We all know that a dog is a man’s best friend. Dogs are the best companion one could ever have, especially when it comes to children. Your pet dog and children could make a perfect bond, but they both need proper training.
There are a lot of benefits to having a dog. But, children and dogs can be a lot of work, and it would take a lot of time to raise them properly. If not supervised, things could get out of hand as well.
Haven’t we all heard of incidents where dogs hurt children, leaving them wounded or scarred? These painful memories are due to a lack of proper training. We can’t blame the dog or the kids; it’s on us, parents.
It is essential to train your dog how to behave around kids and likewise teach your children how to treat your dog. This blog will focus on how to help you train your dog to respect children.
Tips to Help You Train Your Dog To Respect Children
Socialise With Your Dogs From a Very Young Age
A dog’s habits are formed best in the initial years, just like kids. Puppies between the ages of 8 – 16 weeks go through a development phase, and this phase is important to shape themselves to start socialising.
As a pet owner, you should make the most of this period of your pup’s development phase to introduce them to new situations and people as much as possible.
As your pup encounters more people and situations, it lets them start building confidence, helping them to get better as they grow.
For those who want to train their adult pet dog, it is still possible but with a gradual process and a lot of patience from your side.
Never Leave Your Dog and Children Unattended
Even though your dog might have been with the family for many years, remember that a family dog is still an animal, and animals cannot judge what is right and wrong and act accordingly.
Your pet dog may not deliberately harm your child, but it could be an instant reaction to something your child did that the dog doesn’t like.
So it is essential to keep an eye on your dog and young children and never leave them unattended at any cost. But, of course, this won’t be required once your child is old enough to understand your dog and your dog is comfortable around them.
Train Your Dog Not to Jump Up on People
Many people do not feel comfortable when dogs jump on them. Therefore, do not encourage your dog to jump, assuming it is just a friendly hello. Jumping could be dangerous, especially around kids, and your dog can knock over a kid while jumping on them in excitement.
If your dog jumps on you, you should be firm in expressing that you do not like the behaviour. Then, use positive reinforcement to change their behaviour. You can also consider sending them for basic dog obedience classes to help them learn faster and better from the professionals.
Understand Your Dog’s Feelings
Not all dogs like being around kids; some may even be scared, so you must try to understand how your dog feels around kids. It is vital that you not only understand your dog’s feelings but also respect them.
Never force your dog to approach children if they are not comfortable. If you force, your dog may develop hatred towards the child, which is something you wouldn’t want to happen.
So let it happen slowly and naturally at its own pace.
Set Some Ground Rules
If you want your dog to respect children, set some rules at home and stick to them. Never let your dog eat from your child’s plate and vice versa. Pet toys and stuff must be kept away from children.
Walk Your Dog to the Park
If you want your dog to get comfortable being around children, then you must take your dog to the public park very often. However, if your dog has never been around kids, sudden exposure may intimidate them into misbehaving, so make sure to have your dog on a leash and observe.
Use Positive Reinforcement on Your Dog
Encouraging your dog to behave well around kids with treats and praises is an excellent way to train them. Using Positive Reinforcement for better behaviour around children will let your dog associate it well as they get praised for it.
Behave Like a Child
Children behave very differently from adults, so try to act like a child for some time to help them get used to it.
Doing more of what kids do, like shouting and running around, will introduce your dog to childlike behaviour.
This helps to make things a bit easier for your dog to get accustomed to such behaviours and remain calm when they come across children.
Use Crate Training
An escape route will help your dog be less stressed when around children. Crate train your dog to feel comfortable and happy when inside. It will help them know they can get into their own safe space whenever they feel uncomfortable.
The child must know that your dog’s crate is out of bounds, so they don’t attempt to bother your dog when it moves to the crate.
Let Your Dog Get Accustomed to Baby Stuff
For those of you expecting a baby and wondering how your dog might react to the arrival of your new baby, allow your dog to get used to all things related to babies.
Training your dog to get accustomed to the baby’s scent and sounds will help your dog to behave normally when the baby arrives.
Training your dog to respect children can be tricky but not impossible. However, just by following the tips mentioned in this blog, you will have it done in no time. You can also take the assistance of a dog trainer to help you with the process.
Even if you don’t have children at home or do not expect any, you may have visitors such as families and friends who might have children. So it is essential to train your dog to respect children, so they are prepared for it any time, even when they encounter kids in public places.
As a dog owner, it isn’t perfect to have your dog misbehave in front of people. However, if appropriately trained, your dog will have a good relationship with any child it meets. This will make your dog look good and make you a proud pet owner.