Older children and dogs

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THE SAME rules apply, especially the ones about mutual respect and supervision. Stress that dogs are not living toys, especially when bringing a puppy into a family where children already live.

Don’t allow children (or anyone else!) to feed your dog from the table; suitable leftovers can be mixed into his meal afterwards.

It is particularly important to “clear up” after your dog in the garden when your child becomes old enough to play there.

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Keep your dog out of the way when your children have friends round or are playing energetic games.

It’s fun for your child to fuss and play with your dog, but teach games where you keep control, and always supervise. Older children should help feed, groom and train your pet so that they learn about the responsibilities as well as the fun of pets. Make sure your child always washes her hands afterwards.

Children love to hold the lead, but don’t allow them to walk your dog alone. They may be able to manage your well behaved pet, but how would they cope if he was attacked by a large stray?

Show children the correct way to befriend other people’s dogs – ask the owner first, then offer a hand for the dog to sniff from below his nose before you pat him. Not all dogs are friendly. Your child should not approach strays and must never go with strangers to see “the puppies at home”!

Visits from other people’s children

Again the general rules apply, but (however much he loves them) your dog’s “level of tolerance” will be lower if he does not live with children all the time. Children and dogs must learn together (from you) how to get along. If it all gets too much, he may appreciate some time in his indoor kennel or another room.

Most dogs need space.

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