Dog Child Aggression
Making sure dogs and kids get along is important – even if you don’t have children of your own. Children and dogs can both be unpredictable in their actions, and therefore can surprise each other very easily when interacting. Both dogs and children need to be taught manners when interacting with each other. But your dog also has to be prepared to tolerate even the most aggravating behaviors, such as pulling ears or tail, sudden movements, or running and screaming. If your dog reacts poorly to children, it is understandable and fixable. There are a few reasons for dog child aggression.
Socializing while young
Usually, the main problem causing a dog to fear or become aggressive with children is that, when a dog was very young, he did not get enough socialization with kids. Behaviorists set a goal for puppies that 100 people handle them before they are 12 weeks old. That way, he sees all types, sizes, shapes & outfits of humans and becomes comfortable with anything that comes at him. Without proper introduction to a variety of people at a young age, your dog will lack some social skills and not learn how to read people. And, it’s especially hard to read children, since they can act more like puppies and be very loud and move quickly. They often don’t know how to approach a dog, even at an older age. Whether they are approaching your dog quickly or shrieking and running away, your dog is unsure of what to make of it all if he hasn’t been around that his whole life.
Sometimes, even if your dog had some good socialization around children, it might not have been quite enough to build confidence around kids and different situations with them. He might not have been taught how to properly interact with all different ages and energy levels of children. Or perhaps when he was young, he had a bad experience with a child or two. If he was taunted or mistreated, he learned to fear children with good reason. We certainly cannot blame him for not trusting kids after that.
How we are affected
So naturally we, as owners, are embarrassed. Or, we get worried that our dog is going to bite. We now cringe when a child comes near our dog because we don’t know what’s going to happen. Our stomachs drop, we avoid kids on the street, we walk our dog late at night when no one else is around, we don’t invite children over any more. But, when we cringe or get nervous, we’re letting our dog know something is wrong. We set our dog on high alert. Now he has to protect his scared owner as well as himself. The cycle is getting created and getting worse.
How to stop it
We live in a dense area. We cannot avoid letting kids interact with our dogs forever, and we shouldn’t have to. Our dogs should be happy to meet new people and we should all be relaxed and happy when out on our walks or inviting our friends over to visit. When you work with SF Dog Connect, you’ll learn how to change your reaction as well as your dog’s so that you both become more comfortable and confident around children. We’ll teach your dog that it’s great fun to meet new kids and get petted. You can invite young people into your home with confidence and take your dog wherever you go without worry. You envision it. Together, we’ll make it happen.
Assure your dog’s safety with children. We are the Bay Area’s experts in dog and children interactions. Schedule an appointment today!
Every child should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one.