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.


Proper Introductions

  • 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

  • Avoidance

  • Cowering

  • Lip Licking

  • Growling

  • Hiding

  • Drooling

  • Pacing

  • Moving Slowly/Freezing (Statue)

  • Yawning

  • Eye Darting

  • Panting

  • Shedding