How To Help Your Kids Have a Safe, Positive Relationship With Your Dog

At Tug-E-Nuff Dog Gear, we’re a family of dog lovers. We grew up surrounded by four-legged friends and between us we’ve got more than 30 now.

So we know how special it can be to live with dogs as a child can be - it teaches kindness, respect and a love for all living things.

But we also recognise the importance of encouraging a positive relationship between dogs and children that ensures everyone is kept safe.

Just like every child is different, every dog is too - so it’s important to lay ground rules that work for you as a family. Having said that, we think the following tips are helpful to know…

‘Gentle hands’

Teach children from the earliest age possible to only use ‘gentle hands’ when playing with your dog, and never to do things like pull their tail or poke them in the eye. This type of play can cause even the most gentle and patient of dogs to lose its cool and react aggressively.

Choose suitable toys

Just like with grown ups, interactive play between children and dogs is a great way to create a strong bond. Toys are the ideal way to encourage this, but choosing the right type of toy is crucial.

Training toys like our Sheepskin Bungee Chaser With Tennis Ball, Rabbit Skin Chaser With Squeaker or Faux Fur Chaser, which are hugely rewarding for your dog and also put some distance between them and your child, so they can have fun while staying safe.

Know when to step in

Children, particularly toddlers, can be difficult for dogs to understand because they don’t communicate with them like adults do. Likewise, children often don’t read the signs of communication from dogs well, such as when they want to be given some space. This is where problems can arise. Interactions between children and dogs should always be supervised, and always be ready to step in and give your dog - or your child - some separate space.

Positive reinforcement

Like with all aspects of dog training, positive reinforcement is the best way to get results. When your dog is gentle and well-behaved around your child, reward them. This can either be with a treat or a high value reward, like a play with their favourite tug toy.

Give one-to-one time

When a new baby arrives in the family, it’s normal for your fur baby to find the change in dynamics tricky at first. Take opportunities when you can to spend one-to-one time playing with your dog with an interactive toy to make sure they know they are special too.

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How do you make sure your child and dog enjoy a positive relationship? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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