Are you a new dog owner or a new parent and struggling to balance raising both? Fair enough! This is something a lot of parents and dog owners deal with, and you’re not alone! However, there are still important things to address.
There’s no exact science, but the right path is made by staying informed, honest, and cautious. Ultimately, your goal of raising a child and a pet to love each other and live in harmony is something a lot of people fail to achieve, but most people don’t think about much beforehand. You can be the exception to this. If you play your cards right, your goals can be accomplished and your household can be kept safe and nurturing for both your child and your dog.
Know Your Dog’s History
It’s vitally important to be aware of your dog’s past. The sad truth is that a lot of animals come from broken homes or places that did not treat them well. If you got your pet from a shelter, know what health or behavioral issues it may bring to your home. Unfortunately, those things can follow animals out of the shelter for a bit.
Some dogs have familial history of diseases, similarly to how humans do. Some of them are a bit hostile or are scared by certain articles of clothing or household sounds due to abuse in the past. And of course, some breeds are more affectionate or aggressive. It’s your job to be aware of these things early on and cater to your dog in ways that help them to be friendly and tame. At the end of the day, be open to enlisting a professional if need be.
Teach Your Children to Respect Animals
We can only put so much responsibility on the pets. It’s vitally important to teach your child dog safety as well as raise the dog to be kind to your child. For instance, do they know how to approach a new pet without coming on too strong and scaring it? Do they know to back off when a new pet has toys and is stuck in its own world? Do they know never to scream at a dog they don’t know (and hopefully never scream at a dog in general)?
These tips are Dog Owning 101 and good to instill in them early. It’s important that they learn that not just for this dog but for all dogs. Growing up, they’re bound to come into contact with a lot of new pets and puppies through friends, family, and passersby. If they don’t know how to respect animals, they may find that animals lash out on them.
Once they’re getting along, make sure to establish boundaries. For instance, be careful that your children don’t try to feed the dogs food like chocolate or try to grab and pull their tails. Let them know what human foods dogs can eat and what they can’t. You want to create a healthy relationship between the two. If either is playing too aggressively than the other, do what you can to stop that.
Teach the puppy with yourself before you let them play with a child. Teach them consent – that it’s only okay to play with human skin if invited to do so, and treat your children how to tell a dog’s body language (for instance, what is a dog feeling when they put their head down as opposed to wagging their tails?). Reward dogs for good behavior with treats and discipline both your dog and child when need be. If both your dog and child can start to grasp their own strength and weight, they’ll treat each other much better.
How have you succeeded or struggled in raising a pet and child together? We want to hear your story. Let us know in the comments below!