Teaching Kid's about Pet's (Article from Care.com )
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 2:14PM
Don Brooks

Dogs have long been the storied companions of children. Many of us grew up with dogs and considered them our most faithful childhood friends, and for many parents, the question is not "if" their children will have a dog --- but "when."

Adults do sometimes worry, however, about how best to introduce a new dog to the household, or how to develop positive relationships between their children and dogs. Even families that have children but no dogs -- or dogs but no children -- benefit from ensuring that kids and animals get along safely and happily.

Paul Mann, Founder and CEO of Fetch! Pet Care, a nationwide professional pet-sitting anddog-walking franchise based in Berkeley, Calif., said dogs are highly influenced by the behavior of children in the family and often play an important role in their lives.

"Children often spend considerably more time with the dog than adults do," Mann said. "On a positive note, dogs offer wonderful companionship for children and often give them a sense of responsibility and security. Furthermore, because of their shorter life span, dogs help children to understand bereavement and come to terms with it."

Unfortunately, there can be negative side effects to the child-dog relationship. "Children can sometimes tease and be cruel to dogs, and may inadvertently encourage the types of behavior you want to avoid, such as jumping up, nipping and begging," Mann said.

It is important to educate children about dogs and other animals, and for adults to exhibit respectful, positive behavior toward pets, Mann said. "Pets are now true family members and should be treated that way by the whole family. There are certain ways we want children to treat their brothers and sisters, and those things are clearly articulated to everyone in the family. Well, the same needs to be done with pets."

Following are some tips for building positive relationships between children and dogs from Mann and the American Kennel Club:

One way to introduce a child to a dog, Mann said, is to ask the child to put a dog treat on the palm of his or her hand, with the fingers close together. Let the dog approach the child to retrieve the treat. The child should hold the hand beneath the dog's mouth level, and keep it still.

With proper introductions and ongoing supervision, children and dogs can share a wonderful family life.



Article originally appeared on Pet World (http://petworldfl.com/).
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