Teaching Your Kids to Play with Dogs Safely

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They say that dogs are a man’s best friend, but I think we all know that it is children who bond the most strongly with dogs.

There’s nothing cuter than a kid/dog combo, but whenever kids and dogs are in the same company, it’s important that safety is taken into account. So, if your child has shown an interest in a pooch, whether it be your own or someone else’s, here are a few things you should teach them so they can stay safe and enjoy a meaningful relationship with the four-legged friends around them:


Never Leave a Dog Alone with Your Kid

Even if it’s your own dog and you think you know his temperament, any dog behaviorist will tell you it’s never a good idea to leave a young kid alone with a dog. Dogs can become easily irritated and threatened by kids, especially those who want to pet them no matter what, which leaves them open to being bitten or worse. If you want to keep your kid and your dog (or anyone else’s)  safe, ensure a responsible adult is always around when they’re together until the child is older and more able to handle him.

 

Ask the Owner

Your child should know that, if they meet a new dog, they should always check with the owner before giving the dog any attention. Some pooches are pretty skittish and many, particularly those who haven’t been trained or haven’t exactly had the best start in, life, can be very wary of people they don’t know, and they may act to protect themselves, so asking is the very first thing anyone should do before showering new dogs with attention.

Give the Dog a Choice

Dogs, like humans, have their own boundaries, and they should be respected by everyone around them, for the safety of all involved. So, teach your child to bend down and beckon the dog by patting his or her legs to see if the dog is interested, only if he comes over to them, should your child have a little pat or stroke.Also, make it very clear they shouldn’t bother a dog who’s sleeping.

Giving a dog unwanted attention is a sure-fire way to irritate them and it’s unlikely that he will ever trust the child if they force their attention – if they’re patient, the dog will eventually want to get to know them.

 

Avoid Hugs

Kids love to hug dogs, but many dogs feel threatened by hugging, so maybe teach your children that they should pat dogs they don’t know well rather than hug them. If it’s your dog or the dog of someone you know well and you know he likes cuddles. Well then, that’s just fine as long as there’s someone to supervise the cuteness.

It’s also worth pointing out that kids might be tempted to hug dogs should they accidentally step on their tail or trip over and hurt them in some way. You need to make it clear that even in those circumstances, even if the dog generally enjoys hugs, it’s better to say sorry for hurting them by giving them a treat because they’re likely to be more on their guard.

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Be Gentle

It’s important for your children and the dogs they’ll play with that they know they must be gentle so that no one gets hurt.

 

Don’t Discipline Them

You should make it clear to your kids that if the dog is doing something he shouldn’t, they shouldn’t try to stop him themselves – that’s your job and they should come call you immediately.

 

Dogs Like to Play

If you want your dog and your kids to bond, let your children know how much dogs like to play. Teach them how to throw the ball for the dog (reminding them not to snatch any toys from the dog for safety’s sake), and they’ll have a great time together.

 

What if My Child Gets Bitten?

Hopefully, it will never happen, but if something does go wrong, first you’ll want to get the dog off your kid. This is a great guide to help you with that. Then, you’ll want to get them immediate medical attention and ensure that the dog is locked away where it can’t continue to hurt anyone. Unfortunately, a dog that attacks may have to be destroyed, depending on why it attacked. This is very sad, but sometimes necessary.

When the dust has settled, if the dog that attacked was not yours, personal injury lawyers committed to obtaining justice may be able to help you obtain compensation. This will help with medical bills and such. Just make sure you’ve dealt with the dog and the injuries thoroughly first

Hopefully, now your kids can have a fun and, more importantly, safe, time around their furry friends; it’s such a special relationship to have.

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