We are all aware of the problems that can occur between dogs and children. There are many physical and psychological injuries associated with dog bites every year and some frightening statistics suggest that the offending dog is often the family pet. Some of these interactions have resulted in the tragic death of newborn babies. Alarmed? Don’t be. The good news is that many of these incidents are preventable through good dog training for kids and socialisation – of the human family as well as the dog!
We’ve all heard the saying prevention is better than cure. Nothing could be more accurate when it comes to children and dogs. If you are thinking of starting a family or already pregnant and have a dog in the family, consider the following questions and tips below:
Consider changing your routine regularly now so that your dog does not have expectations that are set in stone. Think about what you will and won’t be able to do when you have a baby – will the dog be receiving less stimulation and interaction? Training exercises in the home can be used to tire an active dog and utilising dog walking or day care services can be helpful in some situations. Supervision is vital- a dog should never be left alone with a child, regardless of size, breed or personality. Teach your dog to leave the baby’s toys alone, walk next to a pram and stay off baby floor mats and bouncer nets – all before the baby has arrived. This must be done before the baby has arrived so that there is no negative association with the newest family member so start during your pregnancy. Remember that if you completely isolate your dog from the baby – you isolate them from you – and that’s where many problems can begin.
Consider these tips and questions carefully and seek professional help to ensure the relationship between your dog and your children is a great one.
This article has been written by Tamara and Stuart from Underdog training & Behaviour Consulting in Australia which focuses on dog training for kids.
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