If you are a parent to both a dog and kids, then you’re probably aiming for safe interactions between the both of them. It’s a bit scary leaving them alone, as you never know what your child can do to frustrate or aggravate your pet.
That is why it’s important to teach them how to play safely, rather than ban them from playing with pets forever. Here are effective tips to help your kids play with dogs safely.
- Tell them to approach slowly
Kids would be tempted to run to the dog in excitement, but your dog may feel like he’s being attacked, showing aggression to defend himself. Tell kids, whether yours or those approaching, that they shouldn’t approach a dog without asking for permission. They need to ask their parent or guardian first, then the pet’s owner.
Furthermore, teach them to NOT run to a dog, encouraging them to approach slowly and never to invade personal space. Let the dog go to the child and sniff to be acquainted.
- Know when you should say no
If a child asks for permission to pet your dog, it is fine to say no. They need to know when to NOT approach a dog, especially if the dog is feeling anxious, fearful, and/or stressed. You will be able to tell if a dog feels off by its body language.
Furthermore, children should be taught never to approach a dog while they are sleeping, eating, or playing with dog toys (which you can purchase from Peggasus Pets).
- Teach them how to pet properly
Children are naturally drawn to animals, especially adorable dogs. They are taught by media that petting a dog shows friendliness. But did you know there’s a right and wrong way to pet a dog?
When teaching children to pet a dog, start off by letting them softly pet a dog’s chin or chest. You can teach them to gently scratch, but do not put hands over a dog’s head or face. If the dog likes gentle pets and scratches, they can start petting the neck and pack, going in the same direction as their fur.
Signal them to stop if the dog growls, snaps, backs away, or shows negative body language.
- Teach them the proper behavior
There are other behaviors children should not do when handling dogs. Here are some ground rules to teach children so they behave well with animals and stay safe from harm:
- Do not pull on dogs’ ears, tails, or feet
- Do not hug dogs, as this makes them feel uncomfortable unless you are their owner
- Do not put your face close to theirs, as this is an invasion of their personal space
- Do not run away from dogs, which may evoke predatory instincts and responses
- Do not yell or scream when dogs are nearby, which excites, scares, or just plain irritates them
Wrapping It Up
Without the right lessons and tools, children can’t behave properly to keep themselves safe from animals, whether it’s from a family pet or someone else’s dog. Teach them the right ways with these tips in mind, for both child and dog to stay safe and happy.