Kids and Dogs: How Kids Should and Should Not Interact with Dogs

December 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm Leave a comment

This Is part three of a three-part series on the interaction between kids and dogs. It is taken from Dr. Sophia Yin’s animal behavior website.  Many thanks to her for sharing this important information.

Types of Child-Dog Interactions That are Appropriate

With all of these DON’Ts, it must seem like kids can’t interact with pets at all. In reality, they just need to be taught to be polite and kind to pets, instead of treating their companion like he’s stuffed animal. Parents should also teach their children to read the signs that Fido is fearful or anxious, so that the child knows to back-off.

Once the children understand that they should be kind to their pet, they can be taught appropriate games to play. For instance, fetch where the dog willingly gives the toy and remains polite before it’s tossed is fun for dogs who love to retrieve. Kids and pets love to learn tricks that result in rewards such as yummy treats or bits of the dog’s meal/kibble. All dogs need their exercise, and kids can be a part of this too if the dog is well-trained. Hide-n-seek is a great way for dogs to learn to have fun, and the dog is practicing his search and rescue skills.

Adults should ensure that the dog has lots of positive associations with the kids. The kids can regularly give food rewards for the dog’s calm, polite behavior, such as automatic sits.

Even if the child is generally well-behaved and the dog very tolerant, it’s essential for all interactions to be supervised. Accidents can happen in a split second.

A Final Take-Home Message

The key is to teach both the dog and the children to be polite. Make sure your children interact with your dog the same way you want them to interact with you. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts and everyone will be safer and happier.

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Entry filed under: Dogs. Tags: , , .

Kids and Dogs: How Kids Should and Should Not Interact with Dogs, part 2 A Father, Daughter & a Dog

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