Dogs, Babies and Children

If you have  small children or  are having a baby, what do you need to do to prepare your dog ?

You need to prepare your  home  in advance,   to teach your  dog  that the various items and behaviors associated with babies  eg crying and pushing  prams are cues that good things will happen,  to provide safe places  for your dog to retreat to, to keep your  dog and  baby /small children  together but separated , to learn to be aware  of canine  body language  so you understand the signals your  dog sends  and can intervene before it feels it needs to bite , to understand that as a parent it is your place to supervise and teach both dog and  child  and not allow the  child to mistreat  the  dog . (I sometimes  have people asking me to teach a dog to tolerate a child  being rough or invading it ‘s space . NO. This is irresponsible). 

Parents need to understand   why dogs sometimes find  children over whelming and how to manage  and prevent it.


As your baby grows,  changes  in the  behavior of the baby – eg from squirming movements and crying, to sitting up and staring  or grabbing at the dog,  and later toddling around  with  food in it’s hand or taking it’s toys  –   may trigger changes  in the  way the  dog reacts to the  child. Eg dogs often find being stared at  a threat . It is advisable  to prepare your dog   for the  changes  before they occur   and teach default  behaviors – for example , teaching  your  dog  not to take food unless given permission  will prevent the dog from grabbing  food out of the baby’s hand , teaching your  dog to  remain happily on it’s bed or behind a gate  will stop it from interacting with the baby when it’s not convenient  to  supervise, teaching your  dog not to jump  on people  so it doesn’t knock the baby over .  If your dog  finds the baby ‘s crying  stressfu , change  the dog’s perception  of the crying  to a positive  one .

There are  a number  of ways  parents can interact with  and in fact  even train the dog  while attending to the  child,  by using quick  easy and simple  games(Can you toss a piece  of food ?  You are training your dog ) . I encourage  clients to play  these games as  the easiest  way to  train  , interact , and have  fun with your  dog while still getting on with what you need to do  . Even  a toddler can interact with the dog in this way.  This is easy and  builds  the relationship  with the baby  to a positive one,  because fun happens when the baby is present .  

If you need help to  prepare your  dog  for your baby , or  there is a problem with your dog and child, I can help  you .

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