Summer is officially in full swing! While kids are celebrating their break from schoolwork, your dog might find himself in an uncomfortable situation. Especially if he hasn’t had much exposure to children before. We’re here to help you find ways to socialize your dog with children and ensure a safe summer.
In fact, as I write this, I’m reminded of a situation that a friend had to deal with a few years ago. He had promised his twelve-year-old daughter that she could get a dog if she got all A’s in school. When she brought home her report card, he had to make good on his promise.
They decided to rescue a dog from their local shelter. (Actually, it was all his daughter’s idea. She’s one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met.) The way my friend tells it, she made a decision in less than a half hour. He says her eyes never really left a little two-year-old black and white Boston terrier. The named the little guy Tiny. When they brought the Tiny home, he got spooked by my friend’s two sons who were wrestling in the living room. He wasn’t used to the noises seven- and eight-year-olds make when having fun. Tiny ran straight under the kitchen table and wouldn’t come out for anything while the boys were in the same room. It took a couple of years to make Tiny comfortable around young boys after that.
While Tiny never hurt a child, the family of another dog with the same anxieties might not have been so fortunate. The last thing you want is for your dog to hurt a child! It’s important to take steps to make your dog comfortable. Doing so will help keep your dog calm and happy while he gets his ears scratched by the neighbor’s kid.
Here are four tips to help you childproof your dog this summer:
Socialize Your Puppy
The best time to socialize your puppy is between eight and sixteen weeks. Though, there is not really a bad time to increase your dog’s exposure to kids and other dogs. If your dog is nervous around crowds or gets overstimulated easily, limit the number of people in the room where you want to socialize him or her. Make sure that your dog is comfortable with the environment before adding kids to the mix. This will help ensure that the experience is a positive one.
Keep Your Dog from Jumping on People
You may enjoy coming home to a dog that jumps up when he greets you! But imagine what could happen if he did that to a child. If your dog is a large breed, the child could fall and hurt herself. It’s best to train him to keep his paws on the ground when greeting his human friends. This ensures your dog doesn’t injure any children.
Set Boundaries for Children, Too
Kids can be wild. That’s why we love them! However, when you put one or more hyper children in the same space as a nervous dog, the results could be disastrous. Be sure to teach your children or any children you let interact with your dog that it’s important to be calm when petting or playing with a dog.
Keep Some Kids’ Toys Handy
If your dog or puppy is having a difficult time adjusting to life with kids, one great way to socialize your dog is to keep some of your children’s old toys around. Old stuffed animals that smell like your kids can help them form a positive impression of their young human friends, allowing your to socialize your dog to the idea of children without putting anyone in danger.
While your dog might not be comfortable around kids right now, it doesn’t have to stay that way. At Doggies Gone Wild, our doggy daycare service can help your doggy gain the social experience he needs to start being calm around kids. Call us today.