How to Prepare Small Children for a New Family Dog
A new family dog is a very fulfilling and rich life experience for young children. However, especially if this is your child(ren)’s first dog, they need some preparation.
For example, while healthy play, such as a game of fetch, is great for a dog, sitting on them or pulling on their fur is not. Both can harm the dog and the dog will probably interpret that as aggression. As a result, the dog could get defensive, growl and/or bite.
Best Puppy Training Tips for Kids
One of the first things in dog training is shaping their behavior by using food as a reward. For example, it’s great for when the dog waits to go to the bathroom until it’s outside for the first time. In the process, it’s essential to teach your kids not to overdo it on the treats or it could confuse the dog and/or wreck its digestive system.
It may do both the dog and your kids some good for them to think up their own command words. Kids can be at least a little unpredictable and inconsistent and the dog could get the words and actions confused. It also gives the children a little bit of a creative outlet.
One of the other first things is to teach your child to read the dog’s body language. For example, if its tail is wagging, that’s the sign that it’s content. If, on the other hand, the ears are back and the fur is sticking up, that means that it’s angry and/or frightened and it should be approached very cautiously, if at all.
You might want to delay using very many treats or toys on the first day home. A dog could snatch or get territorial with those. Particularly if your dog is a rescue from a severe abuse situation, it could even interpret the toy in the hand as aggressive.
Among the most surprising best puppy training tips is to condition it out of jumping when it sees people from a crate or a fence. This is because you don’t want it to run and jump on you-or especially houseguests-when you let it out. Turn your back on it until it calms down enough to obey a command. Once it does, promptly reward it with a treat.
One of the best things you can teach your child is that if they’re in doubt, to let the dog approach him or her instead. Sudden movements-especially if they’re coupled with exuberance-can be very frightening to a dog. As a result, they might run away, growl, bite or a combination of all three. Loud noises can easily have the same effect as their hearing is better than a human’s.
If he or she is old enough and your dog is good fit for their weight and height, you can have your child practice walking the dog on a leash. That way, it also teaches them to take command of the situation in case it gets a little out of control.
Teach your child to never approach the dog while it’s eating or sleeping. Your child probably wouldn’t like it if someone did that to him or her. A dog could go further and interpret either or both as aggression.
A Word about Hugs
Experts today generally argue that it’s a bad idea to hug dogs. It stresses them out and can even cut off their breathing. They can even interpret it as aggressive and react by growling. Most, however, show more subtle signs of stress such as half moon eyes, licking and looking for an exit. As a result, you want to teach your kids that while it’s well-meaning to not hug the dog if there’s any doubt.