Whether you are planning to bring a baby into your house soon, already have a child running around or just want to make sure your dog is comfortable around children, we have some great tips for you!
How to prepare your dog to meet a child
Massaging paws, between fingers and toes
Young children around the house might grab or step on their paws. When your dog is in a relaxed position, massage their paws and the area between their toes. Reward them with treats for their good behavior and for letting you do massage their paws without being aggressive. This is one way for your dog to get used to being a little uncomfortable and not snapping at the kids.
Touching and gently pulling on its ears (same goes for the tail)
Toddlers often try to gain the attention of a dog by pulling on its ears. If the dog is not used to this, he or she may react aggressively. This can cause your child to be scared of dogs. Prepare the dog for receiving this uncomfortable attention by gently grabbing its ears and massaging them. By coaching them to be a little uncomfortable, they won’t be so prone to react negatively. Offer treats as a reward for your dog’s good behavior.
Include your dog
Having a new baby or a child around the house can cause your dog to be stressed. He may act out and misbehave. Try to be patient and correct misbehavior in a positive manner. Make sure that you keep involving and including your dog in walks, play times, while you are feeding your baby or when you are changing his or her diaper. For example, have the dog come into the nursery while you are changing the baby’s diaper, talk to them both so they both feel included. When you are playing with your baby, have the dog around, too. Give them treats for good behavior, pet them kindly, throw the ball around… these are examples of including your dog. This sort of “together time” will allow the dog and child to become friends.
Relaxed and fun meetings
Make sure the time they meet is fun and relaxed for everyone. Have lots of treats and reward your dog for behaving well. If your child is old enough to give the dog a treat, let the dog sniff their hands first and then hand a treat over. Teach your children to be gentle while petting the dog and to avoid making unexpected, sudden movements.
Even though the above techniques are very helpful for creating a safe environment, never leave your child and the dog unsupervised. This will ensure that everyone involved is safe, happy and relaxed.
Author: MyRedTravelShoe, hungarian blogger living in the US