Dogs can be great playmates for kids, but can quickly become a deadly danger. Whether it is about strangers or own dogs. When in contact between children and dogs, some precautions must be taken.
The wolf in the dog
If one looks at the behavior of wolves, two things are characteristic above all: On the one hand a pronounced hunting instinct, which ensures the survival of the animals, on the other hand a very intelligent and highly developed social behavior in the pack. Both properties have kept the house dog, depending on the dog and breed times more, sometimes less. In addition, it is typical for dogs (as for all other pack animals too) that they avoid conflicts within their own “pack” – if it is somehow possible.
Since dogs are purely instinctive, it is up to humans to judge and control the situations in which the dog’s original behaviors can become dangerous to children.
The right education
An important cornerstone for the fact that dogs are not a danger to children is a consistent education with clear rules and this applies to both the child and the dog. Both need a sheltered area to retreat to. Situations that pose a potential hazard, such as walking around with food in hand or pulling the animal’s tail or ears, are taboo for the child. The dog must not be allowed to jump up or even pinch or otherwise dominate the child. Only when the pack hierarchy is 100% clear for a dog, a low-risk integration of dog and child into the pack family succeeds. No matter how good the education of the dog is and how clear the rules are set, dogs and toddlers should never be left alone.
A very big potential danger is that the dog is forbidden to show his instinctive warning signals such as growling, felling, baring teeth. This can result in a dog going off to a child at some point without warning.
The right behavior
The dog is determined by its hunting instinct and body language. Accordingly, its behavior is often triggered by human reactions. Especially when dealing with foreign dogs four basic rules should be heeded:
Never run away. This behavior can trigger the hunting instinct in a dog. Take off in a comfortable walk from the dog without looking at him.
Not always when a dog wags his tail, he is friendly. Also, the excitement before the attack can be expressed by wagging.
Do not lean over a dog from above, he could take that as a threat.
This is especially true for children: they must not take anything away from the dog, this could trigger aggression and attack.
Children should pet other dogs only if they have previously spoken to the owner. Not every dog knows children and many feel the unknown body language and the bright voices as a threat.
Precautions in the coexistence of dog and child
No matter how good and harmonious the relationship between your child and your dog, you should always follow the rule number one: Never leave your child and your dog alone with each other. This is not only true when the two are in a room. Even if the dog sleeps in the kitchen and the child plays in the nursery – a few minutes are enough and the situation can escalate. Be sure to tell your child right from the start that a dog is not a toy, but has its own needs, and more importantly, that a child should never hold a dog when the dog wants to retreat – this is one of the most common dog bites with children.
How safe the dog and the child meet is entirely the responsibility of the human being. The dog reacts to its environment, the child is impulse-controlled and knows only what has been conveyed to him. Only when there are clear rules and fixed boundaries, the coexistence of dog and child is to blame.