I feel that it is very important to add this piece. Dogs and children; at first glance it appears to be a ”Kodak” moment; but after you look a little closer you see it as an accident waiting to happen. If you have infants, toddlers or young children under 16, & a dog (or are around dogs) my words of advice are: SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE, SUPERVISE.
As a trainer, I see many unnecessary dog bites to children, I go on many sad appointments for “my dog bit a child”, & I hear too often the phrase, “the dog bit my child with no warning”. The latter is very rarely true. Dogs that bite, DO give warnings, Somehow, it ends up being the dogs fault, unfortunately. Too often dogs are taken to shelters or put to sleep because of these scenarios. It doesn’t have to be this way. When dogs give signs, owners either disregard them, say “my dog won’t bite” or my favorite is, “he’s only growling, he doesn’t mean any thing by it”. Being a trainer, I know the risks that surround dogs & children, & many of them CAN be avoided.
Parents first must supervise & teach their children how to behave around dogs. Running, teasing, grabbing dogs, taking their toys away, etc. are not permitted – end of story. Dogs on the other hand need to be taught how to act around children … and that responsibility falls on you – the owner. I am very surprised to see the number of parents that do not comprehend this philosophy. It is quite simple, dogs are animals, & they ALL have the potential to bite! Never, leave a child & dog alone even for a second. One of them runs a very, very high risk of getting hurt.
Train them well, socialize them, work with a trainer & involve the children in the training. If this is done you will have a great relationship between child and dog … and that’s a Kodak moment! Courteous Canines offers a great program: “Doggies & Babies”. It focuses on all types of dog/child relationships. Inquire!
RULES TO LIVE BY:
1. Let sleeping dogs lie. When dog is resting let them be!
2. When a dog is eating or has a bone leave them alone!
3. Use gentle hands with your dog. No grabbing.
4. No climbing on your dog. They are NOT a horse.
5. If dog is in a car, behind fence or tied up, stay away!
6. Dogs feel safer on the ground. Being picked up is scary.
7. Talk nicely to your dog. Sing quietly to him or her!
8. Don’t point at or look stare hard at a dog.
9. Massage your dog gently.
10. Be generous and feed your dog lots of healthy treats!