Dogs and Kids
Let's work on keeping everyone safe and happy.
From Speaking Dog with Shana:
Did you know that you should NOT encourage interaction between your dog and children under 3? They should learn to co-exist rather than focus on one another. It sets the stage for that best-buddies relationship down the road!
Did you know that you should treat your dog like you would a knife for your child? They can begin practicing how to interact when they are old enough to do so responsibly, and have the fine/gross motor skills and developmental ability to follow directions consistently (between 3-5 years old).
Did you know that it's best practice to have an alert adult in between the dog and child to prevent face to face interactions?
Did you know that dogs love children that are predictable, non-threatening and don't invade their space/steal their toys or food? Build these expectations for your child early (well before they can talk!) and narrate words like:
"Please walk around Sophie (and show them the route) so that we don't upset her while resting."
"Thank you for watching with your eyes when Sophie walked by. Keeping our hands to ourselves makes her feel safe."
"If you would like to play swords with your brother, please go in your rooms, because it scares Sophie. When dogs are scared, they might use their teeth to ask you to stop. We don't want to scare dogs. (Boys finish playing) Thanks so much! While you played upstairs, Sophie wasn't scared at all. I think that made her really happy."
"I don't think Sophie liked that noise you made. Did you see how she moved away quickly? Next time, we will try to be a little bit quieter. (Later on:) Wow! What a good friend you are, keeping your voice quiet for Sophie. I bet she really likes that."
Check out www.familypaws.com for more info on safe interactions and to find a certified trainer!