Kids and Dogs Living in Harmony
Safety tips for parents of babies and young children living with dogs
Other preparations before the baby arrives include getting the dog used to having to work for and share your attention. “Reserve key phases or nicknames for the dog that are different from what your may call the baby,” adds Kilcommons and Wilson. If the dog is used to hearing words like, “what a good boy” or “what a pretty girl” referring to him or her, the dog will be confused when you use the same words for your precious baby. You may want to change your dog-directed talk to “what a good dog,” or use other key words that you won’t be tempted to say to your infant.
Bob Ward, a professional dog trainer, suggests starting obedience training and properly socializing your dog before baby is born. Ward continues that the dog should “gradually be accustomed to potentially arousing events before the baby arrives.” He suggests rocking “a doll in your arms while allowing the dog to look at the doll.” The dog should be on a leash and remain sitting through this practice. If the dog breaks his sit/stay command, a firm “no” should be used and conversely if the dog complies, he should be warmly praised.
Training Your Kids
The same funny antics of dogs that may be amusing and enjoyable to adults may prove to be irresistible to older babies and young kids. Let’s face it, children want to grab, pet, tug, hug, and sit on the family dog. Most children, unless taught otherwise or learned not to through a negative experience, will gravitate towards dogs in general.
According to the American Humane Association, “dog bites are the number one public health problem for children.” Dogs don’t like to be hurt. Children often “hurt” dogs by pulling their tails or whiskers, hugging them too hard, or even kicking or hitting them. Dogs will generalize. If one child hurts the dog, the dog may growl at all children. It may be in everyone’s best interest to protect your dog from children who tend to be aggressive or who have little experience with animals.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN