Whenever we are talking about kids and dogs safety, I want to emphasize what that really means is ADULTS & KIDS & DOGS safety.
You should NEVER have babies and toddlers around dogs without adult supervision! All too often we allow our kids to wobble, toddle, reach out for and grab, hug, squeeze, kiss a puppy or dog.
Now here’s something to consider, would you allow that same behavior or laissez-faire attitude if it were a bear?
Yes, you heard me right, would you allow your child to casually be around…a BEAR? Of course you wouldn’t! Any sane person would behave radically thoughtful and cautious in the presence of a bear, regardless of how cute and furry bears are. Now that I’ve got your attention, I want to remind you that dogs are part of the canine species.They are an apex predator. They have teeth. They are smart. They are opportunistic. This educational reality is necessary for children to understand that dogs are not stuffed animals, and cannot and should not be treated as such. And adults, this educational reality is necessary for you to step up the level of supervision that should be present when children are around dogs.
I truly cannot state this enough, you MUST supervise Children and Dogs for safety.
And when you cannot supervise kids and dogs, your dog needs to be in his safe, confined crate or ex pen. If you have not yet taught your dog how to crate train, learn more from this blog so you can get started.
I train humans of all ages how to MEET and GREET dogs correctly, I’ve even made a training video about it. I go to schools and talk to children about dogs and help them understand more about this species– this living, breathing canine being–better.
Here are my TOP TIPS to help children learn how to greet a dog safely:
- Teach children to ask their parent or adult in charge if they can pet a dog
- Next, the child and adult in charge can ask the dog’s human if they can pet the dog
- Finally, ask the dog if they would like to be pet. Have your child place their hand down low in a palm-up position (kids love doing “Give me high five! Give me a LOW FIVE” We want the LOW FIVE hand position)
- Allow the dog to come to the child, not the child reaching out to the dog. If the dog does come and sniff, great, give a gentle scratch under the chin. If not, don’t take it personal, the dog has just said, “no thank you, I don’t want to say Hi right now.”
- Teach a child a one-handed touch, meaning only ONE hand can touch a dog at any time.
Here’s a GREAT little video about this subject from trainers McCann Dogs in Canada.
Final thoughts, whenever you are around dogs and kids and wondering what behaviors are ok and level of supervision would be necessary, ask yourself, “Would this be OK if it were a BEAR?”
We have a special workshop coming up at the end of this month with a very special offer–all about Kid & Dog Safety…click HERE if interested