Kids and Dogs

Jason Cook

APL_logo_black [Converted]We expect the family dog to be our child’s best friend but, the truth is, dogs and children are not always a natural pairing. Kids move erratically, speak in high voices, and often run around with arms waving. This can be quite confusing, and potentially frightening, for a dog. Dogs may also become aroused by children’s movements, and this can lead to nipping and jumping behaviors.

However, with thought, you can find a dog who loves kids. Through careful management, you can raise your children and your dog together and foster a wonderful relationship between them.

Having a dog can teach kids responsibility. But remember that a child cannot be the primary caretaker of a dog. She cannot be expected to provide the dog with everything he needs without parental involvement.

Don’t get a dog just because the kids want one. When you adopt a dog, you are making a long-term commitment to another living being. So, be sure that you want a dog as much as your kids do.

When choosing a dog, be sure that he shows an interest and affection for your children. A dog who avoids or does not show active interest in children is not a good choice. He may one day bite a child who he had simply tolerated up to that point.

Dogs are most troubled by kids during the toddler stage. A child who is just learning to walk may fall on the dog. She may also show her curiosity by pulling the dog’s tail or ears, or poking his eyes. In addition, children do not recognize a dog’s warning signs, such as growls and lip curls. When these signs are not respected, the dog may resort to biting. It is important to teach toddlers how to gently pet the dog, and when to leave the dog alone.

Your dog should have his own quiet space to escape to when he does not want to be around the kids. This can be a gated-off room or comfy crate. The kids should be taught to not bother the dog when he is in his safe space.
Children should be taught to not touch the dog when he is eating, and to not pick up the dog’s special chews or toys. Dogs may guard their belongings, and this can lead to a bite.

If you keep these tips in mind, you will be able to raise your dog and your kids together and avoid problems. With some foresight and planning, children and dogs can be the best of friends.