Jeff Tinsley is the owner and behavior therapist at Sound Animals Dog Training. He specializes in rescue/shelter dogs, and behavior modification. His nearly 20 years of experience working with anxiety, fear, and aggression issues.
How to teach good child/dog interactions?
I play games like “Simon says” to help with the training with dogs and kids. First Simon, an adult, needs to have high-value treats. Then Simon gives a direction. For example, “pet the dogs tail,” as the child pets the dogs tail, Simon gives the high-value treat to the dog. We repeat this with different actions. Which over time helps the dog feel comfortable with various kind of interaction with different kind of people.
If your dog is not good around children I strongly suggest you work with a professional behaviorist to help your dog to learn that children are not scary.
One of the biggest mistakes that we can make as dog owners is to assume that all parents have trained their kids how to properly behave around dogs. It is a common assumption, which can often lead to dangerous outcomes. Instead, we need to focus on training our dogs to be bulletproof around kids.
Why do dogs bite children?
Children tend to be higher energy than adults and interact with dog’s differently. They are noisy, small, move quickly and are extremely unpredictable. To make your dog bulletproof around children, you need to get him accustomed to how children act and behave.
Never leave a dog unattended with a child as accidents can occur at any moment. If an adult is not there to read the dog’s behavior, a child could push the dog too far, causing the dog to play rougher than he understands and potentially hurt the child. So much can happen that you really should not take the risk.