Kids and dogs: Do you have a survival plan to help you deal with this daily chaos?
You probably could start your very own “reality television series” based on how chaotic your life is with the kids and dog.
Before you actually go out of your mind, let’s take a step back together and take a look at what’s really creating the chaos?
Let’s have a look at you first. That’s right; it’s not always your kids fault so keep an open mind.
Some Chaos is Created by Parents
If you get angry and punish your child quite often and in front of your dog, your dog may start getting edgy when the youngster is around him. He may growl to keep your child away.
Conversely, if you punish your dog frequently in front of your child, your child may take on the role of the punisher and get into trouble when the dog defends himself. What’s the old saying, “Punish in private, praise in public?” Think about that when correcting either your child or your dog.
How Kids can Create Chaos
Most young kids do not understand how their interaction with their dog creates dog problems.
You may understand that your dog is reacting to the child, but your child may think it’s just harmless fun.
Let’s take a look at just some of the things kids do to create bad dog behavior.
Child’s Behavior: Pulling the dog’s ears, tail, hair (usually kids under 4)
Dog’s Response: Growling, snapping, biting (especially in excitable dogs.)
Child’s Behavior: Hitting the dog with hands or objects
Dog’s Response: Growling, biting, submissiveness in puppies
Child’s Behavior: Screaming or scolding the dog
Dog’s Response: Growling, biting (especially in leader type dogs)
Child’s Behavior: Unruliness around the house
Dog’s Response: Unruliness around the house
Child’s Behavior: Inter-child fighting
Dog’s Response: Aggressiveness, biting
Chaos to Calm
It’s critical to educate kids on how to properly play with your dog. Involve age-appropriate kids in supervised training of your dog. Also teach good pet responsibility. In addition to obedience training, involve your kids in other dog-related duties like feeding and freshening up the water bowl.
Teach kids appropriate ways to play with the family dog. Dog games like fetch, Hide and seek are good games for kids and dogs but only if supervised. Purchase puzzles for your dog and have the kids load the puzzle up with food treats, have the dog sit and then let the dog work the puzzle.
Signs to Watch for in Your Dog
What you want to see in your dog is a loose and relaxed body. That is indicated by a wiggly and curved dog body.
Be on the lookout for a stiff body or frozen stares possibly indicating a snap or bite. Growling is an obvious warning sign your dog may be giving your child to back off.
Other signs of stress in your dog can be lip-licking, yawning and turning away (avoidance) from your child.
Remember, kids love puppies and dogs almost to a fault but create an energy that some dogs find it hard to tolerate all the time. It’s not a bad thing to give your dog some down time in his crate where he can escape the chaos of the household.
Just remember, how much kids and dogs will get along, will depend on how much education, exercise and structure is provided for both. Be that strong role model both so desperately need.
We’re always learning and there’s a bunch of you out there we are grateful to be able to serve and learn from. I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this. Comment below, I’m here to help.
Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and makes it work in your home with your family and dog. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.