Tips for training your dog to get along with young children
Many dog owners are confronted with this issue at some point. If we own a dog and have a young child, it is critical that they get along well with each other.
I do not recommend that you leave a dog and a young child in a room unattended. I don’t care how well trained the dog is. You just can’t take the risk of them being by themselves.
But if your dog and your child do not get along well together, you will have an extremely difficult time.
I started having this problem recently. When we adopted our two dogs, our children were teenagers. They got along great together.
But when our grandson started walking this past year, this became an issue.
He didn’t live with us but visited us frequently. When he came over, he immediately started chasing our dog. Romeo ran away from the little guy. I would run after them and put Romeo in a room.
I didn’t care for the tension this caused in our house. I also didn’t think it was fair to Romeo.
When my grandson started opening doors, I knew that something needed to be done. I had actually let this go on too long.
I understood the way that Romeo felt. I wouldn’t want the Eli, my grandson, (who was actually taller than Romeo) to come running toward me, his arms flailing, and voice shrieking.
So I decided to let Eli offer Romeo a treat. This didn’t go smoothly at first. Romeo was scared to death of the little guy. And the little guy was afraid to give the treat to Romeo. It would generally end up on the floor. Of course, Romeo didn’t mind this. He was happy to get the treat.
Over time, Eli felt comfortable giving the treat to Romeo. And Romeo no longer felt so intimidated by Eli. He knew that when Eli came over, he was going to get a treat. Not so bad for him.
Romeo is not a dog that naturally gets along with children. But for the most part, Eli and Romeo are pretty good buddies.
I read an article in Dog Star Daily entitled, “Conditioning Dogs To Accept Children.” The author is Betty Laurin, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. The article confirms my tip for training your dog to get along with young children.
Here is a short quote from the article:
Children and dogs should go together but people must understand that a certain amount of conditioning is involved before a dog can understand that those fast moving, small creatures with inappropriate handling skills are actually safe to be around. Let’s look at the dog’s perspective on children for a moment. Imagine being a dog for a moment and suddenly this small creature runs full speed towards you, eye level with outstretched arms, hands waving with a high pitched voice! Yikes! Now imagine that you are not only a dog but you are tethered and cannot escape this little invasive being! Yikes again!
Some dogs, depending on their early social skills may be completely unscathed by the little creatures assault on their fur, neck or tail but others, if not previously socialized may not take the invasive movements too kindly. Since a child is generally at eye level to a dog, a dog could perceive that fixed eye contact from that small being as a threatening gesture and that may become a big YIKES!
Here is the entire article.
Do you have any good tips for training your dog to get along with your children? I am fortunate since Eli only visits us every few days. What if you have you have your own children plus a dog? How do you handle that relationship with your dog?