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Puppies and children

It is important that dogs get on well with children.
If your puppy does not meet children when it is young, and discover that they are good fun, there is a chance that as an adult it wont like children and may in fact be dangerous around children. If this is the case you must be vigilant and ensure your dog does not get put into a situation that makes it feels uncomfortable. Even being patted may be hard for a dog to tolerate if it is unsure about children.
On this page are a number of articles and links that will help you teach your puppy that kids are fun, and ensure children stay safe.

A Dog's Story - phone ap.

This is a great phone ap for kids that is interactive and teaches them about safety around dogs. Its called "A Dog's Story" by Pedigree and Colenso.

More great resources

The Dog Gone Crazy website has some great resources for children and dogs together. Here is a link to some really sensible advice for children of all ages. https://doggonecrazy.ca/kids-and-dogs/


Dog Gone safe also has some great resources suitable for families. Click here to view.


Some of the pages printed here feature in the booklet "My Safety around dogs" which can be downloaded by clicking on this Link to the waikato University.

KIDS AND DOGS.     Yes -  they can have  a wonderful life together but…

 

1.   Put SAFETY FIRST! - SUPERVISE

It is important that adults use common sense when children and dogs are together, and put safety first. Small children should never be left alone with ANY dog.  Telling a toddler to stay away from the dog isn't enough! Young children don't recognise when they may be in trouble.

 

2.   TEACH KIDS TO RESPECT ANIMALS – TOUCH NICELY..

For example - what kind of games are appropriate, how to touch the dog properly, how to interpret the dog's body language and when the dog is not to be disturbed. E.g. Running, playing, screaming kids can trigger a instinctive predator-prey reaction in some dogs, provoking a dog to bite a child.

 

3.   training  & socialisation.

Choose a dog from a responsible breeder who puts emphasis on good temperament. Investigate the temperament of the parents of your potential puppy. Then give your pup lots of opportunities to met children. Finally, train your dog to accept all sorts of handling. Reward your dog for its tolerance with treats.  Play “take and give” retrieving games. Teach “Act-like-a-tree” behaviour, and discourage running.

4. DOGS THINK LIKE DOGS, NOT HUMANS.

Remember that dogs don't think in the same way we do. Most of their actions are instinctive. A dog will react to situations according to what its instincts tell it, unless these instincts are overridden by the consistent training and socialisation it needs to receive from its owner throughout its life.

 

Dogs instinctively set up an invisible "fight or flight" boundary around themselves. The size of this boundary depends on its level of confidence and tolerance. A fearful dog will give itself a wider area than a more stable one. When someone who the dog sees as threatening or unwelcome enters that area, the dog has two choices -- it can run away or defend itself. If it feels that it can't run away, (it may be tied up), it will fight instead, no matter how afraid it might be. Some dogs will choose to fight first, rather than run.

While many dogs love to be patted by kids, Some dogs may not enjoy it. When a child approaches this dog it will give a warning that it does not like it. The dog may move away, or stiffen its body, or growl. These are warnings. Take heed or something more unpleasant may follow.  Few dogs bite without giving some indication beforehand.

 

BUT Small children, (and some adults), don't recognise a warning  when they see or hear one. 

 

What may be obvious to an adult isn't understood by a child. The child continues to pat the dog, and at this point the dog might bite.

What can be done to prevent dogs from biting children?

First, its essential to understand that almost any dog will bite under the right circumstances. Second, a dog is a dog, an animal whose behaviour isn't the same as humans and can't always be predicted accurately, no matter how friendly or reliable it is. Adequate supervision and early pup-children socialization is imperative.