10 Ways to Ensure Your Child and Dog are Great Pals


Dogs and kids are supposed to be the best of friends, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes it’s because dogs don’t like kids and sometimes it’s because kids don’t like dogs. Most often, however, it’s because parents do not teach their kids and their dogs to get along. What this means is that these little animals are unable to become best friends with the kids in the house because the kids are not sure how to appropriately behave. If you want your dog and your child to be the very best of pals, you need only spend some time making sure that they know how to treat one another so that they can enjoy each other’s presence instead of stressing over it. How you teach your kids to behave around your dog – and vice versa – is what’s going to make your little family as happy as possible.

Choose a dog that loves kids

The best way to ensure that your dog and your kids are the best of friends is to make sure that you choose the right dog. Believe it or not, man’s best friend is not always as friendly as you might want to think. Some dogs simply do not like kids as much as others. There are some dogs out there that do not choose to spend time with kids, which is why a child-friendly dog is going to be your best bet. Try a family-friendly dog, which is easy to learn more about by visiting the AKC website to do your research.

Choose a dog that doesn’t mind a little pain

We aren’t talking about a dog that likes to deal with abuse. We are talking about a dog with a high pain tolerance. Kids are sometimes unknowingly hard on a dog, such as a toddler for example. It is always a good idea to choose a breed that won’t mind a little rough housing and a little bit of ‘kid’ behavior. A dog that doesn’t like to be messed with, picked up or wrestled with might not be the best idea for a home with kids. It’s not a good idea to mix small kids and dogs that cannot handle a little hair pulling.

Teach kids to be respectful of the dog

The most important thing for any parent and dog owner to understand is that they have to have respect for one another. Your children have to respect the dog. Just because they might be the larger of the two does not give your kids the right to abuse your dog or mistreat him in any way.

Don’t leave dogs and kids alone unsupervised

Never do it; it’s not a good idea. Even the friendliest and most amazing dog has every ability to harm a child in a moment’s time. He or she might not mean to, but imagine being fast asleep on the floor and suddenly feeling someone grab your tail or kick you or trip over you. A dog might not always react appropriately to something this painful and surprising, and it could attack without meaning to hurt a child.

Establish boundaries

Kids and dogs need boundaries, so work with both to establish these. Your dog’s trainer can help, and your kids can even help to make it a bit more of a family effort, and something a little bit more fun for all involved. You will understand the importance of this as you get to know your dog, and it’s a good idea to establish boundaries from the start.

Teach dogs to obey children

One thing that always helps the relationship between a dog and a child is when the dog recognizes your child as an alpha. When a dog does not feel it has to listen to the child, it can jeopardize their relationship and make things difficult between the two. Teach the dog to listen to the kids and vice versa, and you will see that things can be made a bit easier for all.

Expose dogs to kids before your own arrives

If your dog came first, you’re going to want to make sure that you expose your dog to children before your own arrives. This means letting him visit with the kids of others, getting him used to the noise and the new atmosphere, and it means that you need to ensure your kids are able to appropriately behave with your dog as they get older. But it’s important to remember that your dog still needs just as much love and attention even after your new baby arrives.

Love your dog

The best thing you can do when you welcome a new child into your home is remember that the dog might not be feeling very loved as you take care of a tiny new human. Remember to spend some quality time with the dog and try not to change his life too much. Dogs need you, and you do not want your dog to dislike your child from the start because he believes that the child has taken his place in life.

Train dogs

Dogs require training, because they have to learn. You will not find that your kids and dogs get along very well if you do not have a dog that is trained. You need to train him to use the bathroom outdoors, to listen to basic commands and to obey. It’s the only way to ensure that he gets along well with everyone in the house. This is a relationship that requires a bit of nurturing for this very reason.

Let them play

If you want your kids and your dog to be good friends, try letting them play. The more fun that the two have together, the more likely they will be to love one another. Kids and dogs need time to throw balls around, run through the yard and have fun. They need more time to play together so that they can develop a long-lasting bond. Remember that.

Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

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