Welcoming a new dog into your family can be a fun and exciting experience, especially for your little ones. Time and time again reports have shown the many positive benefits of dog ownership throughout childhood, and having a pet in your home guarantees your child will be healthier, happier, and gain a friend for life! Before you make the big leap into dog ownership, it’s important to make sure that your child knows the proper ways to interact with dogs, so that they are both safe and establish a good relationship early on.
Many of the rules that you should teach your children are common-sense ways of interacting with an animal. Just think to yourself: would I want another human to act this way towards me? If the answer to this question is “no,” then your best bet is to not do this to your dog, especially if they are puppies and just learning how to behave their new home. Teaching your children how to behave with dogs will also help your pup behave with humans, and they will learn early on that their positive behaviors will be rewarded and any aggression will be avoided in the long-run, which will make your experience with your new puppy a happy, joyful, and loving one!
Here are some of the Dos and Don’ts of interacting with your new furry friends that you can teach your children:
DO NOT snatch a dog’s toys from their mouth or suddenly taking toys away from them. Sometimes, dogs can be very protective of their belongings, and can become aggressive if you grab their possessions from them when they least expect it. Also, while we do recommend that you touch your puppy and their dog dish while eating to prevent them from being food aggressive, DO NOT let your child do this. Instead, DO supervise your children while they are near their dog’s food, especially if you would like to give them the added responsibility of feeding their new pet. Also, make sure they play appropriate games with their dog, such as fetch and hide-and-seek, and encourage them to teach their dog fun tricks such as “roll over” and “shake.”
DO NOT grab your dog’s ears, tail, or limbs; DO NOT ride or sit on your dog; DO NOT step on or trample your dog; and DO NOT hug a dog, especially if they are new or unfamiliar. This last “don’t” may come as a surprise, but it is very important to keep in mind – many dogs do not like to be hugged or squeezed, and it may even be a little scary for them to be grabbed by a human that is a lot bigger than them. Your dog will warm up to you over time, and will have plenty of love and affection to share, but it’s best to hold off on some affectionate behaviors until they get to know you better. Instead, DO encourage your child to be gentle with their pups, petting them in less threatening areas such as their shoulder, neck, and chest. Also, make sure to train your dog to associate your child with positive experiences, so that way your dog will be more comfortable around your child and will tolerate them in case they accidentally interact with them in a rough way.
DO NOT put your face close to a dog’s face, and avoid deliberately bothering them while they are sleeping or resting. Use common sense when approaching your dog: you would not appreciate it if someone disturbed you while you were sleeping, and would feel threatened if someone put their face right up to yours, even if they had positive intentions. DO always make sure to approach your dog calmly and indirectly if they are new, making little eye contact and getting closer to them from the side and not their front. And, be sure to follow this common saying: “let sleeping dogs lie.”
DO NOT shout and talk to your dog in a frantic, harsh, or aggressive tone. There is a definite difference between speaking firmly to you dog and screaming at them. For instance, when you are training your puppy and want them to learn that negative behaviors such as nipping and mouthing, a simple yet loud “ouch” or “no” will help them learn to not act out. However, shouting repeatedly at a dog will cause them to be frightened, tense up, and even act even more aggressively in the future. DO make it your priority to explain to your children that they should be using their “inside voices” when playing with their puppy, and have calm, gentle, and quiet interactions with them.
It’s always important to make sure that your child is familiar with their dog’s body language in order to ensure that they know when and how to interact with them, and which behaviors they should avoid in order to prevent accidents in the future. Also, always supervise your children with dogs, just in case things go out of hand.
As long as your children follow these steps, they will have a safe start to a wonderful life with their furry friends!
Remember, at Royal Flush Havanese we do endless amounts of research on not only what’s best for your puppy but what’s best for you! We are ALWAYS here to help you! Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about your Havanese puppy’s behavior!
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