Other Dog Behavior Issues


Introducing Your Child and Pet


Having your children and pets grow up together can be such a wonderful experience for both of them. Sometimes pets and children just don't get along. Knowing how to introduce them correctly can make all the difference. Here are a few tips that will hopefully help you with this.


Teaching Children The Correct Behavior

The first thing you should do is teach your child the correct way to pet a dog, using a stuffed animal would work fine. They need to do this (gently), you should also teach them how to correctly approach a dog. Your child should always approach a dog or puppy calm, quiet, and walking. Have your child always pet a dog from the side, and never over their head. Some older dogs may see this as a threat and i'm sure by no means was it intended to be. This can be a little difficult when they see the adorable little puppy sitting there.


Feeding Treats

Teaching our children the correct way to feed your dog treats will be better for the both of them in the long run. If your child tries to feed your dog while holding the treat in their fingers they could get nipped. That could make them hesitant or fearful of the dog, and we don't want that. Teach your child to hold the treat in the palm of their hand, with palm up and flat. The dog or puppy will learn to lick it right off their hand and no teeth will ever meet the skin. Making treat giving a pleasurable experience.


Rewarding Dog In Presence Of Children

If you start associating good things happen to your pet when children are around they will be off to a great start. When ever your dog and child are together have the child reward the dog or puppy. The dog/puppy will associate that when the little ones around, it means good things will come. This method will also teach an older dog that doesn't care for children, how to adjust when they are around. They won't have to be buds, but you do need to let the dog know that growling, or any other aggressive behavior will not be tolerated. If every time a child comes in contact with the older dog you can have the child just drop treats on the floor. They don't have to pet them or even speak to them just offering treats shows the dog they bring good things.


Children's Threatening Body Language

To a dog children can be either scary or exciting, depending on how they act when approaching your pet. Put yourself in the dog's place for a second. Little ones are at their eye level and sometimes move very erratically, they yell, maybe pull on the dogs tail, or even chase your dog. Threatening body language to your pet can be something as harmless as a hug, or leaning over them. It can also be because your child is grabbing at them, or child handles your pet to rough. Allow them to interact slowly building up a relationship, until they warm up to each other. Always use Pawsitive Reinforcement and offer treats when the encounter has been a nice one. You should also use a reward your children when they have done well.


Safe Place For Your Pet

Just like you and I, our dogs need a place of their own. Like a "safe place" to go when they need privacy. You should teach your children to leave the dog alone when they are in their safe place. Our pets need a place to go and de-escalate from time to time. You and I can always go to our rooms, dogs don't usually have a place. Having a crate, kennel, or an area of your home just for them will work fine. When your dog feels anxious, or maybe fearful of someone or something, you will notice them start to hunch over or maybe growl, just act different. They may need to go to their safe place. Some dogs learn to go into their "safe place" by themselves, others need to be taught to go. Either way, you should tell your children when the dog is in it's "safe place" they are not allowed to bother them. Having a toy or maybe a bone for them to chew on while they are in there will make it a happier time.


Playing or Interacting Together

When you think both the dog and child are ready to play together have them play something that is a lower energy level game so they don't get overly excited. You don't want your child running around and having your dog chase them, this can lead to nipping, and biting at the clothes. Having your child hide a toy and asking your dog to go find is a great low level game they can play together. If they are playing tug of war, make sure they are using a long rope, or something so there will be no mouth to skin contact. If this starts, all games should stop! Once you allow this to happen without correcting this behavior, it will happen more often.


Children Maybe Nervous

If the problem is your child feels nervous around your dog, but your dog loves the child, put your dog on a leash to ease some of the child's anxiety. If the dog is on a leash, the dog can't jump or lunge at the child. This is allowing the child to walk away if they need to. Asking your dog to sit when the child comes near the dog works also. Allow your dog to sniff the child's hand and if the child feels comfortable have them reward the dog with a treat. If they are not comfortable with the dog in a sit, have the dog lay down, this will allow your child to rub the belly and stay away from the head and mouth area.


New Baby

If you are going to be bringing a new baby home for the first time, bring something with the new babies smell on it. Allow the dog to smell it and become used to their scent. You should start teaching your dog to adjust to the new baby even before you are bringing them home. Let them go and explore the new babies room, they need to see what all the excitement is about. You don't want to make the new baby coming home a bad experience for your dog. Yelling at them to get out of the room can make them resent the new baby.