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Dogs and Children


By Pete Eromenok

It is a wonderful sight to watch a child running and playing with their pet. Playing with a pet can build great memories for a lifetime. No matter what type of pet we had when we were youths, the memory we have is something like “ol’ blue was the best dog in the world…”

Every once in a while you run into that gem of a dog that needs very little training. They just seem to do whatever you want and never try to rock the boat, even as a pup.    Most dogs aren’t in this category!   Most normal dogs will play hard if you let them.

To a dog, a child really catalyses that rough play. Here’s why. Dogs do not see children the same way they see an adult.  Children move quickly, make high pitched sounds, and make obvious indications to the dog that they are not in charge.  Most young dogs see children as littermates!  Something to pull on or tackle. This rough play is all in fun, yet while the dog is engaged in this activity, it is learning who pushes who.  And to a dog that is control. Most behavior problems arise because the dog continually gets his own way. Simple obedience and a little behavior modification can turn things around quickly. Often, young dogs are sent away to other homes or even euthanized because of these obnoxious behaviors.  A little bit of corrective work without confusion is all that’s needed.  It takes a little work, and all roughhousing stops. After consistent intervention the dog will mature into a very nice dog. Our best accomplishments in life are done through effort.

It is difficult for a child to train a dog because of the immaturity of a child. Dogs require cut and dried clarity for accelerated learning. Children often send confusing signals to dogs. But mom and dad can get the results desired. The dog learns that when mom says no to nipping or tackling it’s the law. The adults in a family can establish a consistent standard that the dog can understand. Consistency is the key.  For example, let’s say that every day on your way to work you speed past a police officer and he only gives you a ticket once a year. You would be tempted to get away with it when you could!  Or if he stops you occasionally but only gives you a two-dollar fine, then that would not really deter you either. However if he slapped you with that one hundred dollar fine every time you went by you would stop speeding in a hurry! The motivation is enough so you wouldn’t try it again. It’s the same with dogs.  If you are consistent to apply the proper technique, things will change quickly.

So make lasting memories with your dog. Spend some time some quality time teaching it. Dogs are much happier when they know where they stand in relationship to your family. After all, dogs have a great desire to be a productive member of your pack.