All interactions between dogs and children should be carefully supervised.
Many puppies and dogs think of children as littermates because children have higher pitched voices, get easily excited, run and fling their arms about, and are closer to the dog’s size. All of these behaviors signify “Play-Time” for a dog or puppy and they become excited and overactive. The puppy/dog interacts in play with the children, just as it would with other dogs/puppies. They nip, jump up, bang into, knock over and wrestle with the clothes of children. Also, toddlers and very young children are not capable of handling dogs with proper gentleness. They want to hug and squeeze the dog and are often too rough despite their sweet intentions.
If the dog is getting too excited, teach the children to stand still “like a tree;” fold arms and hide hands, then walk away slowly and calmly.
Teach your children how to appropriately interact with dogs:
- Allow the dog to approach you, not the other way around!
- Pet the dog under the chin or chest.
- Don’t look directly into the dog’s eyes.
- NEVER approach or touch a strange dog
- Never disturb a dog who is eating, chewing or sleeping
- Do not allow children to climb on the dog, hug tightly, pull the tail, or grab feet
- Keep your children’s faces away from the dog’s face.
Look for these warning signs that a dog is anxious:
- The dog is standing stiffly.
- He is looking sideways at the child.
- He is trying to get away or hide.
- His tail is tucked.
- He emits a low, deep growl.
- He is staring your child in the eye, with a raised lip.
- Never run from a dog; the natural instinct will be to chase.
- If a dog does run up to you, freeze with your arms folded or by your sides. Once the dog loses interest, walk away slowly.
- Don’t scold a dog for growling – this is his way of communicating and should be listened to.
RESPECT YOUR DOG – and encourage others to do the same…a dog will respond in kind. Your new pet is your friend and companion. Forcibly moving him, hitting or pinning him down will lead to problems. The dog may see you as a threat, as someone to fear, and may shut off from you or become aggressive. Your pet should welcome your touch and not be afraid of you.