Kids and Dogs

Kids with Dogs

Our Granddaughter at 3 years old working with some of our dogs!

Jumping, pouncing, biting, chase and be chased
– that’s how puppies play with each other.
To your puppy, a child on all fours is just a funny looking dog.
A running, squealing child is irresistible.

As pack order goes, your dog sees your child as a sibling – an equal or lower pack member. The high pitched voice, fast body motions and excitability don’t convey leadership messages to the dog. Here are some ways your kids can be more effective in using their body language and voice.

Tips for kids: 

STOP! Stand up tall, fold your arms, and stand STILL.
Fast movements excite dogs. Stand still so he can’t chase you. Fold your arms so you’ll look really stern. Look down on him and you’ll seem more like an adult.

Hug the object to your chest.
If your dog is trying to steal your favorite toy or peanut butter sandwich, avoid holding it above your head or hiding it behind your back – this could encourage the dog to leap to grab it. Instead, stand up and hug the object close against your chest.

Sound like Dad.
Stand up tall, look down on the dog and in a deep, growly voice tell him, “NO, Mom will step in to help you whenever she hears these words, so you’ll always have back up. Try not to squeal or cry – these sounds remind the dog of a wimpy puppy or a squeaky toy – and how do dogs act around puppies and squeaky toys? Raise your body and lower your voice.

Keep your prized possessions out of reach.
Close your bedroom door when you go to school. Don’t taunt your dog with your favorite toy unless you want it to be chewed up later. It looks like so much fun when you play with it, of course your dog can’t wait for the chance to play with it, too. 

He stares at you when you eat because it works. 
Don’t share your food unless you enjoy being pestered every time you eat. If he’s certain that you will share, he’s more apt to steal from you!

Hold your hand still when giving food rewards.
Dogs grab for moving targets and might get your fingers, too. Hold your hand flat and still while you let the dog take it. Remember, food treats are REWARDS for following a command, not freebies! Talk to mom and dad about how to train the dog and what are appropriate food rewards.

Help your parents take care of the dog. 
You’ll look more like a pack leader if you help your mom and dad provide all the things the dog needs. Leave correcting the dog to your mom and dad.


Tips for parents: 
SUPERVISE all interactions between kids and dogs. Bites usually happen when the parents are absent. Kids don’t always make the right choices. They don’t recognize or heed the dog’s warning signs. You need to BE THERE!

Show your children how to play appropriate games and STOP ALL INAPPROPRIATE FORMS OF PLAY.

No teasing, taunting or keep away. Avoid games that encourage chasing. Ban all games that encourage the dog to use its teeth. NO WRESTLING OR PLAY FIGHTING. Good games are games with rules: “sit, stay, fetch, bring it, out.” Teach the dog how to play the game and then teach the children how to play the game with the dog – with supervision. Round robin recalls and hide and go seek can teach the dog to come when called while having fun.

It is your job to reprimand the kids; it’s never the dog’s job.
Never put the dog in the position of needing to correct the kids. Your dog deserves respect and peace and quiet. Kids don’t appreciate being pestered constantly by their siblings and neither does your dog.

It is your job to reprimand the dog; it’s never the kid’s job.
Children mimic what they see and hear. If you move the dog with your foot, your toddler may kick the dog later. Set a good example!

Bites usually happen when the parents are absent. Kids don’t always make the right choices. They don’t recognize or heed the dog’s warning signs. You need to BE THERE!

Share the responsibility.
With guidance and supervision, older kids can help with feeding, walking and grooming. It is good for the dog to see them as providers of all things important in his life. But remember, it may be Little Johnny’s dog – but it’s mom’s responsibility to help Johnny take care of his dog!



Dear Grams:

 You are such a hard worker you NEVER quit on anyone. I trust your dogs whenever I enter your house. I have been training with you since I was two and a half years old, and now I am ten, I have never got bit by a dog. Your training is great! I went to Soak City with this girl who said that you trained their dog, she also said when they got done with your training the dog was one of the best dogs in the country. I believed her because you have the best dog training ever! Not only do you train dogs, and have dogs you have other animals too! Like cats, horses, birds, chickens, and a tortoise. You are also a fantastic grandma!

Thank you,

Normandie J. Berl ( the young lady in the top picture)