Dogs are man’s best friend and great family pets, however, dogs come in many different sizes. Regular readers of my blog might already know that I have two dogs, and an old cat, and they’ve grown up alongside my children.
Having a large dog around children is understandably a little concerning for parents. I love my dogs but even I was a little worried at first about how things would go. Now dogs are just like people, they all have their own character; some are big gentle giants while some are much more grouchy and unpredictable.
Even if you think your dog would never hurt anyone you have to be careful and always keep an eye on them around your children. Remember it’s not just about teaching your dog to be around your children you’ve got to make sure your children are respectful of your dog as well.
Dogs and children can get along great but you need to be patient and put the work into training them both. Living with dogs can teach children a lot about responsibility and take it from me seeing your children love and care for an animal is an amazing feeling.
I’ve seen my children grow up alongside my dogs so have plenty of tips to help you mix your dog with your children. With my advice, your children and dogs will always be safe and happy around each other.
What to Teach Children
Teaching children how to behave around your dog is very important, large dogs may make young children very excitable so it’s important to be firm about how they need to act. You want them to enjoy spending time with your dog but you also need to be sure that they’ll both be safe. So let’s look at some of the things you should teach your children.
- Teach your children what signs to watch out for if your dog is getting aggressive, like growling or barking
- To avoid stroking the dogs face, especially covering its eyes
- Make sure they know to never pull the dogs tail or ears
- Not to wake up your dog if it is sleeping, this could startle it
- avoid playing or fidgeting with the dog’s tags, collar or toys as this could cause it to act aggressively
- Young children especially should only approach your dog if you are around to supervise, until they are old enough
Other General Tips
Teaching your children how to act and behave around your dog is important but that’s not the only thing you should do. You should also train your dog as well, some dogs may get along great with children while others will be warier, so be patient and be responsible. I’ve outlined some other tips below that I picked up in my many years as a mum and a dog owner.
- Introduce your dog and children together in supervised sessions, and make sure you watch your dogs body language closely
- Talk to your dog and let them know who your children are and be kind but firm so your dog knows its boundaries
- Pay attention to your dog, they can grow jealous easily
- Never leave your child and dog alone together until they are old enough
- Don’t force your dog to be with your children, remember it may take some time for them to get used to new faces
- Be ready to intervene if things do not look like they are going well
Having any dog, especially larger breeds, with children can be challenging at first but the benefits are worth it! Dogs teach children so much and I’ am always proud to see my children playing and looking after my dogs, they’re all part of my family and while it might take some hard work and time it’s all worth it in the end.