Dogs can benefit parents of young kids in a number of ways. Besides encouraging them to exercise, they also provide plenty of affection and nurture a sense of responsibility. However, the interaction between pets and children needs constant attention due to the risk of conflict.
Before deciding to bring a dog home for your kids, you need to carefully consider these 5 tips to keep your kids safe around dogs and share them with other family members.
Set up Some Ground Rules
For kids to treat pets properly and behave appropriately while around them, they need to be taught on how to do so. This brings in the need to lay out a few rules outlining the basics of what's acceptable. And these guidelines need to be tailored individually for dogs of different types.
Only by familiarizing your children with pet handling will they understand why it's important to adapt their behaviors. And for younger toddlers, close monitoring is absolutely essential. You should hence maintain a watchful eye on children under the age of 5.
Respect and Responsibility
It's common sense that physically assaulting animals, or cruel treatment in general, is totally unacceptable. You can bet that even a good number of preschoolers are well aware of this. To reinforce the teaching of proper behavior, you will need to hold a brainstorming session with all family members.
You need to especially remind the kids why dogs should never be bothered while they're sleeping, eating or guarding a toy. If you have an older child, have them compile a list of all dos and don'ts. Also remember to outline who holds the responsibility to feed and walk the dog, as well as other general needs.
Neutering/Spay the Dog
Spay or neutering the dog minimizes the risk of unwanted pregnancies. Additionally, it also reduces aggression, more so in male dogs.You could get in touch with a humane organization or vet in your region to enquire about the process. This is especially crucial if you aren't sure whether the dog you're getting is neutered or spayed.
The Dog has a Role too
Besides setting expectations for family members, you need to outline what role the pet will play. The dog not only has to be familiarized with boundaries, but also the consequences of unacceptable conduct. Here, you could use a little research to gain an insight into traits associated with the dog's breed.
Regular exercise provides an effective channel for the animal's excitement and energy. Due to the danger that a hyper animal presents for younger kids, this responsibility should be handled by either an older child or yourself.
Your vet could suggest activities that are suitable for your dog's age, breed and traits. While drawing up an exercise program, remember to include routines for warming up and cooling down. And don't forget to provide water for the dog throughout the exercise duration.