BASIC DOG TRAINING FOR KIDS:
1. Teach Proper Handling Etiquette!
Dogs do NOT communicate in the same way we do and do not enjoy being interacted with in the same way humans interact with each other. Make sure to educate your children properly on how to pet a dog.
How to Pet a Dog Tips:
- Move Slowly and Turn to the Side, and Let them come to you! (Don’t run directly at them or corner them)
- Pet Under the Chin or On The Chest (not top of the head)
- Don’t yell or scream
- Absolutely NO Hugging or Kissing
- No Matter What – ask the owner for permission
2. Understand Dog Body Language
Dogs can be very obvious when they are uncomfortable. Make yourself familiar with the subtle ways dogs express discomfort so that you can redirect your child before there is a serious problem.
Critical Signs of Stress in a Dog:
- Stiff Body (dogs that are happy are wiggly)
- Wide eyes
- Turning away
- Licking Lips or Nose (This is VERY common, and often missed)
3. Understand Canine Phobias and Give your Dog Back Up
Unless they have been directly socialized to this age group, it is common for dogs to be afraid of children between the ages of 1 and 5.
Why Your Dog May Be Afraid of Children:
- Children move unpredictably
- Children do not recognize or respect the dog’s distancing signals (Sometimes the parent doesn’t either! It’s important to be educated!)
- Children generally attempt to interact with dogs in the EXACT way that is considered rude in canine language (frontal approach, over the top, direct eye contact.)
- Children make strange, loud, sudden noises
Therefore, all child/dog interactions should be strictly supervised.
How To Back Your Dog Up :
- Enforcing soft petting (no-tolerance policy for rough petting. If child is not old enough to learn this, they are not old enough to interact with a dog.)
- Redirecting child IMMEDIATELY if dog shows even minor sign of discomfort.
- Providing dog with a safe space to go to get away from the child when they need a break.
4. Teach Assertiveness and Give your CHILD Back Up!
Sometimes it is the DOG that is taking advantage of the CHILD. This can be prevented with proper dog training for kids.
Dog Training for Kids:
- Have your child participate in training at home. This will allow your dog to see them as another parent, not another playmate/plaything.
- Enforce boundaries with the pup. (Ex: If they are allowed to jump on you, they will think they can jump on everyone.)
- Have a no-tolerance policy for anything that scares the child (like jumping, nipping, chasing). 30 second Time-Outs work wonders here!
- Provide dog with plenty of stimulation and exercise outside the home. The child should not be dogs primary energy outlet.
Interested in taking a class specifically for training proper interactions between your children and dogs? Check out our Pack Basics Junior class.