The relationship between a dog and child can be delightful, but that special bond requires plenty of preparation and guidance from you. It’s important to teach your child how to stay safe around his furry best friend! Educating yourself on children safety with pets can help prevent many tragic accidents!
The first step to introducing your child to animal safety precautions is teaching him how to appropriately say hello to Fido! When you meet a dog, it is crucial to let it come to you; you should stay where you are calmly and then let Fido come say hi! The next step is probably Fido’s favorite part…giving him a delicious treat! Believe it or not, there is a preferred safe way to give Fido his beloved treat! This is the perfect opportunity to teach your child by showing them hands on. Show your child to hold his hand flat with the palm facing the sky, then put the treat slowly under the dogs chin allowing him to pick it up. This can help prevent finger nipping when giving your pooch treats.
Make sure your child understands that your household dog is not a stuffed animal – he is a living, breathing animal that needs to be treated respectfully. Children should not be allowed to tug, pull, pinch, or poke the family dog – this conduct could upset your pooch and cause unsafe behavior. Make sure Fido has his own ‘safe’ spot that he can retreat to at any time, your child needs to understand that Fido is off limits while in the ‘safe’ zone! Also, when you’re around a dog don’t yell. Always keep a calm voice, Fido’s ears are extremely sensitive!
It’s also very important that you child knows not only how to be safe with the family dog, but with an unknown dog as well. Many dogs are friendly and appreciate attention, but not all dogs are friendly so it’s crucial your child knows what to do when encountering a strange dog. If your child is approached by a strange dog – they should freeze (without looking the dog in the eyes) and stay still until the dog leaves. Never grab the dog by the tail, hit him, or try to hug him – he may feel trapped.
The sight of a child and a dog playing together in the yard or napping and cuddling peacefully together is a beautiful thing. The potential relationship between your child and the dog who acts like a family member is a precious bond which needs to be guided and nurtured. Families can accomplish this loving relationship if they teach both child and dog to respect and appreciate one another. If this can be done, fewer dogs will be euthanized for unwanted behavior and fewer children will be bitten as a result.