Kids and dogs
Simple guidelines to keep your children safe around dogs
By: totanaliz on: Mon 30 of Apr, 2007 [20:15 UTC] (2195 reads)
If only all dogs were as intelligent as Lassie! Well, that would solve part of the problem. However, keeping your child safe around dogs means teaching them some basic safety rules and making sure that your dogs have some basic obedience training too.
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Having a dog can enrich your childs life, and teach them how to care for another living creature. Make sure that you have the time and energy to cope with this additional family member before you take the step.
- remember that no dog is 100% trustworthy, and that includes you family pet. A dog who is tired, in distress, sick, overexcited or guarding it´s puppies is a lot more inclined to bite, even if it knows you.
- remember that dogs have a strong pack instinct. Your dog will regard you as the pack leader ( provider of food etc), but needs to also learn that the kids are higher up in the ranking than the dog itself. One way to ensure this is to always feed your kids first. Often we make the mistake of getting up in the morning and feeding the dogs, but we should really feed the dominant pack members (ie family) first, and make the dogs wait. In the wild, the pack leaders always eat first, leaving the weaker members of the pack to finish up afterwards.
- Teach your children how to play with your dog. Fetch is a great game for kids, especially when the dog will “give” the toy readily. If not, you as pack leader will have to intervene! Kids also like to teach dogs simple tricks, such as “sit” on command. And with a reward of a treat, most dogs learn this one very quickly!
- Your children should respect your dogs territory and possessions. Don´t let them take his toys away from him, and make it clear that if he goes in his basket, he does not want to be disturbed.
- Puppies play by “mouthing” and “play biting” at each other. If you have more than one dog, don´t let your childern get involved when the dogs play like this. If they start to look upon your child as another puppy, they will be inclined to nip them too.
- When out and about, never let your kids approach a strange dog, especially a loose one. If the dog is with it´s owner, always ask permission to pat the dog, and then get your child to offer a closed up fist for the dog to sniff first before they pat. This helps avoid startling the dog, and allows it to get their scent before they pat it.
- Finally, and most importantly, never leave your kids unsupervised with the dog. You may think you trust your dog, but do you really trust your children too? Kids think it fun to pick up dogs, carry them around, even try to dress them up... If you were a dog, what would you do?
If your child is desperate for a dog, and you can´t fit one into your lifestyle, remember that there are many other pets that kids can enjoy. Cats are an easier alternative if you work ( but still come fitted with biting and scratching mechanism!), but hamsters, gerbils, mice and rabbits still have the “cute” factor, and are not quite as demanding.
Any pet needs care, and your child can learn how to be responsible and look after another living thing. My boys “own” 2 dogs each, and are involved in the day to day feeding care of this pack ( and Smudge the cat too!), but in reality I am always there in the background. Animal-mad Mom, food provider, carer and leader of my pack!