Keeping dogs with kids at home needs juggling quite often. Both dogs and children need to be supervised and trained to keep them safe from each other.

Dog & Child

Dog & Chid

While we see gorgeous photos of children hugging dogs, cats and horses and pets loving children by licking them or staring at them lovingly, it is not so harmonious relationship at home. Especially when the child enters the toddler-hood and learns to crawl and walk, pets may look at your child differently. While natural hunting instincts of a large or medium-sized dog may lead him to think that the small moving creature is a prey, smaller dogs may be afraid of the child. They tend to run away from the children. Parents should train the dog to sit or stay near them, while the child is on the prowl by rewarding him with caresses and pats. Trained dogs normally never hurt the child until it is for self-defense but still supervised interaction between your child and dogs is necessary to make them both comfortable with each other.

Teach your child to respect your dog and not to tease it too hard or too often. Keep your child away from exploring your dog's possessions such as its toys, food or water bowl and its litter box and they should know that biting or kicking the pet may hurt it. Discourage them to twist or pull your dog's ears and tails, pinching it and poking fingers or other sharp objects into its eyes. Small and toy dogs often suffer in the hands of the children who like to kick them off or scream in its ear and do not let it sleep properly. Thus, special should be taken to save it from children's tricks. Children need to be taught that pets are not toys and that they feel the hurt too and that they can hug them and pet them gently but should not cause them pain.

It is important that a dog should know its place in the family hierarchy. Dog may feel rejected with a new arrival in home or may like to lick the child and be licked in return. But supervision is always a must when your child and your dog are together. If it is not possible, you may place the child in the playpen for the short period when you are not around. By the toddler age, child is old enough to learn the acceptable and non-acceptable behavior with the dogs and how to interact with them. Dogs may be allowed to enter the nursery but they must be taught to hold a down-stay. Kids find dogs as funny playmates while dogs take them to be littermates. Though, your dog may tolerate a little bit of pulls and yanks, too much of naughtiness may set him against the child. Teach the child and the dog to play together interactive games such as 'Fetch' and 'Hide and Seek' that does not involve rough play.

Provide the dog with a quiet secluded play to rest at peace when your kids' friends are visiting home. Older children may help to take care of the dog such as feeding and training them, as they are more consistent and playful. They may walk the dog inside the yard and do chores for the dog, according to their age, ability and interest. It will make your child responsible too. However, don't overlook your own duty towards the dog as the child may be careless and may not be able to avoid proper attention to the dog. Teens are more self-centered and may not pay attention to the dog and so you need to pay special attention to your pet to keep it from feeling neglected.