Have you ever been walking your dog when an enthusiastic child approaches? It can be a tense situation for you and your dog if a child approaches and is not practising the safe way of speaking. Or maybe you have children in your home who are too hard on your dog. It is true that children and dogs sometimes constitute a volatile combination. To keep both your dogs and children safe, it is important that your child knows how to interact with dogs they encounter in homes or on the streets.
Here are just a few things to teach your child or children visiting your house when it comes to making friends with the dog in your life.
Always ask first
One of the best ways to ensure that a child is safe around a dog is to train your child to always ask the owner before approaching the dog. This tactic can come in handy in particular if your child comes across an approaching dog while walking. Some kids just love dogs and want to move right up to pet the dog immediately. It is not always a safe choice. Instead, teach your child to ask the owner to “may I pet your dog?” This gives the owner a chance to see your child approaching (sometimes they are lost in a podcast or distracted) and decide if it is appropriate. The owner can also give the child a specific direction or command the dog to be first seated.
Slow and steady
Kinder may sometimes be a bit unpredictable. Quick movements, while natural to a child, can be enticing to dogs of any age. Teach your child to slowly approach the dog to make contact with it.
Gentle and soft
Remind your child to gently pet the dog on the back or side, away from the face or ears, especially if the dog is not yours.
Praise and repeat
After a successful interaction, praise your child for a well-done job and thank the dog owner for sharing with you their best friend. If you do not have a dog at home, this type of positive repeat can be beneficial for your child.