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Dogs and kids: Why can they be a bad combo?

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Nothing beats the bond between a dog and a child. However, the large majority of adults are unaware of the possible danger that dogs with children can pose! We can be unaware of this possible conflict between dogs and children with the help of social media influence.

A lot of people are unaware that their dog is actually frightened and stressed around their children rather than relaxed. Children are unpredictable and move in strange ways when compared to adults. That alone is enough to make most dogs hesitate.

Why do dogs and children make a bad combination?

To put it simply, many dogs are not ready for such a test. The vast majority of dogs lack impulse control, frustration tolerance and handling skills to be able have an adorable but rude baby pulling on them. And, if these fundamentals are missing, letting your dog and child play without proper supervision, boundaries, and training might just be a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.

Something Else to Think About

Our canine companions don't think of children as tiny humans. Children rarely exhibit the social behaviors and norms of adults. Instead, they run, cry, move quickly, dance, dart, scream, disrespect, pull animals, punch, trip over animals, and so on. Consequently, this makes dogs nervous because they can’t predict what the child will do next. Dogs are creatures of habit and enjoy constancy. A child is anything but consistent.

The dog is not to blame!

The dog has no way of knowing that the thing that is yelling, screaming, throwing a fit, and thrashing his head is not going to be a danger. It's natural that a human can easily identify a babies behaviors as normal, but why would we assume our dogs will be able to do the same?

Still, it is horrifying the possible aftermath of some dog and baby struggles can result.

In their minds, they are simple correcting or protecting themselves from something that has invaded their space and displayed excessively rude and concerning behavior without heeding their warnings.

We understand that the thought is abhorrent, and many of you are horrified by it.

However, if we don't address the issue, we will continue to see our young children, particularly our babies and toddlers, being attacked and injured by dogs that people once "thought could do no harm." I frequently hear the statement, "I never thought he could do such a thing.” “He has never bitten any of us," but that is likely because he didn't have the ideal structure, training, supervision, or boundaries to set everyone up for successfully adding a baby to the family.

The likelihood of a dog biting an adult is lower, but the likelihood of biting a child is higher when these precautions are not taken. We are capable of understanding what our dogs are saying through learning and training ourselves. We have the ability to listen and make adjustments to the situation or ourselves so that a bite doesn’t occur.

I also don't run around yelling nonsensically or flailing my arms, and I'm not about to grab a dog by the tail, chase him around, or give him a bear hug (all of which are fairly typical behaviors for kids to engage in with dogs they know and even dogs they don't know).

Consider this:

You might correct your kid if they act inappropriately with us.

Dogs can only use their teeth to correct children for hurtful or rude behavior.

Dog bites are actually more common than you think.

Every year, an average of 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. And dog bites to the face are one of the most common reasons doctors are called in the middle of the night. Due to their closeness to the ground positioning, preschool-aged children are more likely to suffer a face or neck bite. And, as I've seen with many kids, they love to get very close and personal with dogs for kisses and cuddles.

What should you do as a parent?

As a parent, you should not put your trust in any dog. You should instill in good practices of supervised interactions, good boundary setting, and ensuring appropriate behavior from child and dog to set everyone up for success!

While I take dogs out in social places there are usually children around. Parents of these youngsters can set themselves up for success in social interactions with dogs by keeping tabs of their children. Make sure to ask if they can greet the dog. When I’m out with any dog I am very aware of my surroundings and children in the facility. Despite my 99% trust in dogs I take out, I make certain that they are set up to succeed by blocking any unwanted touching and facilitating any greetings that happen and coaching the child on how to politely say hello to my dogs. As the trainer or owner I take the responsibility of protecting my dog while out in public.

Final thoughts: Dogs are just dogs.

Dogs can bite. When dogs are uncomfortable, scared, in pain, or stressed, they may not always be open to being touched. If you care about both your children and your dog, you will do everything in your power to keep them both safe.

Do You Want To Deal With Your Dog's Fears? Then get started today!

Reach out to our professional dog trainers at Morgans Pawsitive Pup Training for helpful tips and suggestions on how to finally resolve your dog's insecurities, anxieties, lack of impulse control, or preparing for children.

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