What Makes a Good Dog a Good Kids' Dog?

Kid and Dog

Take one kid. Add one dog. Stir. Stand back and watch the fun begin. Of course, some cautions apply. A dog can be the perfect child’s companion — but it depends on the dog and how you teach both dog and child to interact. So what makes a dog a good kids' dog?

  • First, of course, it needs to not bite kids, even when the kids are provoking the dog. And of course, no matter what breed, dogs and young children should always be supervised, to guarantee everyone's safety.
  • Second, a good kids' dog shouldn’t be so large it can bowl a child over, or inflict serious damage should things go terribly wrong. A child should be able to control the dog on leash.
  • At the other extreme, a good child's dog shouldn’t be so small that it can be stepped on and squished, or dropped and broken.
  • A good kids' dog needs to want to interact with kids. It needs to be energetic and playful.
  • A good kids' dog also needs to be a comforter at times.
  • Ideally, a good kids' dog shouldn't run away should a gate be left open or a leash be dropped. Children are not always as careful as they should be. Put locks on your gates, and don't send a child out to walk the dog anywhere that he could get into trouble.

Introducing a Dog to a Baby

When introducing a dog to a baby, it’s tempting to be overly protective. But trying to hide your baby from your dog or holding it overhead out of his reach will only pique his curiosity and perhaps cause him to jump up or sneak into the baby's room to see what this creature is. You want him to meet the baby on your terms. Let them meet through a play pen or exercise pen at first. Lavish attention on your dog when the baby is in the room. Have your dog sit and then give him a treat. Continue as you move closer to the baby.

Don't shut your dog away because a new baby has arrived. Your dog may have been your baby until you brought this new hairless baby home. If you suddenly ignore your dog to dote upon the little interloper, especially if you further add to the injustice by hustling your dog out of the room just because the new darling is in there, you’re creating a recipe for a big case of jealousy. Instead, always make a fuss over the dog when the baby is around so the dog will associate the baby with good things.

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