Dogs and kids can be best friends from a young age. They play and grow up together, forming a special bond that’s not easily broken. But it’s not always so easy.
Often, dogs run away or hide from kids or bark at them. This can lead to serious problems if left unresolved. But why do dogs express this behavior around children? It’s not that they don’t like kids; instead, they are afraid of them.
In this article, you’ll learn why your dog may not like kids and the six most effective ways to deal with this situation.
What’s the Reason for My Dog Being Afraid?
It’s not natural for a dog to bark or bite without reason.
- Maybe your dog had a bad past experience leading to this behavior. Many kids tease dogs by pulling their tails or ears and even poking their eyes. This teasing may be fun for the kids but not for your dog. So they become nervous and defensive.
- On the other hand, lack of socialization with kids at the puppy stage can also be the cause. When dogs grow up to be adults, the unfamiliar size, smell, behavior, and movements of kids can startle them. They become frightened by the unfamiliar activity and view the children as a threat.
- Some dog breeds are more afraid of children than other breeds. Take the designer dog breed, Labradoodle, for example. They can be large, but Labradoodles naturally inherit friendly characteristics, making them a more suitable option for kids.
But other large dog breeds like the Weimaraner are hunting dogs, and children’s size makes them appear as prey. Although Weimaraners actually won’t hunt small children, they can still play roughly.
Whatever the reason is, if your dog fears children, you should work on helping them lose the fear. Otherwise, you will face an unwanted and chaotic situation.
What to Do to Make Your Dog Like Kids
You want your dog to like children, but it’s hard to make them understand that kids are not someone to be afraid of. So how do you do it?
We are here with six ways to help your dog get comfortable with kids.
Reading Suggestion: Why Schnauzers Are The Worst Dogs?
You just got a puppy. But you can’t help thinking about how your puppy will react to your kids. It’s absolutely normal if it seems afraid at first, but you must work to make the interactions more comforting.
Puppies usually go through a socialization stage at eight to twelve weeks. So use this time efficiently and introduce them to your kids.
Give your kids and the puppy similar toys to play with. Help your children to feed dog treats to your dog. Supervise their play sessions and keep an eye on your kids. This is not due to your puppy’s aggression but because your kids can harm the puppy.
Moreover, choose a puppy breed that is more forgiving to children.
Dogs learn fast when they are rewarded. That’s why positive reinforcement works amazingly to ease the fear of kids in dogs.
Work in baby steps. Give your dog and your kids a play session together. When your dog tries to run away, calmly say, “Stay,” and if they stay, reward them with a treat.
Moreover, positive reinforcement works both ways. If your kid is trying to harm your dog, simply tell them not to do so. If they listen to you, praise their good behavior.
Teach Your Children to Respect Your Dog
Usually, parents forget the importance of teaching children how to behave with pets. So the kids stay unaware of the circumstances of not respecting their pet.
Here are some things you need to inform your children.
- Dogs also have feelings, and they shouldn’t cause harm to them in any way.
- Dogs shouldn’t be disturbed while eating or when in their crate.
- Pulling a dog’s tail or trying to ride them isn’t a game.
- Give treats to make the dog feel comfortable.
- Never play any aggressive games with the dog.
- Don’t interact with the dog without the presence of an adult.
There are still so many other things kids need to learn. Hopefully, this basic but essential information will help ease your dog’s fear of children. Then your kids will learn how to behave near a dog through you.
Ensure a Safe Place for Quality Time
Your dog and kids can bond by spending some quality time together. To get the most out of the time, make a space where your dog will feel safe. Avoid making any loud noises and prepare some ground rules for your kids to maintain.
Desensitize Your Dog
Kids are unpredictable, and even with all the ground rules, they can create a situation to startle your dog. So it’s better to prepare your dog for it.
Make your dog comfortable with fast movements by running with them in a controlled environment. Next, make them familiar with your touches, such as hugging, slight pulling of the ears, and stroking. Reward them for every good behavior.
But don’t punish your dog. It will instead make your pet think they were right to be defensive and afraid.
Get Help from Professionals
If you can’t get your dog to overcome the fear of children, it’s better to consult a professional.
Veterinary behaviorists or professional dog trainers have the experience of dealing with fearful dogs. They will help you implement a proper desensitization program. They will know how to introduce your kids to the dogs.
In the long run, hiring a professional to train your dog will be worth it.
Kids can be a handful, and so can dogs. More so if your dog doesn’t seem to like kids. But you can solve this issue by following the six tested methods mentioned in this article.
Then the whole experience of raising dogs and your kids will become more enjoyable because they will grow to have a mutual understanding.
Teach your children to respect your dog, and a nurturing bond will form between them over time. If you follow our ways properly, your dog will slowly learn to be at ease with your kids. Just give it some time and patience.