How to keep the peace between your fur babies and your human babies
Hey y’all! It’s Jess again.
This week’s blog will be part of a series. I am a huge believer that dogs are amazing friends for kiddos! I hope these posts will make you more aware of the interactions between your fur babies and your human babies so we can keep them all safe!
Everyone has heard stories about a dog who bit an infant or toddler. If you are a dog owner, it is your biggest fear. When we hear stories about a once-trusted dog that bit the child it always loved, everyone is confused and the question on everyone’s mind is “why?”
It starts with us.
We often see our children bothering our beloved fur babies and believe that because our pup doesn’t react then that they will just continue to deal with any annoyance without ever exploding. The sad fact is that that is not always the case and a dog who reaches their boiling point, can lead to tragic endings.
We must teach our babies and toddlers which interactions are appropriate and which ones aren’t. As adults, we are able to recognize the signs of annoyance or irritation in our pets but our babies do not so we need to be aware and interfere when necessary.
Let’s discuss the most common occurrences. When we think about it, many of the instances that lead a dog to bite are the same that lead parents like us to need breaks from our own children.
LET ME BREATHE
Have you ever had a day where your child is literally in your face and won’t give you any space? I am sure I don’t have to tell you how annoying these days are. Almost all children need to be taught what is a socially acceptable distance.
Now, imagine having no control over the child’s actions. Imagine not being able to say “please stop.” This is a dogs reality. It can be incredibly uncomfortable to a dog and lead them to react in unexpected ways.
WHY WON’T YOU LET ME REST?
Nobody likes to be bothered when they are sleeping. However, we are able to lock our doors when we need some time alone. Dogs need this same kind of safe space where they can go when they are overstimulated.
Parents need to ensure that children do not bother them in their space. If the child would like to interact with the dog when they are in their private area, they can call them and the dog can then choose to get up or stay. If the dog chooses to stay, it would be wise to let it be.
IT IS MY SPACE
Similarly to the scenario above where kids can be all up in your business, children can sometimes be all over you climbing all over you. I don’t know about you but I am not a fan. Why would any dog be? Nobody likes their personal space invaded.
Let’s think about it for a little longer– when a toddler steps on your chest or elbows your ribs, it makes you react. A dog also reacts when you step on their tail or elbow their ribs. A dog’s natural instinct when faced with pain can often be to snap or nip in order to warn us but can lead to injury when it’s a fragile toddler. This is what we are all trying to avoid.
Why do kids think jumping out of nowhere to scare us is hilarious? It is the absolute worst and always put me on edge. Dogs are much more sensitive to sounds (https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/sounds-only-dogs-can-hear/) than humans and can be easily frazzled by screaming.
DO NOT TOUCH MY FOOD
Imagine you get your favorite food and just when you are in the middle of enjoying it, you see tiny hands sneak in to take your food.
I am big on sharing but most people aren’t. For those who aren’t, this can easily be irritating behavior.
Dogs feel the exact same way. They don’t want anyone bothering them during their meal times and parents should teach their children to leave their dogs alone during mealtimes.
DON’T TOUCH MY STUFF
Kids are ridiculously fast and can quickly get into our stuff if not being watched. My daughter is a straight up ninja and can empty my bag in about 3 seconds. Dogs have their own belongings that they don’t necessarily always want touched. If the dogs are having playtime with the children, then it would be acceptable but if a dog is cuddling with their favorite soft toy and your child takes it from them, you can imagine this would lead to some irritation.
Dogs are not alone in the things they find irritating. It is good for us to put ourselves in their positions at times and see how we would feel in those situations. Let’s keep all our babies (including fur ones) safe!
Dogs make it very clear when they are uncomfortable and I will be discussing those behaviors in my next post but for now, we would all be wise to keep an eye on our children’s interactions with our furry pets.
In the end, all we want is all our babies (animal and human) to love each other and give us some sweet moments.