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The media likes to push the idea that nothing goes together better than dogs and kids, but the alarming number of dog bites inflicted on children every year suggests that this may be nothing but a myth. Parents like to post videos and pictures of their kids interacting with dogs in a “cute” way, but most of these images make the dog trainers at Wag Ur Tail Dog Training in Stafford Virginia cringe since the behavior being depicted is a bite waiting to happen. However, dogs and children can happily co-exist and brighten each other’s lives if the dog and child are properly trained and supervised.

Pre-baby

In between the birth and the decision to have a baby there are at least nine months during which the dog can be prepared for the addition to the family. Prospective parents should consult a dog trainer, such as those at Wag Ur Tail Dog Training in Stafford Virginia and Dog Training in Fredericksburg VA. Dog trainers generally recommend you brush up on your dog’s basic obedience (sit, stay, down, come) and crate/go to mat training during the pregnancy. In addition, it is a good idea to expose the dog to recorded sounds of babies.

man holding baby and dog

Newborns

The trainers at Wag Ur Tail Dog Training in Stafford Virginia urge all parents to never let a dog interact with a newborn. There should be a sturdy door or crate in between the dog and the newborn at all times. This is because even the friendliest dogs tend to not recognize newborns as “human” and instead seem to think they are prey animals. There have been a number of unfortunate incidents where a dog ate or tried to eat the baby. Even small dogs can easily kill a newborn.

Infants and toddlers

During this period of the child’s life, the parent needs to closely supervise all interactions between the dog and the child. The child needs to be gently prevented from doing anything to the dog that might be perceived as threatening by the dog, and the dog needs to be rewarded for being calm and relaxed around the child.

dog playing with kid

Young children

Children between toddlers and age 10 are those most prone to being bitten by dogs. Young children are commonly bitten by dogs in self-defense because they try to roughhouse with the dog or do things to the dog it doesn’t like, such as hug it; during this age period, it is important to teach the children what is and what is not appropriate behavior around dogs, and also how to read signs that the dog is not happy about what is happening. Trainers at Wag Ur Tail Dog Training in Stafford Virginia can assist parents in these endeavors.
Conclusion

Please don’t be that family that gives their dog away just because they had a baby, and also please don’t be that family that experiences the horror of the family dog suddenly biting their child. With help from Wag Ur Tail Dog Training in Stafford Virginia and Dog Training in Fredericksburg VA you can keep your children safe around your dog and they can happily co-exist and actually experience that longed-for dog and child bond.