Seeing your cheerful children playing with a dog is one of the most delightful and enjoyable pictures you can imagine. Unfortunately, not every breed is gentle. Some dogs need more training to learn how to behave with kids. If your doggy is one of them, don’t worry. There are a lot of ways how you can fix it. According to Ultimate Home Life, a German shepherd guide blog, it’s possible to socialize even adult dogs around children.
Follow these simple tips to train your four-legged friend to be kid-friendly:
Socialize your dog
It’s important to mention that training a puppy is easier than training an adult dog. You should introduce your pup to children when he is about eight weeks old. Make sure it will be a positive experience for your dog.
Show your puppy children of all ages in different situations and areas. Tell the kids to behave well and be gentle while petting the dog. It’s essential to make the puppy feel comfortable in the children’s company.
However, puppyhood is not the only period when you can train your dog. You can teach your adult dog the same way. However, expect that the process will take a bit longer.
You should praise your dog more often and give him his favorite treats when he behaves the right way. If you notice any stress signs, stop the training sessions as soon as possible and take your kids outside.
Start the obedience program
The obedience program is necessary in the case of every dog. Before you train your dog to be kid-friendly, make sure your pup knows these commands: sit, heel, down, leave it, and stay. Later it will be easier to teach him how to behave when children are around.
Train your dog not to jump up on people since it is unsafe for kids. Your small child can be easily injured if your pup knocks them over. To avoid this, ask your dog to sit down whenever he tries to jump up.
Praise and reward him with treats when he listens to you, and eventually, he’ll understand how he should behave around other people.
If your dog keeps jumping on people, consult with professional trainers. You might even need to consider attending dog training classes. Your dog will benefit from it greatly since he will also learn how to behave around other dogs.
Reinforce good reactions
Not every child can resist the temptation to grab the dog’s tail, hug him, or pull his ears. Before you introduce your dog to children, make sure you know how he behaves in such extreme situations. Try to act like a child to test how your dog responds to this playful behavior. Yell and run a lot, scream, play with the ball and watch how your dog reacts to it.
Also, introduce your dog to children’s toys. Stuffed animals and dolls can scare your dog (dogs are usually afraid of high-pitched noises). Some dogs associate their fear of toys with children. If you don’t want your kid to get nipped by a dog, introduce their toys gradually. Do this without kids being around.
Consider taking your four-legged friend to the park so that he can see how children play. Keep your puppy on a leash. If it’s an adult dog, consider also using a muzzle.
Your goal is to reinforce good behaviors, and always reward and praise your dog whenever he behaves appropriately.
Educate your children
One more thing you have to keep in mind is that not only the dog should follow the rules. Talk to your children and explain to them that the dog is a living creature, and he also has feelings. Make sure that every child who enters your house knows what they can and can’t do. Here are some basic rules your kids should follow:
- Don’t approach the dog when he’s eating
- Pet him gently
- Don’t disturb them when he’s sleeping
- Change his water at least twice a day
- Don’t touch his tail and don’t play with his ears
As you can understand, training your dog takes time and requires a lot of work. On the other hand, it is something you absolutely have to do in order to keep your children safe.
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