What are good ways to introduce a dog to children?

asked 2014-09-19 16:08:09 -0600

My dog hasn't spent a lot of time around kids so I'm wondering if anyone has advice on best ways to introduce a dog to kids so everyone involved has a good experience.


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I would work on this slowly. Have kids and their parents understand the project. Do you like kids? Pets can sense your fear or anxiety towards this project and try to protect you. Try getting people you trust and don't have them on a leash. Keep them roaming around with the kids. But just know they may snag on the kid if the kid plays rough.

Anibel S.'s profile image Anibel S.  ( 2015-08-31 00:03:30 -0600 ) edit

Give the dog ear plugs because he is going to need them!

Carol G.'s profile image Carol G.  ( 2015-11-25 16:03:16 -0600 ) edit

6 Answers

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answered 2014-11-11 13:28:25 -0600

1 Teach a child to always ask permission from the dog handler if the dog can be pet before even reaching for the dog. (yes they are oh so cute and huggable looking :) )

Always approach petting a dog from its side. Never head on or from behind. Never leave a dog and child unsupervised.

Let the dog smell the hand of the child, the child should be quiet and relaxed, not bouncing and screaming. The dog should also be relaxed and in an open space where the dog can leave at will (not trapped in a corner).

Using a small dog treat in an open flat hand can be a great way to introduce them (provided the dog has good treat taking manners).

If the dog is a "jumper" and can't seem to stay "off' the child, teach the child to turn its back to the dog until the dog settles down.

Don't force child and dog to spend time together if they don't want to.

Don't look a dog in the eye, it's a challenge to them.

Don't hug a dog, it's actually very uncomfortable to most of them. Don't pat the dog on the head or grab their head (you wouldn't like that as a human, dogs don't generally like it either).

Do not crowd the dog, if the dog walks away, let the dog leave. It's their way of saying I've had enough social time or I'm overwhelmed.

Teach them that a wagging tail does not mean the dog is happy, it means the dog is excited, not necessarily happy. You have to read to whole body language of the dog (is the mouth open, lips pulled back tight, eyes wide and the tail high and wagging like an exclamation mark? that's actually a warning to back off - not a smiling happy dog) - Always best to ask the handler. If there is no handler around, don't approach the dog.

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answered 2014-09-24 15:12:22 -0600

Make sure the kids are trustworthy and understand that doggie might be scared of them! Slow movements, quiet voices, gentle contact. I'm sure it will go great! Save the parties for when pup is all grown up.

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answered 2015-11-25 16:04:41 -0600

Dogs react to body language, smells and noises. I try to teach kids at the park who want to pet my dogs to be gentle, pet them in the correct direction, speak softly and to never "run" from a dog and that dogs are MAN's BEST FRIEND FOR A REASON. Most of the time it's the parents who are overreacting or freaking out. Both need to stay calm. It's only a dog who wants love. My one dog carries his ball in his mouth and walks up to children and INVITES them to play with him. He lays down on his belly and rolls the ball to them with his nose or tongue. I tell them that my dog is inviting them to play with him. I ask them, "would you like to throw the ball for him?" They usually do and they love the interaction and it's usually ME dragging my dog away from the kids so I can go home after they play. Parents are a huge part of whether their kids like dogs or not. Ask the parents questions all the time through this encounter. I encounter MORE adults from other countries that are terrified of dogs than I do children. Children are curious and don't have a natural fear of animals. They learn the fear from their parents who have their own personal reasons for why they are frightened. Get to know the parents fears & why. If you are introducing the dog to children in your own family, just do it one child at a time and make it play time. Every dog loves play and food. Have the child give them treats and play with them. Who doesn't love that kind of greeting meeting someone new. Dogs are not different. It's non-threatening and loving. Good luck my friends.

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answered 2015-08-30 21:50:25 -0600

All these answers are really grand. I also think it is important you let a child know they need to be gentle with animals. I have seen an excited child grab tails, whiskers, poke, pet too hard etc. just because they were not taught how to act before meeting the pet. Usually if a child is told how to behave and how to approach a dog they will do well, make sure you don't leave them alone with the dog though, because a frightened dog may react badly to an over excited child, or a child can get pretty rough with a dog unsupervised. I hope this can help you out some too, take care.

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answered 2014-09-24 16:39:55 -0600

My puppies and baby just love each other! Natural as can be.

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answered 2014-09-24 13:14:16 -0600

No screaming LOL

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Not a good answer.

Mike H.'s profile image Mike H.  ( 2014-09-24 15:58:10 -0600 ) edit

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