Kids and Pets: How Kids Should (and Should Not) Interact with Dogs

Bringing a new, furry family member home can be one of the best days in your kid’s life, as the new puppy has the potential of becoming a lifelong four-legged companion for your child. Moreover, the bond they can experience is one of the most special things in the world. Nevertheless, it is essential to ensure that your kid knows how to interact with the dog in order to make its adjustment to a new home as comfortable as possible and keep their relationship safe.

Besides purchasing some of the best dog toys on the market, you should also teach your child some basic animal handling principles. One of the biggest mistakes you should avoid from the very beginning is letting your little one perceive a new puppy as a gift — this will inevitably result in violating your dog’s personal space and can lead to aggressive behavior on the part of the dog.

Below, you will find an essential guide to educating your children on how to behave themselves around dogs to help you promote a healthy bond between them, along with ways to avoid harm. Read on!

Teach Your Child to Respect Your Dog’s Personal Space

Before they even meet your new puppy, it is crucial to educate your child on respecting the dog’s personal space. Doing this will prevent the dog from feeling like they are being treated as a toy and will allow it to feel more comfortable around kids in the future.

Here are some quick tips on the right way to do this:

  • Teach your child to always ask for permission before playing with the new dog.
  • Do not let your kid pet or hug the dog without asking first.
  • Teach your child that they should never try to take an object from the dog (like a bone or a toy).
  • Teach your child to give the dog space when it is eating, sleeping, or needs to leave the room.
  • Do not let your kid run-up to the dog or walk up to the dog too quickly.

Having your kid ask for permission before interacting with the dog will make the dog feel safe and happy in its new home. It will also ensure that the child is aware of what they can and cannot do when they are around dogs. As they become more comfortable around them, you can begin to expand their interaction with your dog.

Teach Your Child How To Speak to Dogs

One of the best ways to help your kid relate with dogs is to have them learn how to speak their language. They must know how to approach a dog and what actions will result in it being excited or frightened to establish a healthy relationship.

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Always make eye contact with the dog when speaking to it.
  • Avoid shouting or making high-pitched noises when talking to the dog.
  • Avoid using your hands to attract the dog’s attention.
  • Use gentle tones and body language, but not too much.
  • Walk calmly over to the dog instead of running up to it.
  • Do not stare at the dog for too long, as it may be seen as a threat.

Teaching your kid how to talk to dogs will also help them know what the dog feels when it barks or growls. A lot of times, these noises are made out of fear and frustration, and your child can help ease some of this stress with their communication.

Teach Your Child To Interact With Your Dog Safely

Once your kid is familiar with basic communication principles regarding contacting the dog, they are ready to start playing with it. You can teach them some fun games they can play together, like fetch or tug-of-war. Here are some tips on how to go about it:

  • Throw the ball low to the ground so the dog can easily fetch it.
  • Do not run away from the dog when playing catch.
  • Do not stare at the dog for too long during playtime.
  • Do not hit the dog when playing tug-of-war.
  • Do not tug on the dog’s collar or tail during playtime.
  • Do not get on top of the dog during playtime.
  • Do not force the dog into a submissive position or make it uncomfortable when playing.
  • Stop playing if the dog shows signs of discomfort, such as growling or cowering.

While playtime is a great way to spend time with your new pet, you must follow some rules. Keep in mind that dogs may want different things from their interaction with humans than children do. It is essential that you teach your child how to keep their interactions fun and happy for both parties involved and always respect the dog’s feelings to avoid any possible conflict.

Final Word

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when bringing a new puppy into your home — you should not just hand over the dog without giving your kid some time to bond with it first. A dog can be an excellent companion for them, provided they know what to do.

Your child must learn how to communicate with the dog and understand how it can communicate with them. Thanks to it, they can establish a healthy relationship while avoiding any possible complications. Furthermore, doing this will ensure that your dog feels comfortable in its new home and can form a quality bond with your child.

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