Having both a dog and a young child can be a hassle since at times you have to double your efforts and support to give both of them equal love, care, and affection. Some people just raise either one or the other due to their personal preferences. And probably most typical, no dogs are added to the family until a child is old enough to want, and help care for, a dog. But if one is enthusiastic enough, a dog and a young child can be taught to enjoy a good mutual relationship.
First of all, your dog needs to have social training. That means, he/she has to be highly adaptive to any situation and not be easily frightened by beings that are alien to him, such as your child. As a puppy, he should receive proper social training such as being let outside often and being taken on walks. This allows it to experience the real world and be rid of the fear of being alienated. Have your dog get used to being around your child most of the time. If your dog can adjust well, then dealing with children is no hassle for them.
Children, on the other hand, are curious by nature. They love to explore new things, which include playing with dogs in a way that can be injurious. As responsible parents, they should tell their child the consequences of their behaviors towards the dog, and what could happen if they did it to them. If a dog gets irritated due to a children’s natural curiosity or bad behavior, your dog might bite your child or maybe worse. Fortunately most dogs have a “sixth sense” about children and will tolerate an amazing amount of rough play.
But this also is where the safety concern comes into play. Children should know that dogs can be dangerous if they play around with them in a way that is uncomfortable to the dog. And in the same way, we must recognize that not all dogs are friendly towards children and humans, and some dogs might even attack children at first sight if they do not recognize them or are annoyed with them. If your child encounters a loose dog, he/she should be taught to not attempt to catch or play with it, as it could be a vicious dog. Thus, it should be reported to the owners and/or police.
When children are playing, they might sometimes tend to tease or ridicule dogs and treat them like toys. This is wrong, as it could lead to serious problems such as the dog getting irritated. These actions may include messing with the dog’s territory or possessions, so it is up to you to teach them where to “draw the line”.
Always keep an eye out for your child; he/she should never go near dogs that are potentially dangerous — which includes just about any dog in the neighborhood, unless you know that it is a friendly dog.
If you are expecting a child, prepare your canine friend for the coming of an offspring and train him to be like a ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ and develop a sense of responsibility towards the new child. Teach your dog learn how to easily let go of toys in the case your child wants to play with them. In other words, make them feel as if a child is already in the house and have them get used to the feeling until the big day comes.
A child-dog relationship is not really hard to achieve if you have the necessary techniques and patience to teach them both.
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