Tips for Child and Dog Safety
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Whether or not you have (or intend to have) children, chances are your dog will encounter a child eventually.
A child can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.” – Robert Benchley
Keeping dogs and kids safe around one another is important, so let’s discuss a few tips for doing so here.
Teach Good Manners
Try to teach both your child – and your dog – good manners around one another.
First and foremost, every dog (and child, amirite?) should have obedience training to learn commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “leave it,” and “drop it.”
A more advanced command not commonly taught in obedience class but indispensible nonetheless is “place,” where a dog stays in one area of the house (such as a dog bed) until told otherwise.
I remember as a young Dog-Mum, having my floofy charges ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ for their dinner was both entertaining and with good purpose. The longer I made them wait for their meal, the more it seemed they loved me (food-agenda aside).
Lol, their little faces- eyes focussed on mine, bodies shaking with expectation. Apart from the drool on the floor, this was the ultimate test and one that I do not regret making a twice-daily occurence.
Supervise Meal Time
One of the leading causes of dog bites is a child interrupting a dog when it is eating a treat or meal.
Keeping a child’s hands and fingers away from the food bowl at all times, no matter how well-behaved your dog is an imperative.
After all, if someone stuck his or her fingers onto your post-work masterpiece, you’d growl and snap too, right?
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
A slepping dog may resemble a big, fluffy, immobile teddy bear, but it definitely should not be treated as such.
Never allow a child to climb on, or otherwise pester a dog that is napping.
Better yet, provide your dog with a covered nap area, such as a crate or other nook to fulfil her den instincts.
Respect Play Time
One concept that can be difficult for a child to grasp is that when a dog is done playing, it actually, no longer wants to play.
While a dog may be joyfully playing tug of war one minute, the next minute it may decide that it’s time to bark at the mailman or, stare forlornly at a taunting possum instead.
Children can become injured if they attempt to continue the play session by rough-housing with the dog, or shoving a toy in its face.
Have an idea of what your dog is saying by just observing the way she moves.
If your pup is engaging in the “play bow” (i.e., front half of the body on the floor with butt high in the air like a ‘downward dog’), they are anxious to play.
On the other hand, if your dog has “whale eyes” (you can see the whites around the eyes), is turning her head away from the child, has a tucked tail or pinned ears, or is growling and baring teeth, the dog is unhappy and should be removed from the situation.
Another must, is teaching every child how to properly pet a dog.
Children should never place fingers or hands near the dog’s face, and should only be permitted to touch the dog’s back, unless instructed otherwise.
The unpredictable movements and sounds that children make can make a dog anxious, particularly if the child is touching a vulnerable area, such as the head.
Let Photo Opportunities be Organic
Trying to force a dog and child into an unnatural position may be stressful for all parties involved, leading to tension and potentially an unhappy, and unpredictable dog.
Be a Tree
If a child ever finds him or herself in a situation with a dangerous dog, the solution is to be a tree.
This safety technique requires the child to stand perfectly still with arms at his or her side and head down.
The tree stance is non-threatening to a dog and makes the child seem uninteresting.
Never run from a dog or try to intimidate it by making yourself appear bigger than you are.
Overall, there is nothing more precious than the bond formed between child and canine.
However, even the friendliest of dogs can have their buttons pushed in the right situation. Always be vigilant of any child near your pet, and beware that accidents can happen in a split second.
Pup-Update – 2 Years
Ever wanted a Partner-in-Crime? Whenever we’re out-and-about, it feels like Jerry and I are on a mission. If Jerry was human, he’d probably be what I’d describe as a ‘loose’ influence. Nothing my mother would classify as serious, rather someone who just might lead you astray (alright, so definitely lead you astray). When we’re out on adventures anything can happen. Nose down and tail up, Jerry has a one track mind. With his retriever instincts honed, we’re everywhere but nowhere all at once. Is it pre-meditated? Sure feels that way sometimes… Straight to our favourite Cafe, flat-white and baklava for me, puppacino & half my baklava for Jerry (kidding). He’s quite the local charmer. From a tiny puppy he wormed his way into star status with those dreamy cocker-dog-eyes and… ‘oh, BTW, did I tell you they never feed me!’ Yes, I love it… he’s my best friend. We should all learn to live like Jerry… spontaneous… in the moment. Dogs bring such happiness to our lives. Jerry to mine xx
Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan
Having delved into keeping our children and dogs safe together, we’ll touch on exercising your pet next.
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Photo Credits: Bronte @bronte_the_rescue_pup, Kobe, Mimi, Rascals @my_3_poodle_rascals, Ollie & Sandy, Frank @paddington_frank, Coco @coco_the_companion, Mimi, Jerry @jerrythecockerspan, Marley