MOST children love dogs, but dogs don’t always love children. Regardless of how friendly your dog is; child-dog interactions should always be supervised. Initially, most dogs feel threatened by children because they are at eye level, have high-pitched voices and make vigorous movements.
Children can also be excitable and unpredictable which can cause anxiety and aggression in any dog under the wrong circumstances. Children need to be taught how to treat dogs; otherwise they can make his life a living hell. Until the dog-child relationship has been established, do not let your child hug the dog.
Never let a child interrupt a dog during mealtime, toy time or nap time. A dog is not a toy; children should never be allowed to yank on his ears or pull his tail. Whenever there are unfamiliar children around, ensure you put your dog on a leash.
Do not let your child approach a strange dog without asking the owner’s permission first. A dog should never be approached face-to-face – nor looked square in the eyes – as this is threatening to them; instead approach from the side.
Teach your child to let a dog sniff them first before they try to pet him; which should rather be done under the chin or back than the head. Agitation, curled lips and growling are definite warning signs to end the interaction.
Teach your child that if they feel a dog poses a threat to stay perfectly still with arms at their side and to avoid eye contact and not scream.