If you’re like me, an animal loving adult, you likely grew up with pets in your household for as long as you can remember. As an owner of black Labrador Retrievers my choice of breed followed along with what I had known as a child; Labradors have always been my best friends and closest companions ever since they were taller than me.
Dogs and kids are often natural friends and companions. After all, when conditions are right they share the same loving parents and have the same ability to approach life with awe and innocent joy. However, with National Kids And Pets Day on April 26, it is a good time to think about ways to ensure that the relationship between your kids and your pets is safe and harmonious for everyone.
Training is essential for your dog to fit in to your household and understand your rules. Remember that your pet is not actually a furry human, but that he/she is a completely different species. However, it is not just your pet that will need to be trained. Whether you are bringing a pet into a home with kids or kids into a home with pets, as much as your pet needs to understand the rules of life with humans, your children need to understand the rules involving your pets.
Training your children how to interact with your dog or cat is essential. Teach your children how to pet your dog or cat, whether or not they are allowed to pick up the pet, how they should pick up or put down the pet, whether or not they may hug the pet. Discourage your children from playing by waving their hands and fingers in front of your pets, particularly when you have a young puppy in the house who is learning not to bite during play.
Remember that many human gestures and forms of touching make pets uncomfortable; not all pets will tolerate hugging or being petted from above their head. Doing research into cat and dog body language will help you teach your children how to properly touch your pets so that the experience is rewarding to everyone.