This is a big topic especially for families that have kids or are expecting! We will tackle issues like nipping, fighting, rough housing with the dogs or dogs thinking kids are play toys etc. I am going to go through the different ages of children and what to expect from the dog; how to navigate play and manage the kids.

 

 

Before the Baby

It’s very important to start preparing your dog even before you bring the baby home. There’s going to be a change in the environment… there’s going to be a ‘new dog’ coming in.

A lot of this is going to be creating barriers between the dog and the baby. You can get a gate or put your dog in a gated area to section off your home. That way, your dog is confined to a certain area and your baby has space to play as well.

Creating barriers, prepping your home and making sure the baby and dog will be safe altogether will make it easier for you to manage interactions between the both of them later on!

 

Zero to Six Months Old

Babies at zero to six months old cry a lot. For dogs, this triggers a predatory response and lot of times this may come off as aggression on things etc. The best thing to do in this situation is management.

If you have to place your dog in confinement, maybe in a pen or crate or having your dog leash onto you monitor his interactions with the baby.

At this stage, there’s a lot of crying and one way to manage this is using treats. Make a positive association on interactions with the baby. Do some basic obedience around the baby.

 

Toddler Stage (6 months to 5 years old)

The toddler stage is when the child is most mobile. They will want to invade more of the dog’s space. While the toddlers will be walking or moving, the dogs will be playing or chasing them around.

Most of the time your dog will be okay with this, but they can become aggressive. Make sure you manage and supervise the situation.

If you don’t have time to do so, you can tether your dog onto something. Use a leash or rope and attach them to furniture or something where your dog will still have space to move around. You can also tie them onto you so you can easily monitor them for as long as you want.

Kids that reach the dog’s eye-level can be a thing too. Usually these are kids who are three and under. This can be an issue with their play and interaction because the dog is playing with them like they’re one of the dogs.

Make sure you keep your kids from bothering your dog and giving them alone time. Just like us, we don’t want people picking on our plates while we’re eating, the same with the dog.

Also, when they’re sleeping, you don’t want them waking them up just because it’s fun. You’re not only teaching your child to respect space, but it’s also teaching the dogs boundaries.

 

Child Stage (5 to 9 years old)

This is the stage where a lot of the teasing comes in. A lot of roughhousing and playful exchanges with the dog. At this time, start to teach your children be responsible for your dog or give them something to do with the dog instead of roughhousing or rough playing.

You can have your children help you groom