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Kids and dogs: How to foster a safe, harmonious relationship

by | May 15, 2013

Kids and dogs are a classic combination – what mom hasn’t heard a plea to bring a puppy home? Whether you adopt a pet when your kids are old enough to ask or raise a baby in the presence of a dog, there are plenty of lessons to be learned so that your kids are dog-friendly.

As a parent, one of the first things to establish, once a child is able to understand, is that they should approach dogs cautiously. Telling kids that dogs have unique personalities, as different as peoples’, can help them understand that not every dog will react in a predictable way. Encourage kids to ask a dog’s owner whether it’s OK to approach or pet the animal. Rushing straight toward a dog is any puppy-loving kid’s impulse, but shy or skittish dogs might become frightened and react badly.

Teaching a child how to pet is equally important. Since dogs are less likely to object to someone new petting their backs, tell kids to always reach there, rather than toward a dog’s face or belly. Younger kids often have the impulse to pull fur or pat a little too hard, and correcting them can help keep them safe – if a dog feels hurt or threatened by an aggressive touch, they might nip. It’s a great way to bring up the concept of empathy as well, letting kids know that dogs don’t want to be touched in a way that hurts any more than children do.

Children can benefit enormously from having dogs in their lives. The lessons of responsibility that come along with a dog might be challenging, but they can truly last a lifetime. Assign kids a task or two to pitch in with canine care. They might enjoy helping with feeding, and the regular schedule of a dog’s meal times can help keep kids on track. Preparing Sojos is a fun activity for kids – they can become doggy chefs by mixing Sojos with water, giving it a stir and letting it soak before feeding. Since Sojos is raw dog food, it’s good to supervise and teach kids about safe handling, including thorough hand-washing.

Taking the dog for walks is a great way to show kids the ropes of dog training. Together, you can work on commands like “heel,” “leave it,” “stay,” and “whoa.” Guide your child through giving the commands, and they’ll get an enormous feeling of pride when the dog obeys them.

Raising dogs and kids together offers nearly infinite rewards. Above all, it’s an opportunity for kids to develop a love of animals and share a lifelong relationship with their four-legged best friend.

 

 

 

 

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