Is there anything more beautiful than the relationship between a child and a dog? It can be a friendship that grows over the years and becomes an unbreakable bond.
But how do you initiate that first introduction?
Your child should be taught to always be very calm and gentle around any dog, that way the dog can make the decision over which way the interaction goes - whether they want to stay and meet this new friend, or walk away because they aren’t interested right now.
When meeting a new dog children should learn to put out their hand first to let the dog smell it, rather than going straight in with the first stroke. Once the dog familiarises himself with the smell of the child, try and get him to sit, this can encourage your little one to stay still and calm too. It’s best to stroke down from the back of the dog's head, or behind their ears - most dogs will love this.
Children can often be quite heavy handed so they should be reminded to be gentle and quiet, and to praise the dog by saying his/her name, using a friendly and gentle tone. Once the dog gets used to this little, clumsy handed human, they will begin to relax a bit more around them and the lifelong friendship can begin to form.
Please remember, dogs can sometimes be unpredictable so it’s always best to keep an eye on them around any child.
What if your child doesn’t know the dog and neither do you?
If your child (now a crazy dog person, just like you) decides that they want to make friends with every dog they see, there are a few things that should be remembered.
Every dog is different so let your child know that they might not always be as friendly as their best friend back at home.
It’s also good to make sure to always ask an owner before going to stroke a new dog. No one knows a dog better than its owners, and they’ll be able to advise whether they think a ‘hello’ would be appreciated or not.
Remind them that those gentle hands are always key, especially when meeting a new dog for the first time.
As well as all this, children should be educated on the signs that say the dog isn’t very comfortable in the situation and know when they should step back and give him some space.
And remember - always keep an eye on those best friends, and make sure they’re not getting into any trouble.
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