Kids and pets living in harmony is a beautiful sight to see. With so many adorable videos of children and their pets floating around on social media, it’s hard not to want a furry companion for your own kids. But that kind of harmony doesn’t just happen.
So if you’re introducing a pet to your children or vice-versa, it’s important to know what to teach. Here are a few child and dog behavior training tips to make sure your kids and pets interact safely.
Teaching Your Children…
- Ask Permission Before Petting
Whether it’s at home or on the street, it’s important to teach your child to always ask permission before petting a dog or cat. If an animal doesn’t want to be pet, teach your child not to pursue them. This can make a pet feel threatened and may result in them lashing out.
- Lead By Example
The best way to teach your children how to properly interact with animals is to set a great example. By demonstrating the best behaviors around your pets and explaining why you’re doing those things can have a huge impact on how your child interacts with animals. Including your child on veterinary visits while your dog is a puppy (about once every three to four weeks) can be a great way to show your child how you interact with a nervous or excited pup.
- Personal Space Is Paramount
When your pet eats or sleeps, they should be able to do so in peace. Teaching your kids about your pet’s “alone time” can make a world of difference. When kids know to respect an animal’s space and food, their relationship can blossom.
- Know Signs of Pet Anxiety
When your child knows how to tell if an animal is nervous or stressed, you can prevent a world of frustration. For example, teach your children that when a dog is cowering or pacing that they should back off.
Teaching Your Pets…
- Mastery Over the “No” Command
This is particularly important for dogs. If your pooch has an excellent understanding of what they are not allowed to do, they’ll learn to avoid certain actions around your children. This dog behavior training is a must.
- Keep Interactions Supervised
When your pet is around your child, their interactions should be supervised. When you’re supervising, you can pinpoint problematic behaviors and then adjust your dog’s training accordingly. This can also be an excellent way to pinpoint and modify your child’s behavior around the dog.
- Positive Association with Children
Above all else, it’s important to teach your dog to associate your kids with positive experiences. Offering rewards like treats and games whenever your dog interacts with your child can make a big difference in their behavior. This can also ensure that your dog behaves appropriately when your child accidentally behaves inappropriately.
Having a peaceful relationship between your children and your dog or cat is incredibly important. If you take the time to perform these kids and pets behavior training, there’s no doubt that you’ll be on your way to creating a positive home environment for everyone in your family.