Teaching young kids how to act around dogs is very important in today’s dog-filled society. Whether it’s your family pooch or an unfamiliar dog walking down the street, you want to be sure that your child knows how to properly behave around a dog and how to be respectful towards both the canine and the owner. We’ve complied some helpful tips for teaching your kids their doggy manners and staying safe!
Always Ask Before Approaching/ Petting a Dog
One of the most important safety tips is to always ask the owner before approaching or trying to pet the dog. Kids will often get so excited to see a new cute dog that they want to run up to it and start petting him! Unfortunately, this can often cause the dog to be surprised/overwhelmed and may react in a negative way such as biting. Try this exercise, take your child to a popular dog walking area, and show your child by example how to ask the owner first before petting and then calmly pet the dog. With enough practise, this will become the child’s natural response when they see a dog in the future. If you want to go a step further, you can teach your kids the colour codes that some dogs will wear to indicate various meanings (ex., red means ‘Caution! Do not touch’, green means ‘I am friendly!’)
Too Many Kisses!
Dogs and humans show affection in different ways. This is an important piece of information for kids to understand. At an early age, kids learn to show affection by hugging their friends and family; so it only makes sense that they would want to show the same affection to the new cute dog they just met! Unfortunately, dogs don’t typically show affection by hugs or kisses, and often times when a face or head is very close to their head, the dog becomes uncomfortable and will try to bite. It should be fully explained and emphasized to kids that the dog does not like hugs or kisses, but he really likes being gently pet!
Don’t Bother a Busy Dog!
Have you ever encountered a dog with a new toy that just wouldn’t let go of it no matter what? No problem for many adults, but that can seem really scary to a young kid, and if the dog really loves what he’s chewing on, he may become aggressive to protect it. For this reason, it is crucial that kids learn to not approach a dog who is eating, drinking or chewing on something. Especially with new dogs, you don’t know if that dog is familiar with kids, or if the dog has any possessive tendencies that could turn aggressive.
It is important to always monitor your kids interactions with dogs to ensure they are safe and being respectful to the animal. To ensure your child grows up to be confident and polite around dogs, it’s always a good idea to re-educate yourself by speaking with dog trainers, watching youtube videos of dog behaviour, or even speaking with a knowledgeable dog owner. By becoming more confident around dogs yourself, your kids will follow your lead to have a happy life with canines!