More often than not, we find that parents just aren't raising their pups right. The human kind, of course.
Getting a puppy for your child isn't as simple as picking one out and bringing it home. Good family dogs aren't made from hasty decisions and "letting nature take its course."
If you are considering adding a furry friend to your already established family, make sure you read this first. It just might save your child's life!
Respect is something every living and breathing creature on this planet deserves. Whether it's respecting someone's opinion, personal space, or wishes, we must take their feelings into consideration before our own.
The respect between a child and a dog means the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship. Children, who do not respect dogs, will grow up with an unsafe view of how dogs should be treated, often resulting in dangerous situations. Most recorded attacks of dogs on young children were provoked by the child's lack of respect for the dog.
If you want to teach a child how to respect animals, treat the animals as if they are other human beings. The same rules will apply to a dog and his rights to feel comfortable and safe in his own environment.
Dogs have a bubble, just like humans. Unfortunately, most children are not taught to respect the bubble, which is why we see so many cases of children being attacked by family dogs.
No matter how long you have known a dog for, or how comfortable he is with you, dogs MUST have their own personal space. Even the happiest dogs on the planet will have bad days, and you do not want your child hanging off his face when that happens.
If we teach children to give dogs personal space, as they would another human being, there would be far less incidents of family dogs lashing out.
Explain to your kids how to identify warning signs of when a dog feels uncomfortable.
Kids are notorious for "grabby hands," a dog's worst nightmare. Dogs have sensitive skin and fur, as well as teeny, fragile parts that hurt when they're tugged on. Ears, tails, and lips should be "no touchy" zones, to avoid negative reactions.
Teaching your child how to be gentle with dogs and other animals will be a solid foundation for their development into adulthood. Being kind and caring towards animals is a stepping stone for being kind towards humans.
If you are thinking about raising your child alongside a pup, wait until either the child or the dog is at a mature enough age to understand how to be gentle.
Using the palm of your hand, as opposed to grabbing with fingers, is the best way to pet a dog.
We cannot stress enough the importance of this one!
When a child grows up with a dog at home, they immediately believe that all dogs will be like theirs. This is a false and incredibly dangerous assumption.
If your child does not understand that not all dogs are comfortable with them, they WILL attempt to touch strange dogs without permission. Teaching your child the difference between their dog and a strange dog is imperative to everyone's safety.
Many dogs aren't comfortable around children, as they view them as tiny drunk creatures, and may lash out if they feel threatened. With a bite force of 150-200 pounds per square inch, dogs can do an outrageous amount of harm to a child with minimal effort.
To avoid endangering your child or a dog, please teach them that "not all dogs want to be your friend."
This one goes for parents, children, and other dog owners.
Similar to our previous point, most dogs are not comfortable around children. In fact, most dogs aren't comfortable being approached by strangers in general. This means parents, children, and others should ask permission from the owner of the dog, and the dog himself before trying to make physical contact.
Teach children proper dog etiquette, like asking the owner for permission, staying at a safe distance, and allowing the dog to come to them first. If the dog wants to be friends, then they will approach.
Dog parents know their dog better than anyone else. Regardless of how comfortable your child is with dogs, if the owner says not to approach their dog, please don't.
Also, do not let your child run towards a dog for any reason. This is usually viewed as a threat, and may cause the dog to become defensive. Be calm and be patient.
Dogs are a HUGE commitment, time, life, and money-wise. This is something all children should be made aware of even before the dog comes home.
Dogs need to be fed, watered, trained, cleaned up after, and exercised every single day. To some people, this is a commitment they simply cannot make. There are millions of dogs entered into the shelter system each year, due to broken promises, and lack of commitment. The sad reality is that most of them are eventually euthanized to make room for more abandoned pups.
Before you adopt a dog, make sure you explain to your children that they will have to help care for the animal. Making chore lists and daily tasks for your child will help them grow accustomed to caring for an animal. Some families are more comfortable starting with a "low maintenance" animal, such as a fish or a rodent, to prepare their child for eventually adopting a dog.
Teaching your child to care for an animal helps build valuable life skills, that they will use as they grow into adults and start their own families. If a person is capable of raising a dog, they are generally more prepared for raising another human.
Dogs, like all other living creatures on the planet, need love. Even in the wild, dogs receive love from their companions and pack-mates. It is simply something programmed into all of us.
Teaching your child how to love and care for an animal will help them develop stronger relationships. Loving your dog throughout his life will teach you and your children positive connections with nature, animals, and humans on a deeper level than friendship.
True love is a balance of respect, compassion, and understanding for another being's wants and needs. This is something everyone who has ever had a dog can relate to.
Loving your dog also means knowing when it's time to say goodbye. Though this is the hardest part of having a dog in your life, children need to be aware that dogs do not live forever.
Teach your children to truly cherish the moments they have with their dog, and how to learn from all the lessons they share with us throughout their lifetime.