Having a dog in the family can be a great way to bring smiles and laughs to you and your kids. Man’s best friend and kids love to be around each other, which is a great way to help with child development. Depending on your situation and what kind of dog you have, certain precautions must be taken to prevent any accidents or improper behavior. They may be cute, but they are still animals in need of quality training and care. Here are some important details you’ll want to keep in mind as a dog owner.
Yard safety is important both for your dogs and your kids. You don’t want either of them wandering off when you’re not looking, especially when you have younger children. If you’re a pool owner, one habit you should develop is keeping the pool cover on whenever you’re not swimming. This is not only general best practice, but if you have a bigger dog, you don’t want him to accidentally push or bump someone into the pool. Also, every year around 10,000 dogs drown in backyard pools. Keeping the pool cover on will help you protect both your children and your pets.
If you’ve spent any time around kids and dogs, you’ve probably seen the dog chase the child or vice versa. Not having a fenced yard could become an issue if you’re not keeping an eye on them at all times. To keep your mind at ease, be sure to install a sturdy fence so you don’t have to worry about them running off. Having a fence is also useful for keeping out other four-legged predators that could harm your dog and child. Installing a fence may not be cheap depending on your area, but the peace of mind is well worth the cost. If you don’t think you can afford a big spend like that, you could consider covering part of the cost with a smaller personal loan. Look into current rates and make sure your credit score is up to par. Having a great credit score will help you qualify for loans with lower interest rates, which will allow you to pay less overall.
Proper training makes a huge difference in the behavior of your dog and how it interacts with children. One of the most common issues with dogs, particularly bigger dogs, is jumping. This may not seem like a big deal, but a big dog jumping and landing on a small child could do a lot of harm. It’s important to start training at a young age and tell them no whenever they try to jump up at someone. Most of the time they’re just being playful, but you want them to get out of that habit so any child can feel safe around your dog.
Dog bites are probably the most feared part of owning a dog. Everyone wants to keep their own kids safe, but there’s also the issue of potential harm to someone else’s child. The best time to train them for this is as a young pup, especially while they’re teething. Encourage them to play with and bite their toys, and be strict with them whenever they try to nip at a person or their clothes. If you’re playing with them when they bite at you, stop playing with them for a few moments so they know they did something wrong.
In certain situations, you may need to utilize a dog muzzle. Sometimes using one is seen as cruel, but they are necessary in cases of injury, for example. If the dog is injured, they are more likely to lash out – even at their owners. Keep in mind that muzzles should only be used to prevent biting, and should not be used regularly or for long periods of time. For most dogs, training them at a young age is enough to prevent bites from happening.
Certain foods are harmful to pets. We’ve all seen toddlers and babies throw their food off the table. Some of these foods can make your dog very sick or be fatal, so it’s important to be aware of this. Consider putting your dog in another room while the kids are eating, or generally be aware of some of the most common harmful foods. The same idea applies to the dishwasher. A lot of dog owners let their dogs lick at the plates, but it’s probably in the dog’s best interest to teach them to avoid that. Also, be careful of what foods and items like knives are reachable on the counter. If you have a small dog this is not an issue, but bigger dogs can stand on their hind legs and reach much of the counter space. This goes back to what was previously mentioned about teaching them not to jump.
Educate Your Kids
Teaching by example is often the best way for a child to learn. Show them that they need to be gentle when petting and playing with a dog. Dogs that aren’t as accustomed to playing with children may get frightened, leading to a bite injury. I’m sure it’s tempting for a young child to grab onto a dog’s fur, but if you can show them the proper way to play with a dog you can avoid problems. Have your kids do playful activities with the dog such as throwing a frisbee or running outside. If you can get the kids comfortable with dogs, and the dogs comfortable around kids, everyone can stay safe.