Nearly all problems between children and dogs can be resolved through training. That being said if your dog is extremely aggressive or has been known to bite it is not a good idea to leave them unattended; in fact, you might want to find a new home for your pet. Dog bites can do irreparable damage and it simply is not worth it to take chances. Here are a few of the most common problems and tips for dealing with them. Your first order of business is to make sure your dog understands common commands like sit, stay and heel.
Growling or Snapping
This is the one area where you should have zero tolerance for snapping or growling. This means you should quickly reprimand your dog while determining the cause of the problem. For example if it is a food dish that is causing conflict move the bowl to another area and remind children to leave the dog alone while he is eating. You could also install a doggy door so that your pet has the option of escaping unwanted attention. Pets are not unlike people in that sometimes they prefer to be left alone. In the mean time work with your dog on obedience and make sure they respect you and your family as the leader of the “pack”.
It is not uncommon for your dog and child to work together at the dinner table! Broccoli and spinach may wind up as part of Fido’s dinner if you are not careful. The best thing you can do to deter this is not let it begin in the first place, however if they sneak one by you it is not the end of the world. Simply put the dog outside or in another room for meals. It is nice to have a bag of doggy treats for your dog, give him or her one and then seclude them from the dinner table. Of course, you should also train the kids that feeding the dog at the table is a bad habit to get started.
Knocking Down Children
Some dogs are naturally rambunctious and inadvertently knock down small children very easily. This behavior can be a little harder to control, but with diligence, you should be able to get things in line. First watch for indications that your dog is getting excited, is it when you get ready to go outside? Whatever the trigger may be, determine to have your dog sit and stay at this time, preventing any accidents. This of course assumes that your dog knows and obeys the sit and stay command, if not you will want to start obedience training.
In most cases, any issues between the dog and your children can be simply resolved through adequate training of both. Spend some time teaching your kids the importance of treating an animal with kindness as well as some basic commands they can use with the dog. Even if your child is too young to understand, basic concepts a two or three year old can be shown how to gently pet the puppy instead of yanking their ears off!