I have Kids
What Should I Know?
Before you even bring a dog home explain to your kid(s) how to interact with a dog. How to get close, explain that the dog will sniff and that this is how they see the world, how to touch it, how to hold it, how to play with it. Try to help them understand what to do.
If you are the adult in the household you advocate not only for your kids but also for the dog. That means you are responsible for the relationship dog-child. You need to teach the dog that the child is also their human and the child how to properly treat the dog. Include your kids in the schedule and goals once you the dog is ready for it. Some dogs are naturally good with kids, but if they are not, give it time and get a trainer. Always supervise when they interact, guide your kids and show them what is ok and what is not. Read your dog’s body language and teach it to your kids as well. This way they can learn what they can do around the dog.
Be patient. Don’t force anything.
Teach the dog boundaries, make sure it has clear communication with you, then do the same with the kids. Make sure the kids and the dog learn to be relaxed around each other and that the kids keep the “dog boundaries” as well. It’s a lot easier for the dog to settle in if everyone has the same treatment. It will avoid a confused dog.
If you have a baby at home please don’t just put the baby on top of the dog. This is how accidents may happen.
Every interaction with a dog is training the dog. They are learning from everything you do, even if you are not officially in a training session. Keep this in mind when introducing the kids.
Please note that we are not trainers, but I have been charged with kids too many times. Sometimes they are polite and ask if they can pet Tomy which I really appreciate, but sometimes they come running and screaming, and even to us as humans it can be overwhelming. Teaching to respect the animal in your home is the best you can do. A dog can be the child’s best companion but the child needs to know that the dog is not a toy and needs to be treated respectfully.
If you’re struggling with the dog or the dog-kid interaction, seek a trainer! They will guide you and teach you and the whole family how to have a better life with your dog.