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Teaching your children to respect dogs: our advice

The presence of a dog in the family brings many benefits, both physical (long walks in perspective!) and psychological. Studies have shown that a dog facilitates contact and interaction with others. Loyal and joyful in all circumstances, the animal devotes to its little master an unconditional and non-judgmental attachment: bad grades at school and other childish nonsense will remain a secret between them. However, a moment of inattention and the accident occurs. It is important to know that most bites on children are caused by the family dog in whom the parents have total confidence. How to create a harmonious relationship while respecting the well-being and needs of your four-legged friend? Our recommendations.

Teach respect between child and dog

If you plan to welcome a dog into your family, education should be a two-way street to ensure a peaceful cohabitation. As soon as your child is old enough to understand, it will be essential to explain to him that the dog is a living and sensitive being, that he must be treated with care and respect. That rules of behavior must be applied in his presence. To make your child more responsible, suggest that he brush the dog and accompany you on walks. He will feel valued and involved.

Supervise the child and the dog at all times

This is the golden rule: never leave a baby or young child alone with a dog. Our toddlers do not yet have good control over their movements and cries, and can involuntarily send contradictory messages to the animal. Faced with gestures that he does not understand, the dog may respond with an inappropriate reaction, without any intention to harm. In the same way, it is recommended not to allow the dog to sleep in his little friend's room or in his bed.

Maintaining authority over the dog

Keep in mind that you are the master. It is futile to think that your child will be able to get the dog to obey you, no matter how docile he is. Don't expect your fur ball to submit to puppies that he considers more like playmates. As a reference, it is up to you to guide your dog when he comes into contact with others, whether at home or outside.

Ask permission before petting a dog

Don't touch a dog without asking its opinion! This recommendation is valid for the family dog as well as for a stranger. When outside, make sure that the owner knows that it is possible to pet the dog. If necessary, ask the doggie for permission. How do you do this? By holding your hand in front of his nose without touching him. If he comes forward and sniffs the hand, the green light is given. If he turns his head away to avoid contact, it's best to ignore him and move on.

Petting the dog the right way

A touching look, soft ears, a mischievous muzzle... We want to pet a dog's head but for some, this gesture is not pleasant and can generate an aggressive reaction. To get in touch gradually, it is recommended to start petting on the flank or neck. Another basic rule is not to approach the dog's mouth and stare into its eyes, as this may make the animal feel attacked and retaliate.

Let the dog sleep

The dog's basket should be considered as a forbidden area. It is a place of rest and tranquility that must be respected. An intrusion into his comfortable refuge could disturb him and make him growl. If you want to pamper him, it's best to call him to come to you.

Staying away from your dog's food bowl

Just as with his sleeping area, his meal should be respected. When he eats, leave him in peace. Food is an important resource and a great pleasure for the dog, and he will want to protect it if approached. Make sure that he does not feel threatened by a theft of kibble!

Playing with the dog without aggressing him

What a privileged moment to witness a joyful game between the child and his dog... But be careful, it is imperative to refuse that the animal be considered as a toy that you manipulate as you please. If the dog is often willing to have fun, it can also - like us humans - feel the need to rest because it is tired or sick. During interactions, if he wants to go, let him. Is it useful to add that nipping him, pulling his hair, tail or ears, hitting him, yelling at him are acts to be prohibited?