School is out! Summer is coming! Summertime is the perfect opportunity to spend time bonding with children and pets in the home. Here are a few guidelines to keep both your children and dog(s) safe this summer.
Set Them Up for Success
NEVER your children unattended with the dog, especially if your child has friends or other unfamiliar children over.
Create a child free zone for your dog. Baby gates and crates are a great way to separate your dog from the children if needed. These barriers can help your dog to acclimate to new visitors in the home, or give them a break if they start to feel stressed.
When your dog is meeting a child (your child’s friend, relative) for the first time, have your dog on leash.
Instruct the child to be CALM and stand still. Let the dog approach and sniff the child’s hand (fist, not fingers).
Petting the Dog
Make sure children always ask to pet the dog (especially unfamiliar dogs).
Always approach a dog from the front, and move slowly toward their side. NEVER surprise a dog by approaching it from the back. Be sure not to tower over the dog. This can be intimidating and scary.
Teach your kids gentle touch. Do not pat, slap, or hit dogs when trying to pet them.
When petting the dog, pet the side or back of the dog. Avoid the head and the tail, these can be sensitive areas.
Things to Avoid
Let sleeping dogs lie! NEVER disturb a sleeping dog!
Leave sick/injured dogs alone! If a child notices that the dog seems to be sick or hurt tell them to notify an adult ASAP.
Do not approach a momma dog with puppies. Mommy dogs can be protective of their babies.
Do not: Run, Yell, or Scream around dogs. This can cause high arousal. Keep interactions with dogs quiet and calm.
Do not approach a dog when it is eating, drinking, chewing on a treat/bone, or has a toy.
NO: Grabbing, Pulling Ears, Chasing, Wrestling, Hugging, Kissing, Taking Toys Away, Playing Tug with Toys, No Cornering!
Don’t let dog: Grab onto child’s clothing, Jump up on Child, or Sit on Child’s Lap.
Learn to Identify Stress Signals in Dogs
Moving Slowly/Freezing (Statue)