Children and Dogs - Is It Okay To Throw Them Together?

October 15, 2007

photo courtesy of Foreversoulskids and dog relationships
Stories of children and dogs not being compatible are not rare; yet, parents continue to choose to bring pet dogs into their homes, without thinking of the possible harmful consequences. However, the majority of families who have a dog, will fortunately never have to face some of the terrible situations one hears about.

Dogs are loving towards people, and most of them love children. Children, too, love dogs, and it is unlikely that the bond that has been forged for thousands of years between dogs and humans will be broken.

The important issue here is to create the safest possible environment for your kids and dogs, so that there won’t be any undue need to worry about unexpected happenings.

There are three important areas to take care of when you bring a dog into a household which has children.

First you have to make sure that very small children and even older children who are immature and impulsive, are never left alone with a dog. Your dog will never attack suddenly out of the blue, but a dog is like a small child; it may not always respond in the most desirable way possible when it is innocently teased, threatened or harmed during play.

If your children are very small, you wouldn’t leave them unattended at play for longer than a few seconds or minutes; in the same way, when your children and dogs are playing together, you should never leave them unattended, and exercise even greater vigilance, because you should know that the possibility of accidents is doubled.

You should discourage your children from indulging in rough play with the dog. A big can handle rough and tumble better and not get agitated. But this is not a foolproof situation.

Some large breed dogs can get excited or agitated in play, and harm the child accidentally. Large dogs may even knock small children down unintentionally. Smaller dogs could easily feel intimidated, or endangered with rough play, and feel the need for self protection. Therefore, discourage rough play with all breeds of dogs.

The third issue is related to your dog’s training - you have to see to it that the dog you have brought into the family is reasonably well trained. Some professional trainers are of the opinion that owners are themselves quite adequate to perform this task, but you might consider professional training for your dog for the best results.

Even loving owners can make mistakes in handling or imparting the correct training to their dog, which may lead to aggression. When you are selecting a pet dog for the children, going for a fully trained dog will give you much greater mental peace if you are planning to leave children and dogs together.


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