Teaching Kids How To Behave Around Dogs

Parenting and pet ownership are not that different so even if you only have one of the fore mentioned participants, inevitably contact with the other will occur at some point so it is very important to take measures to introduce pets to other children or your children to other pets. Households with children and pets have a responsibility to make every effort to properly socialize and teach everyone to be friendly, and gentle with each other.

Even though dogs can’t speak like us dogs have ways of telling us what they like and don’t like. Teach kids how to recognize and interpret a dog’s body language by showing them pictures of aggressive and non aggressive behavior.

Parents also need to teach their children that even the best dogs have basic instincts that can override their usual friendly behavior. To avoid these situations point out that there are some things kids should NEVER do…

  • Never approach a dog without the owner’s permission-even if you already know the dog is friendly.
  • Never jump or yell near a sleeping dog
  • Never run after a dog who wants to get away
  • Never bother a dog that is eating or chewing a bone or toy- Keep Hands Off!
  • Never Stare a dog in the eye for a long time
  • Never play tug of war games or other games that reinforce aggression

Under these circumstances any animal might feel threatened and the instinct to protect itself could cause sudden aggressive behavior. It is ultimately up to the parents to supervise all interactions between small children and animals. Never risk leaving a child alone with any animal. Most of the time nothing will happen, but why take a chance?

Teaching kids how to behave around dogs is a big responsibility that pays off big time. Over and over, I’ve seen when children get involved in the basic care and feeding routines and engage in healthy play and exercise with their pets they learn responsibility and empathy towards others besides themselves.  It also sends the message to the dog that your child’s place in the pack is above the dogs which is important for overall safety.