The benefits of a family dog.
Having a dog can be a wonderful experience for both children and adults. There are many developmental benefits for children who grow up in a home with a dog. In general children with pets are more likely to be humane, compassionate and are more likely to share. A family dog provides companionship, love and responsibility. While the benefits of owning a dog are great there are some risks that parents should be aware of.
Things parents need to be aware.
We all want a happy go lucky family dog, but we need to respect that a dog has different communication skills than a human. A hug to a human means warmth & affection. A hug to a dog can be scary and perceived as a threatening gesture. We need to be advocates for both our children and our dogs. We need to teach our children how to appropriately interact with dogs and we need to properly socialize our dogs with children. A dog and a child should never be left unsupervised. Children can be unpredictable with their interactions with dogs. So it is the adults responsibility to supervise all interactions between children and dogs and to intervene when the interaction is inappropriate.
Behaviors Children should avoid when interacting with a dog.
Running or chasing the dog.
Crawling, climbing or laying on the dog.
Reaching to pet an unfamiliar dog or even a neighbor dog.
Trying to wake a sleeping dog.
Rough play or handling, pulling a dogs ears or tail ,putting their hands on a dogs lips, looking at a dogs teeth.
Crawling on all fours, barking, growling or pretending to be a dog while playing with an actual dog.
Teasing, taunting, yelling, verbally or physically reprimanding a dog.
Touching a dog when they are eating or enjoying a bone/toy.
The majority of dog bites involve young children and interaction with the family dog or a dog familiar to the family. A dog well socialized with children is less likely to bite out of fear or aggression. This is why socialization is the most important thing you can do for your puppy. Teaching your children how to properly interact with a dog should be a priority.