequently around your child, it is important to do some dog training. Salt Lake City has many professional dog trainers that you can contact. Make sure the trainer uses positive reinforcement dog training methods.
A list of some calming signals.
On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas is a great book to read to learn and understand more about calming signals.
4.) Create positive interactions between your dog and your child.
If your dog has many enjoyable interactions with your child, he will be more relaxed and happy. If most of the interactions that your dog has with your child are stressful, then, your dog will mostly feel stressed around your child. This will increase the chance of a dangerous interaction.
Here are some great games to play with your dog and your child.
5.) Teach your child to interact with your dog appropriately.
As a professional Salt Lake City dog trainer, I personally recommend to teach this at a very early age.
An entire book can be written on how to create safe interactions between your dog and your child. We have only touched-based on this issue. If you are interested in learning more we recommend working with a dog trainer. Salt Lake City has a large variety of positive reinforcement dog trainers. We also recommend that you read Living with Kids and Dogs … Without Loosing Your Mind by Colleen Pelar, CPDT.
We want to hear from you! Please write a comment below. Which ideas above will you apply with your child and your dog to create more positive interactions? What are some of your favorite games to play with your child and your dog?
Johanna Teresi, Professional trainer and owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC, dog training, Salt Lake City