~ Charlie’s mother
The area of dog training that I personally believe is most critical is doing all I can to help children and dogs have the most mutually beneficial relationships possible. I want children to grow up enjoying dogs as much as most adults do. Children and dogs can forge remarkably beneficial relationships that can have positive effects for a lifetime. However, there can be many challenges in this pursuit, at every age and stage of your dog’s and child’s development. Some parents do a fine job, managing quite well, and others need some help in areas that need some smoothing out. There are many different aspects to raising children with dogs. It’s important to mention that whenever a parent suspects there might be a more serious problem with their dog’s behavior toward their children, my advice is NEVER disregard your gut feelings, and do not hesitate in obtaining a behavioral assessment. These issues can often be resolved! Here are my top priorities with respect to children and dogs:
- Begin training or changing your dog’s lifestyle before the new baby arrives.
- Implement simple yet important temperament training into several key areas to avoid preventable mishaps.
- Create positive associations between children and dogs. No punishment!
- Find appropriate and safe play activities for children to do with their dogs
- Train dogs through fun child-dog games.
- Elevate your children’s status with your puppy/dog. Dogs have little regard for younger (human) puppies!
- Find appropriate outlets for your puppy’s or dog’s energy to keep children from becoming “bowling pins!”
- Become an advocate for both children and your dog by fostering empathy and mutual respect
Most of us could not imagine growing up without the experience of having a dog in our lives. Let’s do all we can to make that deeply rewarding experience as good as we can for as many children as possible. Snoopy would approve!