Features March 2018 Issue

Dogs and Children: How to Keep Them Both Safe

Many adult dog owners trace their love of dogs to a relationship with a special dog in childhood. But many people who are afraid of dogs trace that fear to being bitten by a dog as a child. The good news is that there are many things you can do as a dog-owning parent to cultivate mutually safe, respectful, loving relationships between dogs and kids.

Dogs and Children: How to Keep Them Both Safe

Combining kids and dogs in your family can be magical and heartwarming, or cause a devastating tragedy. Here’s how to boost the odds of the former and prevent the latter.

Fortunately, there are many things we can do to improve the odds for safe child-dog interactions, beginning with the dog herself. Ideally, every dog should be well socialized with babies and children from puppyhood. Many young adults adopt a pup at a time when children are, if anything, a distant prospect, without seeming to realize that kids could easily arrive within the 10 to 15 years of their dog’s lifespan. Even if there will never be children in the dog’s immediate family, chances are she will encounter small humans at some point in her life. By convincing her very early on that children are wonderful, you greatly reduce the risk that she will ever feel compelled to bite one.

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