Children need to be instructed in exactly how to behave around strange dogs they encounter and even the familiar family pet. I have discussed in my previous blog not to come up to a dog looking them in the eye with an extended arm. Even worse is the leaning over the dog and trying to pet the top of their head. Dogs translate all of this as a personal affront or attempt or dominate. Now if you add the sudden movements of a child accompanied by squealing voices, the unthinkable could result. It is imperative that grown-ups coach their children that all dogs are not friendly so do NOT run up to them!
I explained it to our grandkids that certain dogs “don’t know about kids”. So often I have been walking a dog in public and children come sprinting up to me because I have a dog. Many dog owners don’t have control over their dogs, let alone a dog that is about to be mauled by a swarm of little people! Usually the dog’s face and the children’s are eye to eye……not a good place to be if a dog snaps a warning!!
Likewise, children in the home need to be taught how to respect the family dog. So often owners complain that their dog exhibits certain undesirable behaviors around their children. I have never had a parent come up with the notion that it could be the kids’ actions that could be the problem. The list of “tell the kids not to”, might include:
don’t chase the dog
don’t run away from the dog squealing if it encourages the dog to chase and nip
don’t smother the dog by holding it around the neck and getting in it’s face
don’t keep petting the muzzle if the dog tends to mouth
don’t give the dog people food
don’t corner the dog in an attempt to catch it