Dogs and kids – – tips for a happy home

Dogs and kids just seem naturally to go together; however, to make sure that this is the case parents need to be mindful of a few key issues. Some dogs have a personality and temperament that makes them more suitable to be around children than some other breeds of dogs. Selecting a dog that really likes children rather than a dog that simply tolerates children is essential for a successful relationship between your dog and your child. Discuss with your vet or your breeder which dog breeds are better suited for children. Once you have chosen your new puppy, never leave your puppy and your child alone unsupervised. No matter how well-behaved a dog may be, they are still animals and accidents can happen with young children until a permanent bond has been developed and your child has learned how to approach and treat your new family member. They should never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping or they do not know. Do not hit or pull on the dog and never chase a dog that is avoiding them.

Dogs help children learn responsibility. Allow your child to help care for the dog by walking the dog, feeding the dog and taking the dog to his training classes. Dogs help children develop social skills by interacting with other dog owners, trainers and vets. Children are excited about having a pet; therefore, you can use that excitement to teach them valuable lessons about caring for another living creature. Children learn how it feels to have something that is totally dependent on them for all of its needs. This can create a protective attitude in your child as well as teaching him or her empathy.
Teach children that they should never hit, tease, shout at or taunt a dog. What your child sees as “play” may be viewed as aggressive by a dog. Even though a puppy may initially take this as playful behavior, it may attack when it has had enough of this type of behavior or may view a sudden change as aggressive and attack. This is why it is so important that your child learn that he or she must respect your new puppy and treat it with kindness.

Your child and puppy will become very close if you foster a relationship built on respect, kindness and love. Teach your child by example and your new puppy will quickly become a member of your family.