You will find that your dog and kids can develop a special bond if you keep some simple ground rules in mind.
1. SUPERVISION. No matter how well trained your dog is, you should always monitor young children around it. It is always better to be safe than sorry by trying to err on the side of safety. Any inappropriate behavior between dog and children can be stopped immediately if you are already present.
2. Never place the responsibility of training and caring for the dog on your children. Instead, you can give the kids small responsibilities that are appropriate for the child’s age. Furthermore, you should establish behaviors before having your children try to work with the dog. For example, while the dog is on a leash, he should know the word “heel” properly before allowing a child to take the lead.
3. Remember to keep in mind that even though your dog tolerates certain behaviors from your children, the dog may not do the same to friends or neighborhood children.
4. Make sure you socialize your dog properly with children. This will work effectively if you have a child spend time with your dog regularly. A good approach is to keep the dog on a leash at first and allow the child to hold “special treats”. You can then have the dog approach the child and sit; when the dog comes up to the kid, make sure the child is not staring and remains calm. After the dog sits have the child give the dog a treat. Repeat this process over and over with different children of mixed sizes and ages.
5. It is crucial to make sure your children understand to respect animals in addition to how they should or should not act around them. A good suggestion is to instruct the kids to act “like a tree” when the dog begins to behave badly. If the child remains calm, quiet, and still the dog will walk away from the child.
6. You should not teach your dog to play confrontational games such as roughhousing, tug of war, etc. Instead, influence the children to play games meant to bring the dog and them closer together such as hide and seek or fetch.
7. Devote some time working toward getting your dog accustomed to being handled the way a child would touch or handle one. For instance, children tend to poke, hug, trip over, grab, and pull dogs among other things. If you get your dog accustomed to this behavior first, he or she should not react negatively to children or others doing it unexpectedly.
8. If for some reason, the canine and child are not getting along, you should put the dog away for a “nap” and consult a professional in the field. However, remember to never let the dog behave in ways that you do not approve.
9. It is still a good idea to make sure your dog will be safe or well-behaved around children, even if you do not have any yourself. Although if you give much thought and learn how to control the situation properly you will have a great experience seeing your children and dog growing up together.