For many people, a pet dog is considered equally as much as part of the family as any other family member. Dogs not only bring fun and laughter to families, they also offer love and commitment to their owners and other family members.
However, in recent years we have seen an increasing concern relating to the control of pet dogs and young children. While there have always been debates around these issues, recent news events have led to an uprising in the idea that no dog should be trusted alone with babies and young children. Many families have disregarded this idea, as they feel their pet dog is equally as protective of the children in their family as the parents are. However, to be on the safe side, it is strongly advised that you should learn how to keep your children safe around your dog.
While the imminent risk is that your dog cannot be trusted around your children, you must consider how your children treat and play with the pup. Even if you have the friendliest dog in the world, a dangerous situation can develop in mere seconds. Although children mean no harm, they can do a number of things to trigger aggression in dogs:
- Avoid startling or hurting a dog. If a child stumbles onto a sleeping dog, pulls their tail or pinches their ears, the dog may feel sudden pain. Defensive aggression is very common animals, including domestic pets. When dogs feel at risk of danger, they may turn to aggression to defend themselves. Teach your children the boundaries of playing with the family pet.
- A dog can also be extremely protective over its belongings – toys, bed, treats and food. It is strongly advised that you teach your children to allow the dog to have its own space when playing with toys, sitting in bed and especially when it is eating food.
- Although playing with a dog may seem innocent and fun, it can easily turn into aggression for a dog. Games should as tugging a toy may seem like a fun activity – however this can bring out your pets natural defenses. Ensure all playing between your dog and children are controlled.
The most important step you can take to ensure that your children are safe around your pet dog is to ensure supervision at all times. Oversee the relationship between your pet and child. Is your child too forceful? Can you see your dog getting agitated? Noticing things like this can make a huge difference and will highlight areas in which you may need to train your pup or teach your child.
Obviously, there may be times that you cannot supervise your child and dog. To prevent any problems from occurring while you are not present, you should divide space up for both your dog and child. Provide your dog with a spacious dog bed and plenty of toys and keep your child separate from this area. Do not provide your child with any food, without supervision, as your dog may approach the child for food.
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