Kids and dogs interact with each other in a playful, carefree, and trusting manner. The problem is, children are small and can face potential risk when playing with the wrong pooch. There may be dominance issues related to how a canine views his place in his pack in relation to the child’s place. There’s also a risk of physical injury that can result when kids cross the line with regard to a dog’s boundaries.
In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between children and canines, and provide some helpful suggestions for ensuring their interaction is positive. You’ll learn how to select the right pooch for your child and ensure their first few weeks together are trouble-free.
Selecting The Right Pet
Every breed is different, and every individual canine has a unique temperament and set of quirks. Choosing the right pet for your family is largely a matter of knowing what to avoid.
Large breeds are not necessarily a poor choice. To be sure, some are naturally energetic, which can be dangerous if your child is young. He or she can be knocked over and injured by an overly-exuberant pooch. On the other hand, a lot of large dogs are extremely calm. They’re content to sit quietly while children play near them; in fact, they often make perfect companions for kids.
Many parents assume that small breeds make good companions for children due to their size. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, especially if the puppy is over-active. Some smaller canines are prone to playing too roughly, which can lead to biting or other signs of aggression.
The First Few Weeks
Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting time for children. They gravitate naturally to dogs, and are intensely curious and eager to play with them. That said, you should take a few steps beforehand to make sure the transition is smooth for everyone involved. Doing so can prevent behavioral problems in the future.
First, let your children know that they should give the puppy some space during its first week in the home. It’s okay for them to play with the pup, but let him adjust to his new setting.
Second, tell your kids that the dog will sleep in his own bed, not their beds. The latter occurrence usually serves as an omen of behavoiral problems (with the puppy).
Third, establish a set of rules that define your children’s responsibilities regarding your new pooch. These rules should include feeding, cleaning up after, and similar chores. Post these guidelines in a place where your children can easily review them.
During the first few weeks, your new canine will gradually start exploring his new home. He’ll also grow accustomed to – and fond of – your kids; the bond between them will build quickly. It’s important that you encourage your children to treat your dog respectively. Always discourage punishment, and encourage good dog behavior with treats.
Also, never leave a young child alone with your canine. Kids occasionally do things that prompt a warning from dogs. Make sure you are nearby to put a stop to any potential confrontation.