It can be hard getting siblings to get along. And this goes for more than just human children. Sometimes it can be just as hard to getting your dog and your child to get along.
Reward Your Dog for Ignoring “Annoying” Kid Behavior – It can be easy to always scold when altercations occur between kids and pets. But if your or a friend’s child is annoying your dog and they don’t react in a negative manner, make sure to reward them. Positive reinforcement for not snapping at children is never a bad idea.
Create Kid and Dog-Free Zones – When you have pets and children in the same area it can easily get out of control. Make sure to have an area set up where your dog can find peace and where children won’t be distracted by them. Children are usually well intentioned, but sometimes pets are just too much for them to ignore. They don’t mean to bother them, but they can’t help it.
Socialize and Train Your Dog – It’s important that all dogs that are interacting with people should be socialized and having some training. It can be very frustrating for a dog to navigate social situation if they lack the proper skills needed for interaction. This frustration often then turns to aggression, and that can easily turn into to harmful situations.
Get to Know the Dog’s Breed – Knowing the temperament of a breed can help in learning how to aid in interactions. Certain breeds have different instincts and that can make dealing with children more difficult for them. If they are an active breed, they may need more exercise to help them be less stressed and hyper. Or they may have trouble in general getting along because of anxieties or deep rooted jealousy towards anyone getting their owner’s attention. Research your dog’s breed and you’ll find some great tips in how to handle their interactions with children.
Teach Kids to Ignore Non-Family and Stray Dogs – Kids need to learn early that not all dogs are friendly. Just because you have a dog at home, doesn’t mean that every dog you see is going to be friendly. Whether at the park, on the street or even in the homes we visit, our children need to know proper boundaries with pets.
Get your Dog Spayed or Neutered – Most dog attacks come from intact males. Get your dog spayed as soon as possible. The ASPCA offers a database of free or low-cost spay/neuter options around the country. Not only does it help aggression, it also helps keep the shelter population down as well.
Hopefully with some research and consistency, your dog and child will end up getting along. And maybe one day they’ll even become best friends. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen. If you’re continuing having trouble, contact your vet. They may have some last ditch ideas that could help in your specific situation. Just remember consistency is almost always key for both pets and children.
Have you had trouble with your dog and child getting along? We’d love to hear your stories about what happened and how you dealt with the situation in the comments below!