Who doesn’t dream it? A dog and a baby together in your family. The baby shares all his privacy with the dog and they end up hanging out together. The two have a lifelong friendship. Who doesn’t find these photos of an intelligent dog sleeping on a baby’s bed that is irresistibly beautiful? This ideal image is often the goal of most parents. But the child-dog relationship has become a bit more complicated than that. In my practice of canine behavioral therapy, I have received countless files on my desk from dogs who have apparently bitten a child ‘out of the blue’ or from parents who have to constantly say ‘no’ because the child runs after the dog all day. Evidence that a child-dog relationship does not always go smoothly. So how do you make sure the baby-dog relationship is going smoothly? These 8 golden rules are essential.
Rule 1: Learn Your Dog’s Body Language “I Have Enough”
A bite rarely occurs ‘unexpectedly’. Often the dog has already given a lot of wise signals that he no longer likes it. Make sure that not only you, but your child also knows these signals.
Rule 2: To keep means to keep, to obtain art
Teach puppies and dogs never to take anything from each other, even if it is your child’s favorite toy in the dog’s mouth. Not only does this require a healthy dose of compulsory training with the dog (i.e. learning a “loose” non-frontal command), but it also requires a healthy dose of repetition with children: “You should never take anything out of a dog’s mouth if he steals something.” , You ask mom or dad to return it. “
Rule # 3: Safe Harbor
Agree with your kids where they must always leave the dog alone (for example, its crate, basket). A Advice: Ask them to make their own cardboard markings with the inscription “No Entry” and mark the no-entry zone in a visual way like a red line on the ground around the shelter.
Rule # 4: Who is the boss?
Keep in mind that children will never rule a dog. This is the role of mother and father. If a child forces a dog to do something, immediately stop interacting (such as wearing clothing).
Rule n ° 5: Free choice
Give the dog a chance to move easily if it has enough. This means that the baby dog should not be cornered, it should be chased under the table and of course it should not be lifted. Free choice means never forcing the dog to spend more time with the child (no, not even for a nice photo). Teach kids to ask the dog first if he wants.
To do this, use a convenient memonic device.
- Clap your feet or hands to call the dog to you. Doesn’t he come to you? So leave him alone.
- Pet the dog for 3 seconds
- Stop after 3 seconds and observe the dog’s behavior. The dog is leaving? So he doesn’t want to be a pet. Is he looking at you, approaching you or pushing with his buttocks or paws? So he wants more!
Rule 6: Rest
When the dog is at home, there is no wild behavior or screaming. Children now live together with an animal and this requires some basic rules and general knowledge. It is forbidden to drive an animal mad. The same rule applies to dogs: there is no wild behavior around children, so do not jump or run after them. There are many cool games for kids and dogs. Think about search or retrieval games in particular.
Rule # 7: Supervision is necessary but not sufficient
Never leave a child alone with their dog if you do not believe in how to deal with a child or a dog. Suppose the dog steals something from the baby. How do you think your child will react? Will he scream? Will he scold the dog? Or will he stay calm and come to get you? Suppose the child scares the dog. Will he escape, or will he face her? We cannot impose a specific age. A 14-year-old sometimes can’t be alone with a dog, while some 9-year-old can handle it perfectly. It all depends on the character of the child and the dog. বাদThanks Cindy van Dorst from Dierbare Ontmoetingen for formulating this important concept.
Always supervised, without exception! Not even “for a while”.
If you suspect that the baby and / or dog may not (yet) respond adequately during difficult times, you should monitor them. There is no hope. Any time. Are you going to the toilet Then take the dog to the hallway and close the door to the living room (where the baby is).
Monitoring turned on
Did you know that most dog bites occur when the parents are within two meters of the dog? Being in the same room does not mean that everything is going well. Monitoring is not about watching the dog all at once from your phone. This means observing so closely that you move forward in difficult situations. If you don’t have the time or energy for it (and to be honest, who has this 24/7?), Then baby and dog should only be physically separated (think of a baby gate).
Rule 8: Intervene effectively!
Parents often contact us because they do not know:
- When they should intervene
- How they should intervene
When to intervene:
- As soon as you see any sign of excitement or stress in your dog
- When you notice avoidance behavior in your dog (for example, look away when the dog tries to run away or the child wants to communicate)
- When you see a difficult situation coming. This situation, then, what?
- Increases tension.
There is an object they both want to occupy
A child should not be kept away from a dog that eats or sleeps briefly: something that can lead to seizures, pain, irritation or fear aggression.
How to intervene:
Just in time! Not later. Respectfully: Ask the child why he did it (without judging)
Involve the child if possible: Ask the child to help avoid these situations in the future. Ask the child for an idea about this.
Let the child do a craft to remind them of the agreement you just made (for example, the prohibition sign around the basket)
Give the baby an alternative: If the baby dies to feed the dog, let him do it in pieces, in a search game (for example, the dog throws the pieces in the garden while the dog is sitting).
If the child likes to play wild with the dog, buy a very large / long rope with which he can safely let off steam.
If the child dies while brushing his dog, ask him to show you how to do it with a stuffed dog while you are imitating him with the real dog. Etc. Think of a safe alternative for any unwanted interaction between your child and your dog. The examples I gave above are not safe for all baby-dog pairs. Think about something that matches your dog and your child.