Important points on how to keep dogs and kids safe around each other
Does your dog enjoy being around children? In their presence does it wiggle its bottom, have a loose smiley mouth, lollopy tongue, does it run up to and happily interact with and more importantly does it go back for more? If so what fantastic news you are well and truly blessed because unfortunately not all dogs do enjoy the experience especially if they have not been exposed to such creatures during their early puppyhood however much we want and expect it of them.
Children as much as we love them are inconsistent, unpredictable, pinchy, pully & pokey, loud and screechy, often smelly, dribbley, in your face and just don’t act like the normal humans our dogs are used to BC (before children). So for those parents with dogs that tolerate, stand still, stiffen, raise a paw, look or move away, show the whites of their eyes, raise lips to display teeth, flatten their ears, grumble, growl, snap or generally look a bit worried this is mainly for you…
- Do not allow children to hug dogs, any dog. Children commonly get bitten around the facial area so keep this important and often very cute part away from the sharp end. Hugs can hurt and restrict the dog from escape and although Granny may love them Fido will not. The same goes for kissing with all the added hygiene issues to consider. It’s also unwise to kiss the dog.
- Do not allow children to lie, ride or sit on dogs. Obviously this is going to hurt the dog but also the child when it gets shaken off, rolled on or snapped at and of course your whole world will fall apart when, after you have ignored the very final demand from your veterinary practice for extensive spinal surgery, the bailiffs arrive to take away your 78 inch Curved Smart 3D UHD 4K LED TV with a wireless sub woofer.
- Do not allow children to snatch, grab, take or kick away something the dog is eating or playing with. If the dog has something the child wants make sure you can distract the dog away and swap it for something else.Your dog is going to have a different relationship with your child than it does with you and if every time your son appears and tries to play “football” by kicking away the ball that your dog is happily chewing away at don’t be surprised if all of a sudden Fido begins to growl and initiates a manoeuvre that Suarez would be proud of.
- Let sleeping dogs lie” wherever they are. This idiom is saying don’t do it, avoid conflict and has come about for a jolly good reason. Don’t even step over your dog instead teach them that when you say “excuse me doggy” it means that you are going to walk past just so he won‘t be startled and is able to predict what will happen next. Just good manners on your part really.
- Allow your dog to move away and give him permission and space to do so. In fact encourage and reward him for moving away if the approach of a stumbling, bumbling and slightly manic toddler is proving too much. Granny is good at this and will quickly whisk herself away to make a nice cup of tea or leap onto a passing bus having suddenly remembered a very important bunion appointment. Granddad always has his shed to retire to so offer Fido his own hideaway and follow Granny’s toddler toodle oo tactics and you won’t go far wrong.
- If your child still needs a babysitter to look after them when you want time out then they still need you to watch out for them around dogs. You wouldn’t leave a huge chocolate cake on a low lying coffee table, an unsaved piece of original work on your computer that has taken your seven months to complete or the remote control for the 78 inch Curved Smart 3D UHD 4K LED TV with a wireless sub woofer alone with your small children so don’t leave them alone with your precious dog you just don’t know what your children might do.
Any worries get in touch with one of these: Clinical Animal Behaviourists