Children and dogs no matter how well behaved should NEVER EVER be left unattended.
Choosing a Dog
- Do not get a dog that is going to grow bigger than your smallest child. If it learns that it can knock the child over this may prove to be dangerous.
- For children under the age of seven a small dog such as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bichon Frise or Shih-Tzu are more appropriate as they will never grow bigger than your smallest child. These breeds are designed to be lapdogs so unlike other breeds, enjoy lots of handling.
- If a dog is for the children the children must be old enough and strong enough to manage it. Again think very carefully about the dog you choose.
Living with your dog
- Teach the children that the dog is not a toy. Small children and puppies do not mix, as they are both too young to know how to behave.
- When the children are playing in the garden the puppy should be brought in and if the puppy is playing in the garden the children should be in. Both children and puppies need to be taught how to play safely with each other. Otherwise avoid all unsupervised contact.
- It may be helpful to teach the children some responsibility for the dog by getting the children to carry out the daily poop-scoop, while also teaching the children about hygiene. Dogs are naturally clean animals.
- It is important that children are taught not to scream, wave arms and run around wildly with dogs as this may incite the dog to jump up and bite.
- It is very important that visiting children are under strict supervision while interacting with your dog, as dogs will not tolerate unwanted attention from people outside their family/pack. If you think about it, neither do we!
Handling your dog
- Children need to be taught how to pet a dog. Dogs should only be stroked from collar to tail. Do not allow children to pet an unknown dog. Dogs do not like to be petted over the head as from the dogs point of view the hand is like a low flying air craft, it makes them feel worried.
- Hugging is a human/primate social behaviour. Dogs do not hug. Close physical contact in dogs means both mating activity or aggression therefore children must be taught this and NEVER EVER allowed to hug dogs. Hugging makes a dog feel threatened and it will growl or bite to defend itself.
Education is the key for a successful and happy relationship between dogs and children.