Below are some tips to help have a contented family pet, particularily where there are children and dogs together
- It is very important to choose a dog/breed that fits into your way of life. Be sure that you have the time to properly socialise your dog and fulfil your dogs needs on daily basis with mental and physical exercise.This is a must to have a well balanced dog.
- The advantages of spaying and nurturing are endless! We encourage pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs as a responsible means to prevent accidental breeding resulting in unwanted puppies and will prevent your male dog from roaming if he happened to get loose and scents a bitch in heat. Spaying and neutering can also be very beneficial for the health of your dog.
- As a dog owner you are responsible not only for your own dog’s well being but for the status of dogs everwhere. One irresponsible dog owner in town can make life difficult for dog owners all over. Owning a friendly, clean, well-mannered dog reflects positively on the species.
- Respect the law, always obey the Control of Dogs Act, this applies to all breeds.
- If for whatever reason you may have to re-home your dog be responsible and be sure to investigate the potiental new owner thoroughly, never just hand your dog over to a stranger. All too often dogs can end up in the wrong hands.
- Take up basic obedience classes and get the whole family involved, your children can have fun and learn more about dogs and dog care by participating. This is a great way to have fun and you will bond even more. It also gives the family a greater knowledge to handle and control their dog.
And some tips for those who have both children and dogs in their lives
- Do your homework; educate yourself and most importantly your children about what is involved in being a responsible safe dog owner. Among children, the incidence of dog-bite injuries is the highest for those between the ages of 5 to 9 years of age. With this in mind it’s important for aduts to have a basic understanding of what preventative measures they can take to keep their children from being bitten. If you’re planning on adopting a dog from a shelter make sure to enquire about the dog’s temperament according to the staff and volunteers at the facility.
- Owners of dogs should always be vigilant of small children. Children and dogs can be great companions but they also require supervision when playing together. Your dog may be ‘good with kids’, but what if your dog encounters a kid that is not good with dogs? Very small children should never be left alone with a dog, no matter how stable his temperament. Before bringing a new dog into your home, make sure you assess your child’s level of comfort around dogs. If your child exhibits any fear or apprehension around dogs they could actually trigger a dog’s aggression. It’s far better to hold off on adopting a dog for a while than risk your child’s safety. Work on addressing your child’s fear issues around dogs before considering bringing a dog into your household
- Owners should be vigilant when a strange child is about to approach their dog and be vigilant of the approach itself. If your dog for whatever reason feels uncomfortable around children never force the issue. Advise your child not to be the first to approach an unknown dog. Allow a new dog to practice the ritual of smelling your child first before interacting with him. Teach your children that dogs don’t like to be hugged around the neck or kissed, children are often bitten the face or neck as a result of this practice. Always seek professional advice, after all prevention is the best cure
- Always be aware that any breed from the smallest to the largest of breeds has the potiental to inflict serious and/or fatal injuries to a small child. Never be under any illusions that it is only particular breeds that have these capabilities. Never allow your child to taunt or tease a dog, especially if he is eating or protecting a high value item such as his food bowl, bone or toy. Never assume that your dog is fool proof around your child. Ultimately, your responsibitity is to supervise your child when she is interacting with a dog.
- Teach your children about strange dogs, teach them never to approach a dog they don’t know, and if a dog is with its owner then they should ask the permission of the owner first. Common examples of body language that indicate a dog does not want to interact with a child might include stiff of ver still posturing, lip smacking, growling or raising their tail as the child approaches. Tell your child to avoid giving direct eye contact to a dog showing these signs and slowly back away from the dog. Counsel your child to never scream or run from a dog that shows these signs as this may trigger his prey instinct to go after the child.
Reproduced with kind permission from Ireland’s Pitbull Terrier Association