Pet BFFs - Helping Dogs Get Along With Young Children

by - January 16, 2018



Every dog owner knows that they need to be extra careful of their pet when there are young children around. If you find out that you are expecting a baby, you might be extra anxious about how your beloved pup will adapt to a new addition to the household. Similarly, if you have a child already and want to get them a pet, you might be wondering whether a new dog is the right choice.

The majority of dogs will quickly adapt to a new child being in their life, especially if you are willing to put in some extra effort to help your child and dog become BFFs. Here are some of the steps that you might want to take that can help this happen.

Choose The Right Breed

Every breed of dog has its very own unique personality and set of characteristics. If you don’t already own a dog, then you should spend some time researching the different breeds so that you can find one that is exceptionally easy going and friendly. These kinds of breeds, like British bulldogs and Labrador Retrievers, will get along with pretty much anyone, even very young children and babies. In fact, they might not be too bothered or interested in your kids. However, though, there are some quite aggressive breeds that should be avoided completely. Dogs like Weimaraners and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are too territorial and could feel threatened by a small toddler or baby in the house.


Prepare The Dog Before A Baby Arrives

If you already have a pet dog and are expecting your first baby, it’s important to spend the pregnancy getting the dog ready for a new addition to the family. For starters, you should ensure that your dog is exceptionally well behaved and knows all of the very basic commands. You will find plenty of training tips and ideas on websites like VetIQ and in YouTube videos. Most owners find that they can quickly train their dog on their own but if you find it a bit of a struggle, it’s worth signing up for some training classes. That way, you can get peace of mind knowing that any potential behavior issues will be completely removed from your dog’s personality before the baby gets here.


Spend Time Socializing

Another way to prepare your dog for the arrival of a new baby is to socialize it. Ideally, you should socialize it both with other dogs and young children. If you have any friends or relatives who have dogs, then plan a walk together so that the dogs have a chance to get to know each other. Dogs that are well socialized with other pooches will get on better with other dogs, even if they have only just met, and you won’t have to worry about them being aggressive around other dogs. This is also the case with dogs and toddlers. If your pet isn’t used to being around toddlers and babies, then they could be very nervous and skittish around them. So, before your baby gets here, it’s a good idea to ensure your hound has plenty of exposure to children and babies so that they start to get used to the idea of little people!


Teach Kids To Let The Dog Come To Them

If you are going to welcome a new dog into a home that already has children in it, you will need to prepare your kids for their new pet. One of the first things that you should teach to them is that they need to let the dog come to them, rather than the other way around. The chances are that your children will be very excited about getting a new dog and they might be tempted to run up to the dog when it arrives to hug and pet it. However, this can be a bit too overwhelming for some dogs and it might end up lashing out in fright. So, instead of your kids approaching the dog first, it has to be the pup that makes the first move on its own terms. Eventually, once the dog is a lot more comfortable in its new home and with the kids, they can start to approach it to pet.


Show Children How To Stroke Dogs

It’s also really important that you teach your kids the right way to pet and stroke dogs. If they get it wrong, they could hurt the dog or make it feel uncomfortable, which could result in it lashing out at them. Make sure that the kids know they need to stroke the dog in the direction the fur is growing. If they don’t, then they will pull back the fur which can be quite painful, especially in wire-haired dogs. They should also stick to patting the dog’s back. The majority of dogs are threatened by people they don’t know too well patting the top of their heads. So, until your dog and kids become firm BFFs, they should stay away from the dog’s head entirely.


No Petting During Eating Or Playing

One really important point to remember is that your kids should never try and pet the dog whenever it is eating or playing on its own with one of its toys. Even the most gentle of dogs can still get very territorial over their food or favorite toy, and they might end up acting aggressively if they think that someone is trying to take it away from them. Even if your child only wants to pat the dog, the pup might take this in the wrong way and could see it as a threat. To ensure that your kids don’t get hurt, make sure they know that they should stay well away from the dog while it is eating or playing. The only time they should play with a toy with the dog is when the dog brings it to them, as this shows that they are willing to play with someone else.

Before you know it, your kids and dog will be BFFs!



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