Dog owners know that a dog quickly becomes an integral part of your family unit. When you’re adding kids into the mix, it can be challenging to make sure your human babies and your fur babies are able to coexist safely in the home. Dogs are adaptive creatures and with the right training and circumstances, they can adjust to new family members, even if those family members are loud and full of energy. Let’s discuss some of the best ways you can prepare your dog to play nice with your children.
Expose Your Dog to Kids
If your dog has never been around kids, being around a crazy toddler would be quite a shock. Start exposing your dog to kids a little bit at a time so they know what to expect and understand that they can’t be aggressive towards children. Inviting friends over with kids or take your dog for a walk to the park where kids play to get a feel for how the dog initially reacts to children.
Teaching your dog basic commands before kids are apart of the picture will make it much easier to control them when kids are around. Sit, stay, let go, and lay are some of the most common verbal commands for your dog to learn. Once your dog has mastered these commands, you’ll be able to move on to more child-focused commands such as moving out of the way when a baby is trying to walk or crawl past them. Using verbal commands not only helps control your dog, but it also reminds them that you’re the one in charge, not them.
Keep a Schedule
Dogs are truly creatures of habit and they thrive on routine. Set a good schedule for when your dog eats, walks, and plays. When a new child comes into the home, maintain that same schedule. This will give your dog a sense of normalcy during a stressful time and keep them active to reduce excess energy around the kids. If you don’t have time to take your dog on walks or go to the dog park with a new kid, hiring a dog walker is well worth the cost to keep your pup happy and your child safe!
Teach Your Child How to Play Nice with Dogs
If you expect your dog to be nice to children, children also need to be nice to your dog. Teach your kids to respect the dog’s space and interact with them in a gentle way. Not touching the dog while it eats, not hitting or kicking the dog, and letting the dog have its own space to sleep and play are all important boundaries to teach your child.
Contact Canine College
If you’re still struggling or afraid to introduce children to your dog, hiring a professional trainer will make the whole process more manageable. An expert trainer can evaluate your dog’s current behavior and look for ways to improve it while giving you the knowledge to be assertive and remain in control of your dog even when children are around. We offer group classes and private one-on-one training. Contact Canine College today to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable dog trainers in Holbrook MA, and determine which program is best for your dog!