Most kids love pets that they can touch, cuddle and play with all the time. Dogs are just the perfect companions for these playful demands. Do remember that even if dogs can be the sweetest, most loyal domesticated animals, there are still instances when their wild side can get the better of them. After all, they are still animals with instinctive qualities that can suddenly show in spite of their good training. You have to know the things that all children should avoid when playing with the family pooch.
- Always supervise playtime with the dogs. Never leave your child alone with the dog, no matter how tame and mild the dog is.
- Teach your child the proper basic behavior. Even well-trained dogs can become nasty if they are threatened so make sure that your child never pulls any sort of trick on them. You have to warn your child to minimize high-pitched squeals as these actions can cause these animals’ irritated outbursts.
- Teach your child how to approach a dog. If the child is meeting a dog for the first time, introduce the two of them properly. Let your child hold out the back of his hands and direct them towards the dog. Let the dog sniff it. Instruct your child not to look directly at the dog because this action can be interpreted as a challenge for domination. This may cause the animal to feel threatened, and in turn might push him to become angry or hostile.
- Teach your child to know when and when not to approach a dog. Teach your child that if the dog sniffs his hand, this should be a signal for him to start patting the dog. If the dog backs away, your child should know that the dog may not be friendly and that he shouldn’t try to pat the dog. Your child should also know that he should never approach a dog that’s eating or sleeping, or a dog that’s growling or backing off.
- Guide your child on how to stroke a dog. Model to him how to properly touch a dog, and which dog body parts are best petted. Then, hold your child’s hands and lead him to do the same thing. Finally, hold the dog still and let your child pat the dog himself.
- Teach that dog violence is a big no-no. Some kids play hard and rough so make sure that you teach them how to be gentle with your dog. It is crucial that your children know that it is very wrong to hurt animals. There should be no kicking, no throwing things at the dog, no pushing and if they want to hug the pooch, make sure that it is not too tight.
- Strictly apply age limits. No adults should allow any children below five years of age to play with any kind of dogs, regardless how little the breed is. Being exposed to these pets between one and five can be very dangerous to the health of the child.
Pets can be adorable and obedient but they can get aggressive if they are not treated right. It is your job to ensure that your children stay always safe when around any kind of animal.