There are certain mistakes kids make with dogs and when the family dog turns on a child, nobody’s happy. The incident can be as mild as a tooth scratching the skin or as tragic as a fatal mauling. Such acts seem incomprehensible but some parents refuse to look at the unpalatable truth. In most cases, the child provoked the attack. Despite this, the dog involved is usually euthanized or given to a shelter.
At the heart of the problem are unfair expectations and ignoring the canine thinking process. Parents expect pets to have endless patience with children, while in the canine world, dogs allow things up to a point before disciplining another dog. A dog cannot think like a person. They don’t know that their families expect them to tolerate what is essentially abuse at the hands of kids.
Very often, when a dog attacks, it’s been tormented for weeks or months. Placed in the same position, we wouldn’t expect a person to suffer this type of behavior from a child for even one day.
- Pretending the Dog is a Horse
This is a major problem today. Many parents think it’s cute when their child rides the dog like a horse. There are even experienced breeders that post photos of kids sitting on their German Shepherds as “proof” of the bloodline’s good nature. This problem is two-fold. Even a young child is a heavy object for a pet’s back and can result in injuries. Secondly, in dog language, when another dog climbs on top of you it’s aggressive and dominating behavior. Dogs don’t see horsey-horsey as a game at all.
- Fiddling with their Food
Two of the strongest canine drives are the need to mate and eat. Food is a valuable resource and dogs have an innate understanding not to bother each other while eating. An offender wandering too close is quickly corrected. For this reason, kids that bother the dog at its food bowl is facing an almost certain bite. Once again, not because your pet is a delinquent child hater. The youngster is up against a very strong and natural instinct that owners must respect.
- Invading a Dog’s Space and Senses
A pet can also get upset when children steal their toys or tease them with it. Another trigger involves a dog’s personal space. Just like people, they have a zone around their body that’s private. A child that keeps hugging a dog, pulling on its ears or yelling at the animal might cause problems. Additionally, when pets snooze, they should not be bothered.
- Rough Handling
Some kids like physically active games and want to include their pets. However, sometimes this type of rough-housing is scary or painful to dogs. Regrettably, some children enjoy getting rough with dogs and abusing them on purpose. Both are a recipe for disaster.
Dogs make fantastic pets for the whole family. However, adults are the only responsible creature in the room. Dogs operate on a different species level. Kids cannot always control themselves. It’s up to the parents to supervise and teach younger family members to treat dogs with the kindness and respect they would like for themselves.