Fear of Children
It is very normal for dogs to be scared of children or one particular child, especially if they have not been raised with children or have been teased by them in the past. Even one experience can create an aversion or fear that is hard to erase and this causes all kinds of issues, especially when the dog lives in the same home as the child. It is also the reason why so many children are bitten by dogs. Children have less impulse control and tend to run around more, speaking in high pitched voices, which can be overwhelming.
If you have a dog that is scared of your child or other children that visit your home you must take the situation seriously and instead of punishing your dog for showing negative behavior, find ways to make him more confident around the source of his fear. Be very careful when training your dog with children.
How to Help Your Dog Be Less Fearful of Children
- If your dog is scared of other children visiting your home, there is one simple solution: management. Find a safe zone that your dog can go to where children are not allowed. This might be in a room behind a baby gate or closed door. Be aware of where the visiting children are and never trust that they might not open the door or try and touch the dog over the gate. Always be there to supervise.
- If your dog is scared of kids outside the home keep him away from playgrounds or parks where children play. No dog should be running around off leash in or near a playground.
- Start having calm kids walk past at a safe distance and throw your dog’s favorite treats to her. The dog must always be leashed and a good distance away but if she sees that good things come to her any time a child walks past she might begin to look forward to the presence of children.
- Never have kids try to greet your dog or come into her space. Teach any kids that will be visiting your household to pay no attention to your fearful dog. This will take pressure off and give her the space she needs.
- Teach kids to be calm around your dog.
- Never put a child in harm’s way in order to ‘train’ your dog. All techniques should be performed slowly with emphasis on safety.
- Teach your children and visiting friends to be K-9 Safe and Smart. This will empower them with knowledge and understanding that will keep them safe.
- Always supervise babies and young children around a dog and never leave them alone together, even for a moment.
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