Teaching Children To Greet Dogs – Setting Ground Rules

kid plays with her dogChildren love dogs. Maybe it’s their friendly doggie grin or their affectionate companionship that children love, but regardless of the reason, it is important for children to learn how to properly greet a dog. This will help keep the child safe when meeting new dogs and ensure that they always have a positive view of our beloved canine companions.

Always Ask Permission Before Petting a Dog

It’s amazing to see how many children run right up to a dog they do not know and start petting it without asking first. Some will ask, but proceed to pet the dog before they receive an answer. Not all dogs like meeting people. Children should always ask permission from the dog’s owner before petting a dog they don’t know. Reminding them that not all dogs are friendly and that some dogs will bite is important and will help keep your child safe when encountering strange dogs.

Running is Not Allowed

Running towards or away from a dog is never a good idea. It’s natural for children to get excited when they see a dog, but running can send the wrong signals. Although the child may be excited, the dog may be frightened or feel threatened by this behavior. They may also see the child as prey and give chase. Instead, teach children to walk slowly towards the dog when greeting them and slowly away from the dog when leaving.

Keep Your Face at a Safe Distance

For some reason, children love to get up close and personal with dogs when greeting them. They have a tendency to put their tiny little faces right up against the dog’s face. While some dogs may tolerate this behavior, others may not be so kind, especially if they’re not a well-trained or socialized dog. In the dog world, getting that close can be very threatening. It is best to teach children to keep their face at a safe distance from any dog.

Keep Your Voice Down

Some dogs are frightened of loud noises. Others may become aggressive or panic when too much noise or shrieking is going on all at once. By teaching children to keep their voices down and approach a dog in a quiet manner, they will appear far less threatening and the dog will be more welcoming of their affection.

Stand at the Dog’s Side

Many experts recommend teaching children to stand beside the dog when first greeting him. By standing in front of the dog, the child’s body language may seem threatening to the dog. Standing to the side also gives the owner a chance to prevent the dog from snapping or biting at a child.

Be Polite and Calm

As a general rule, children should be polite and calm when greeting dogs. It’s easy for children to get excited when they see a dog, especially if the dog seems enthusiastic to meet them. However, inappropriate behavior can lead to a serious bite or attack. Never allow a child to:

  • Pull on a dog’s fur
  • Jump on a dog’s back
  • Pinch at the dog’s skin
  • Pull on the dog’s tail
  • Pet the dog’s legs or mouth

If a child is polite and respects these rules, the dog will likely be open to their affection and enjoy making a new friend.

It’s a full time job raising a child and keeping them safe. Part of this job includes teaching them how to interact with dogs safely. If a parent can do this, then they are setting the groundwork for a healthy and happy relationship between canines and humans.

Author: Ashley Smith is a freelance writer for SEOMap.com, busy mom of 2 and a dog owner. Ashley uses her love of writing to share articles on a variety of topics.