Children together with dogs

For many, raising a child with a dog is a dream come true. It's both very cosy and fun to see your child develop as strong a bond as you have with the dog in question, especially if it's a puppy - if the child is part of the dog's life from the start, the bond between them can be extra strong.

However, there are also some risks in letting the puppy grow up with the child, as the two can accidentally hurt each other without meaning to. For it to be as fun and cosy as you want it to be, a lot of adult supervision is needed. If you've been thinking about getting a puppy to grow up with the baby, this article could be very helpful!

How to create a safe upbringing

The most important thing when you want your puppy to grow up with your child is that you, as the responsible adult, make sure that they both learn how to treat each other. This means that the child needs to learn how dogs work, while you need to get the puppy used to being around children in the right way.

The child must learn about dogs

A common reason why the puppy and the child get into a fight is that the child doesn't know how dogs work. What the child needs to understand is that the puppy can become afraid of children if the child does something to hurt it, which in turn can lead to aggression and dangerous behaviour both inside and outside the home.

Of course, the child should be allowed to meet the puppy, but you must be vigilant and teach the child how to behave around it. It is your responsibility to show the child how to pet, cuddle and play with the puppy in a kind and loving way.

The child needs to learn about respect and care in order for the relationship to be safe for both of them. However, it is also important in this context that you teach the child that you never approach strange dogs without asking. As the child gets used to spending time with the dog at home, one consequence may be that they want to pet all the other dogs too - this can be dangerous.

What is the cause of the problem?

Very unfortunate scenarios can lead to the child being bitten by the puppy. As unlikely as it may sound that this would happen to your particular puppy (or dog) and child, it is important to keep this in mind - it has happened a number of times, and for a variety of reasons.

Should this happen, it is common to immediately blame the dog for biting or hurting the child. Although this is a natural reaction, in many cases it is not the dog's fault at all that the child was bitten, but rather the child's behaviour which in turn led to misunderstanding on the part of the dog. If the child has handled the dog very carelessly and given innocently threatening signals, the dog may become aggressive and bite back. To reduce the risk of these scenarios occurring, you need to teach your child about behaviour around dogs and deal with the situation based on the cause of the problem. Don't forget supervision!

A good relationship is important

Another important point for the puppy and child to play well and safely
together is for you, the adult, to ensure that their relationship is properly nurtured. As an adult, you must remember that all responsibility for the relationship between the dog and the child lies with you, how you teach both the child and the puppy, and how you act in different situations. It is often said that a particular breed is a "good child's dog", but this is often not entirely true. The dog's behavior around children depends entirely on its experience with children, with positive versus negative ones making a big difference. So if you want them to be able to socialise without problems, you need to make sure they are positive.

To create an even better relationship between child and puppy, you can make sure the two perform different activities together. If it's not reading homework together on the sofa, it could be practising different tricks and exercises for searching, playing hide and seek, or taking a class. This is especially fun if the child is a little older and wants to take responsibility for his or her own learning.

Children and dogs - something to think about!

  • Children need to learn about dogs to understand how to behave around them

  • It is easy for the dog to misunderstand the child's behaviour, which can lead to the child being bitten or injured by the dog. Don't mistrust the root cause!

  • The responsibility for creating a safe, secure and comfortable upbringing for both dog and child lies with the adults

  • Focus on creating a good relationship between the puppy and the child

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