Dog and children: safe acquaintance and communication
The baby in the house: introducing the dog to the baby
If you already have a dog and planning the family's replenishment, it is worth preparing for such an event in advance - the sooner you start, the better. The preparation process will primarily focus on teaching the dog all the necessary commands, especially forbidding ones. Suppose your pet has bad habits (for example, the dog gets so happy for your returning home that it knocks you off your feet every time or, say, is too jealous to give you back a sock pulled out of dirty underwear). In that case, it is necessary to change such behavior patterns before the baby enters the family. In this way, you can reduce the likelihood of conflict between the baby and the pet.
Below, we provide some recommendations for the immediate moment of acquaintance.
- Before bringing a newborn home, take a good walk with the dog. It will help reduce the pet's anxiety levels.
- You should not start the acquaintance of a dog with a baby from the threshold. Let your pet begin by saying hello to family members it knows.
- When the dog calms down, you can introduce it to the baby. If the dog is still calm, you can let it sniff the new family member.
- Reward your dog for good behavior.
- Try not to scold the dog or put new restrictions on it in the first days of the baby's stay in the house.
- To reinforce positive associations with the baby in the dog, you can feed the pet near the baby's crib or, holding the baby in your arms, give the dog its favorite treats.
- Don't change your dog's routine. The predictability of every day is the recipe for your pet's peaceful and happy state.
- Never scold the pet if it shows interest in the baby. Do not hesitate to say a kind word to the pet or treat it for good behavior.
- Never leave a baby with a dog unattended!
The dog in the house: introducing the child to the dog
If you bring a dog to your home and you have a child, try to teach the child in advance that both people and dogs should have personal space and that this space should be respected: the child should not disturb the dog when it is not in the mood for communication. For example, when it sleeps or eats. The main idea to convey to the child: the desire to communicate and play should be strictly mutual.
But how organize the first meeting? Let's find out.
- Although the appearance of a dog in the house is usually a happy moment for a child, you should make sure that the first meeting takes place without joyful cries and emotional hands-waving. Explain to your child that it may take time for a four-legged friend to get used to a new family. Please don't allow the child to pounce on the dog, grab it in its arms, kiss it and spin around the house with it from the very first minute.
- If you adopt an adult dog, it is best to arrange the first meeting with the younger family member on neutral territory. Before bringing your dog into the house, take the new friends for a long walk outdoors. When the dog begins to behave calmly around the child, you can go home.
- Let the dog look around the house and wait until it begins to take the initiative to communicate. To speed up this process, you can use snacks.
- When the dog itself begins to show interest in the child (putting its paws or laying its head to the child), you can teach the child how to stroke the dog correctly.
- Then the child can try to play with the dog. Choose soft and flat toys. Because any dog can accidentally bite or scratch the child during the game, choosing a toy on a string is best.
- To establish strong friendships, the child can try to teach the dog simple commands. For example, sit or lie down. And of course, not without treats!
- Communication between the child and the dog should be strictly under the supervision of the parents.
- In case something goes wrong, the parent should stop the communication.