Top Tips for Raising Children with Dogs

We all know that dogs and children can have an amazing bond. Certainly Hollywood loves to depict beautiful relationships between dogs and kids. But we all need to remember that no matter how ‘domesticated’ a dog is they can still react to situations. This is why it is so important to teach children to respect dogs. No dog should be placed in a position where it feels like it needs to protect itself. Equally so no family wants to run the risk of raising children around a snappy unpredictable dog. So what can you do to ensure everyone gets along?

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Top Tips for Protecting Dogs and Children

Don’t leave dogs and young children unattended
No matter how much you trust your dog they shouldn’t be left with small children. Small children are unpredictable and they love to grab. How would you feel if you had a small person hanging off of your tail? Exactly it’s going to hurt and you are going to react. A dog is no different. Don’t put them in this position.

Give dogs space to eat in peace.
I know like they leave you alone when you have a biscuit in hand! But dogs can be protective over food. Teach your children to leave them to eat their tea in peace. Its great if they can help out with feeding, but when that bowl goes down it’s time to step back.

Discourage small children from feeding dogs by hand
This is tough when you are weaning. Let’s face it dogs are a fantastic clean up crew. What you don’t want is for them to always associate the kids with food. Feeding dogs from the table is a pretty bad habit anyway. Don’t let them beg and try to ensure they are not stealing food from small hands.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Cardoso Foto via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Gabriel Cardoso Foto via Compfight cc

Keep them out of rough play.
My big boy Pie loves a bit of wrestling. He gets very over-excited and jumps all over me and the furniture. Great fun for all. The dogs get very excited and start jumping about too. They are playfully snappy and will often claw at us. If things get too loud or frantic they can get quite protective. A dog doesn’t know the difference between play and a real threat. Try not to put them in a position where they think someone needs their protection.

Remember it is their home too
It’s very easy to allow the kids to rule the roost. But you invited this dog into your home and now it’s his home too. Make sure they have somewhere quiet to go. Especially if you have other children around. They need a safe secure space where they can get away from it all. Don’t allow the kids to chase them or aggravate them. Encouraging games of fetch or playing with the dog supervised is great for building trust between kids and dogs. Read the signs though, when the dogs had enough give them some space.

ElvisClooth / Pixabay

Dogs can bring so much to a family. They can be great companions for all of you. If you can encourage children to be respectful of dogs it will make for a fantastic family dynamic. Long summer walks and winter snuggles with a dog can be amongst the best experiences for children. Just a few sensible steps will hopefully mean a long and happy relationship between you and your pet.

The Great Car Journey

 

It all started like any other car  journey from my parents back home. I gathered the various items that had been scattered to the 4 corners of the house. I then stuffed them into our suitcases before attempting to play Tetris with various items in the boot. I don’t know why I I insist on bringing the pram wheels.  We never use them but I like to be prepared. So having finally stuffed everything in I begin the task of wrestling Pie into his shoes and persuading him that yes he will need a wee before he gets in the car.

Meanwhile Nana is changing Pudding and attempting to feed her some milk. Nappy change went well, getting milk in her, not so good. Pudding is one of those babies who eats only when she wants too and all of natures elements are in line. The sausage dogs have yet another toilet run. My dad mentions something about my boy sausage but I figure it’s probably nothing and finally I load two children and two dogs into the car. Phew what a mission, but least now they are all confined it shouldn’t be too bad right?

Sausage Dog

Oh had I known then what I know now…. We set off and I tell Pie we will need to stop for petrol, and he immediately starts listing all the things he wants from the garage. We stop and fill up, I notice as I am paying they have one of those traffic board things and its flagging up problems on the M25. I moan to the chap at the desk, he laughs and says we usually just leave that one up as there is always some problem! At this point I think; it’s all right for you mate you haven’t got the equivalent of an H bomb sitting in your car….

I climb back in, surprisingly all is quiet and Pie takes it quite well that I have not brought sweets. Quick check on Google maps shows the M25 is at standstill. Damn, work out new route to join the motorway a bit further up, battery on phone really low but I reckon it will last, off we go….

The first part of the journey is a doddle, all kids and dogs have a snooze and I sing along quite happily to the radio, admiring some of the beautiful towns near where my parents live. As we join the motorway I am feeling quite smug all the cars are moving quite well, my plan has worked. Well it has for 3 minutes and then we found the traffic. An hour later Pie woke up and we were still sat on the motorway. I handed him a sponge finger and we talked about the aeroplanes that kept flying over our heads. It was at this point Pie said ‘never mind the sick Spotty Dog, I have some on my trousers too it’s ok’ to which I said ‘what sick mate?’ Well it transpired that the boy sausage had been sick on his bed.

When the traffic stopped again I turned round to see two huge piles of sick on the dog bed and my boy sausage looking very sorry for himself. My girl sausage was disgusted with him and she had got down and was lying in Pies footwell. Pie just shrugged and said never mind Mummy, I couldn’t believe he was taking it so well!

It was 5 minutes later when Pie started laughing like a mad person that things really went down hill. There was a slight squelchy bottom noise from the back, followed by ‘Mummy, Toby is having a poo’. Good lord that wasn’t a poo, that was explosive dog diarrhoea, all over the back of the car! I can’t even describe to you the smell, but suffice to say in a hot car it was pretty awful! Pie and I looked at the stand still traffic and we just laughed and laughed, what else could we do?

I have to say an hour and half later we were not laughing quite so hard. Pudding had woke for a feed and was screaming her lungs out, the air in the car can only be described as chewy. Finally we turned off the motorway and into the service station. The clean up operation was a nightmare. Pie was a star, he stood outside the car for 20 mins while I removed the dogs and tied them to a tree, threw their bed in a bin and wiped the whole back seat down with a baby wipe. (Honestly I haven’t found anything that a pack of baby wipes can’t clean).

Once the dogs were loaded back into the car, we went to grab a MacDonalds, because at times like this the only thing you can do is eat. Unfortunately we had to go back and eat this in the car, which was still pretty grim but we couldn’t leave the dogs in the car on their own. Once everyone was fed and watered we got back on the road and finally got home after 6 hours of travelling, luckily with no further disasters!

This trip has taught me a valuable lesson, when Grandad says ‘your dogs got a bit of an upset tummy’, you should listen to him and take travelling precautions. Suffice to say the car has had to be valeted today.

Photo Credit: MAIDMENT via Compfight cc

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