Teaching Dog Safety To Children: A Quick Guide


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Dogs can be a great addition to any family. That includes families with young children. Understanding and teaching children safety with dogs is going to be imperative in the beginning.

Whether you are adopting your dog from a breeder as a puppy or considering a dog from a rescue, dog safety for children is essential to ensuring everyone remains safe and the process is much more stress free.

Teaching dog safety to children is even imperative and important if you don’t plan to adopt a dog.

The chances a friend, family member or just an individual from the neighborhood walking their dog when your kid is outside, or present are high.

Ensuring your children understand the best behaviors and practices when interacting with your dog or a stranger’s dog is critical and can help avoid a harmful mistake in the future.

That is what the rest of this brief discussion is going to cover today.

Everything you should understand about dog safety and how to pass that information to your children in an effective manner.

Let’s dive into it.

Teaching Dog Safety To Children Is 100% Necessary

First and foremost, I think it’s important to state that teaching dog safety to children shouldn’t be optional.

Especially for the families that are planning to adopt a dog or rescue a dog.

Most dogs are going to behave and be much better with children than you may believe.

However, you would be surprised at how easily children can push a dog’s buttons to a point where they may act out of character.

Trust me, I adopted a Jack Russell Terrier which is known to be one of the more impatient dog breeds when it comes to being annoyed of handled incorrectly.

At the time, my son was only 2 years old, so I had to go through the process of teaching dog safety to him to ensure my Jack Russell and son had mutual respect for each other.

This ultimately is what’s going to help avoid biting, nipping, aggressive behaviors and the potential for any injuries.

Point being, it’s super important and necessary.

Now, lets talk about the specifics of what to make sure your children understand when it comes to dog safety.

1.) Start With How To Approach A New Dog Or Puppy

This tip can apply to your dog if you have recently adopted or any dog you may encounter.

You should always teach your kids that dogs may seem sweet and look cute but to approach slowly.

This is the best practice to avoid startling a dog or making it feel as if it needs to enter protection mode.

Children often get excited around a new dog. Teach your child to greet slowly and calmly.

This can work great with a new puppy as well that may be in scared in their new environment and trying to learn the world around them during the socialization process.

Beagle and little boy. Children often get excited around a new dog. Teach your child to greet slowly and calmly.

Slow greetings and calm approaches are a great way to stay safe and make the dog and child feel comfortable with greetings and interactions.

2.) Teach Your Children Dogs Get Scared Too

A lot of individuals don’t understand that dogs enter what is known as a fear cycle after being adopted.

This could apply to a rescue dog as well depending on the dog’s age.

The point is that dogs get scared too.

It’s important to teach your kids that sudden fast movements, rough play, or loud noises can scare a dog as well.

Boy yelling at dog. Teach your kids that sudden fast movements, rough play, or loud noises can scare a dog.

For a puppy, this may not have the capability of turning into aggression or anything dangerous, but it could cause a puppy to stay in a fear cycle for longer or to have trouble adjusting to a new environment.

Your children need to understand that dogs are not toys and have feelings too.

Most importantly, teach your children that dogs can get scared too.

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3.) Calmness Always Wins

With a 2-year-old son at the time of the adoption of my Jack Russell Terrier, this is one of the safety tips that I struggled with the most.

Teaching calm behaviors and a calm lifestyle around a hyper dog breed can be imperative for dog safety.

I’m not stating that your children can’t be kids and do what kids do.

I’m stating that it’s important to teach your children that constant commotion, rough housing or even stealing the toys from a young dog or even an older dog can eventually spark a moment of aggression.

My kid for example use to love taking my Jack Russell’s rope toy and then chasing her with it.

While this ultimately never caused aggression, it certainly could have.

Teach your kids to have respect for your dogs, other individuals’ dogs and not to be constantly causing commotion.

Calm behavior rubs off on the animals in the room and can help ensure a safe and inviting environment for a new dog in the home.

Girl laying on ground with Golden Retriever. Calm behavior rubs off on the animals in the room and can help ensure a safe and inviting environment.

4.) Don’t Bother A Dog That’s Eating

I’m sure everyone reading this has heard this tip before.

Teaching your children to never bother a dog while eating is very important.

Unfortunately, in my household, it was my older dog that didn’t do great at this and would frequently bother my Jack Russell while she was eating.

This has caused her to be protective of her food ever since.

The same needs to be taught to the children.

If there is potential for aggression or biting and nipping to take place, it’s almost always going to be over an object, food, treats or inappropriate handling.

Toddler girl and Chocolate Lab puppy. Teaching your children to never bother a dog while eating is very important.

Make sure your children understand that when the dogs are eating, they should be left alone and given space.

5.) Supervision Is Still Required

No matter how many safety tips you implement and no matter how many safety lessons you provide to your children about dogs, supervision is still required.

At least until a certain point has been reached.

For some, this will be able to relax more at a certain age for the dog or the child.

For others, it will take some time for the children and the dog proving themselves for you too feel comfortable that nothing would ever happen.

Everyone will be different when it comes to when supervision can decrease or be completely removed.

Until that point is reached, supervision when your kids and dogs are interacting should still always be provided.

Happy family with dog. Supervision when your kids and dogs are interacting should still always be provided.

The Takeaway

Dog safety for children is a topic not covered enough.

Especially as something every new dog owner should be researching and implementing before they adopt a dog.

This is ultimately going to keep your dog and child safe and everyone in the home feeling comfortable.

Ultimately, this environment is going to help your dog adapt, socialize and be more comfortable as the new member of the family.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your new dog and teaching dog safety to your young children along the way.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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