Kids and the Tolerant Dog at the Holidays
We have all heard the stories of dogs that are so great with children. It's true many are. But when it comes to bringing children and dogs together in a home permanently or just for the weekend there are many things you need to consider.
As humans, we all have a breaking point of tolerance. I definitely do! Your dog does too. Even dogs we think are "bomb-proof" have a tipping point. Do you know with 100% certainty what your dog will tolerate? Are you sure? 100% in all circumstances? Are you astute at reading your dog's behavior like a book to know his limits?
As the holidays approach and you you are planning for guests, think about how much guests in your home can start to grate on your last nerve, no matter how much you love them. They make remarks that annoy you, leave the toilet seat up, and make a mess in your kitchen.
Dog's cannot express their frustration in the same way humans can. And much like when you reach the breaking point and snap with anger and words, they may snap with growling and teeth.
Strangers can make them nervous to start and add in the holiday bustle, there nerves may be on edge. Add to this a child that your dog doesn't know who's invading his space on the couch, darting by his food bowl, creating an elevated level of energy in the house, squealing loudly, or pulling his ears and his tail, or maybe even teasing him with food and toys.... it's a disaster waiting to happen.
A dog that is usually lovable to your own toddler or child may hit their breaking point in ways you cannot predict. Something as innocent as an attempted hug or kiss on the snout could be the breaking point. It's very important to teach all children ways in which they need to respect the dog and to be sure your dog is given plenty of time to rest alone & away from the visitors.
You also need to set boundaries with adults and to never leave a child unsupervised with any dog. Supervision means awake, adult, and aware supervision. Eyes on the scenario not just present. And not distracted by some other activity. If you cannot supervise - put the dog in his crate. Bedroom doors and doors to the outside can easily be opened carelessly. Be sure to secure entry to any area your dog may be in. .
Socialization of your dog is important -- but it doesn't replace the safety precautions you need to take.
These charts by Dr. Sophia Yin are great teaching tools to sit and have a conversation with your child, children who will be visiting, and maybe even some adults.
Take care of your dog & your children and play it safe. Where appropriate, purchase a crate and use it to give your dog a place of his own to stay stay this holiday season. If the issues are severe enough with your dog -- consider boarding him while visitors are present.
Need more help preparing your dog for crate training, reactivity, socialization, etc? Call me! I can help.
The K9 Coach
Dog Training - Matthews, NC
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The K9 Coach is a Professional Certified Dog Trainer Serving Charlotte, NC, Matthews, NC and surrounding areas.
Begin training with a consult with a professional trainer to be sure you're solving the right problem. Misdiagnosis can make the matters worse. Be sure that there are no medical issues at play and that your dog is not in pain, as pain can be a contributor to a new display of aggression. If you have any fear or uncertainty -- do not attempt the techniques without professional supervision.