One of the biggest worries that dog owners have is how their canines will behave around their children. It is especially worrisome for those bringing home a newborn, as it is only natural to be concerned about their animal’s rough behavior, especially if they own a larger dog. Whether you are expecting a newborn, already have children, or even want to ensure your canine will be friendly to young kids in the neighborhood, the following tips can help you in training your dog to be more child-friendly.
Although it might seem like an obvious answer, training your dog to be more child-friendly can often be as simple as socializing them early on. Put yourself in your canine’s shoes. They often spend most of their lives indoors and then suddenly have a foreigner, your child, in their midst. It is only natural that their curiosity or defense mechanisms might get the best of them. Rather than scolding your dog 24/7, you can take matters into your own hands by trying to socialize them as early on in their life as possible. This might look like taking them on walks to the park, allowing neighborhood kids to pet them and even taking them to family events. The more exposure they get to children, the more child-friendly they will be once you start having kids of your own.
Train With Treats
As a dog owner, you most likely already know the power that treats have over their minds. When you have a treat in your hand, it is easy to get a dog to do anything that you want. Over time, this trains them to follow your command without even having to fork over a treat. Just as you train them to sit or shake a paw, you can also teach them to act friendly around children and allow kids to pet them. Again, this is something you can begin doing in the park or in your neighborhood. Most children look forward to petting dogs. The next time you are out and about, make sure you have some treats on you to feed your canine with while a child pets it. This will help your dog welcome this attention in a calmer way.
Train Your Dog Not to Jump
There is nothing more intimidating to children than having a large creature jumping up on them and knocking them over. Although it happens more often with large dogs, small dogs can still seem intimidating to children. As a pet owner, this is something you should tackle early on in your ownership, even if you don’t plan on having children of your own. It is only common courtesy to teach your canine not to jump up on others, no matter how excited they are. When you have guests over or are taking your dog on a walk, the last thing you want is to make others uncomfortable unless your dog is protecting you. But in most cases, it is not proper etiquette to allow your dog to jump on people, especially young children. When your dog does so, be ready to reprimand it and make it clear that jumping is not acceptable. This will help train your canine to be friendly, especially around small children.