Tips from the Trainer: Dogs and Children

Most dogs are loving, affectionate creatures. However, it’s important to remember that all dogs have the capability to bite. With a little knowledge and caution, though, it’s easy to ensure your and your family’s safety around dogs.

Rick, our Canine Training School trainer, offers a few tips for National Dog Bite Prevention Week about how to teach children to safely interact with dogs.

When you adopt a new puppy or adult dog:

Supervise interactions between young children and the new furry family member for at least the first several weeks or until the child’s behavior reflects appropriate interaction.

Have your child watch when the new dog is learning how to sit before eating so the child can properly give the dog the cue to sit and place the dish down for the dog.

Kids should be involved in all in-house training such as walking the dog/puppy, cleaning up any messes, corrections for inappropriate behavior, and rewarding training cues like sit, down, off, etc.

Your child should accompany you to positive, reward-based dog training classes, offered at the shelter, in order to learn how to train the new addition to the household.

Ensure your child’s safety around strange or stray dogs:

A child should never approach a dog that is off-lead or not accompanied by its owner. If a dog is accompanied by its owner and the child would like to approach or pet the dog, the child should ask permission of the owner before doing so and not run toward the dog. Many dogs are not used to kids quickly approaching.

A child should not give treats to a dog without permission from the owner.

If you follow these tips, you can ensure your kid’s safety and foster positive relationships with dogs!

For help on interacting with your dog in fun and safe ways, check out our Canine Training School. And for even more information, check out the CDC’s Dog Bite Prevention page. For a more in-depth at dog bites, read “Dogs Bite: But Balloons and Slippers Are More Dangerous”, by Janis Bradley.