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Found this very interesting article, regarding children & dogs. Although we have no children as yet, i thought those who do might find it useful. It makes quite an interesting read.

Research into the human-animal bond indicates that living with a pet may have some important benefits for children. Pets may enhance their self-esteem and help them to learn empathy. However, having a pet can also result in some negative consequences for both the child and the animal. Each has the potential to injure the other, and both can "get into trouble" for either not taking care of or not behaving correctly with each other. Good relationships between kids and pets don't just passively happen. As a parent, you will need to take an active role in forming the relationship between your children and your dog in order to make their interactions pleasant as well as safe for both the children and the animal.

Selecting a Dog

Age
Many people have a "warm and fuzzy" image of a puppy and a child growing up together. If you are thinking of getting a young puppy (less than 6 months) and you have young children, there are a few things to be considered. Adding a puppy to the family will feel somewhat like adding a new baby. Only this new baby can't wear diapers and it has needle-sharp puppy teeth! Puppies require lots of time, patience and training. They require almost constant supervision in order to work with normal puppy behaviors such as house soiling and chewing. Puppies also require socialization for normal behavior development. This means they need to be taken places, to be exposed to new things and to meet new people. If you already have young children who naturally require lots of care and time, will there be time to care for a puppy — another baby — as well??


Puppies, because they are babies, are somewhat fragile creatures. They may become frightened, or even injured, by well-meaning, curious young children who want to constantly pick them up, hug them or explore their bodies by pulling on tails or ears. All interactions between children and puppies should be closely supervised to minimize the chances of either being injured.
Puppies, although they can be very active and playful, also need quiet times to rest and sleep. They may also need to be fed three to four times a day, depending on their age. Parents will need to be sure a puppy's eating and nap times are consistently provided for, just as the children's are.

Dogs that grow up with children from puppyhood may be more tolerant of children, especially if they had good experiences with kids. However, older puppies (6 months to 1 year) and adult dogs can still do just fine with children with some help from you. Any dog new to a household is going to require some training, but not as much as a young puppy. Although puppies are wonderful, and it is exciting and rewarding to help them grow into wonderful companions, they WILL require significantly more time to train and supervise than an older dog. Are you up to the task?


Expectations

It is unrealistic to expect a child, regardless of age, to be the primary caretaker and have sole responsibility for caring for a dog. Not only do dogs need basic things like food, water and shelter, they also need to be played with, exercised and trained on a consistent basis. Teaching a dog the rules of the house and helping it become a good companion animal is too overwhelming a task for a young child. While responsible teen-agers may be up to the job, they may not be as interested in the family pet, as their own social need to be with their friends usually takes over at this age. Parents who are obtaining a dog "for the kids" or "to be our son's/daughter's dog" MUST be willing and prepared to be the dog's primary caretaker. Caring for a dog can be something that parents and children do TOGETHER.

Kids and dogs are not automatically going to start off with a wonderful relationship. These are two different species, and neither really understands the behavior and the needs of the other. Parents must be willing to teach both the dog and the children acceptable limits of behavior with each other.

Common Problems

The normal behaviors of children often present problems for dogs, and vice versa. Children move with quick, jerky movements, have high-pitched voices, and they often run rather than walk. All of these behaviors somewhat resemble the behavior of animals that wild canids (the dog's ancestors) prey upon. Almost all play behaviors in the dog are based on predatory behavior. Consequently dogs often react to these behaviors by chasing the children, nipping at their heels, jumping up at them, even trying to knock them down. While all the behaviors described are normal play behaviors for both kids and dogs, they can result in problems. Both your children and your dog will need lots of help and supervision from you so they can all learn how to behave around one another. An approach that is not helpful is to do nothing but punish the dog for his behavior. If he learns that being around children always results in "bad things" happening to him, he may become defensive in their presence. At first, children may need to play quietly around the dog until he becomes more comfortable and calm and the children have gained more control over the dog. The dog must also learn that certain behaviors on his part are unacceptable, but he must also be taught what behaviors are the right ones. An obedience class may be helpful.

Children often want to hug the dog around the neck. The dog may view this as a threatening gesture rather than an affectionate one. In reaction, a dog may growl, snap or bite. To reduce such risks, a child should pet the dog from underneath his chin rather than hugging him or reaching over his head, should not stare at or look him directly in the eye, and should turn the side of her body toward the dog rather than facing him.

Dogs can be possessive about their food, toys, and space. Although it is normal for a dog to growl or snap to protect these items, it is NEVER acceptable. At the same time, children need to learn to respect their dog as a living creature that is not to be teased or purposefully hurt, and that needs time to himself. He is not a plaything that should always be available to them. If a dog is growling or snapping at children for any reason, the situation needs IMMEDIATE attention. Just punishing the dog is likely to make matters worse.




More info can be found at www.animalplanet.com :)
 

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Useful article.

I'd endorse everything in here with the caveat that this advice applies to all breeds.

I have found labradors brought up in a loving home to be superb companions for adults and children, and not easily provoked.

I'm not sure you could say the same for other breeds.

There are a lot of parents and pet owners out there with fewer brain cells than their children or their pets. I doubt anyone reading these forums would be stupid enough to take it for granted that unattended/uneducated children and any pet would be garanteed to get on without some competant adult supervision.
 

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I have found labradors brought up in a loving home to be superb companions for adults and children, and not easily provoked.
I totally agree Stanley, its very important to remember this.

I think labradors are the ideal family pet. :wink:
 

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id add to this after my most recent experience with poppy.

The new pup gets bombarded from all angles. Some people want to pet your pup 25 hours a day and expect it to let them do that, want to do that whenever the human feels it should.

others expect the dog to play constantly, eat constantly, become toilet trained or behave like a little angel 9the trained Lab) instantly.

Other people , adults and children are just plain stupid !

After some inital concern (it didnt last long) I had to laugh at one of my friends who bought his 6 year old son round to see the dog (unannounced). I answered the door, the puppy charged from the living room, the friend stands at the open door, kid squeezes past and ends up sandwiched between me his dad and the door and the puppy piles in.

I am trying to stop the dog running in the street. The kid is being a kid and his dad is standing there like a lemon. I ask him to come in so I can shut the door whilst trying to get to the dog, the kid grabs at the dog, dad nearly trips over kid and dog. dog jums up and nips kid. kid fills his pants and starts running into the house, dad blocks the door so i cant shut it and kid and dog disappear into the lounge.

By the time i get into the lounge the dogs bouncing all round the kid and for once the shitty smell isnt her doing and the kids balling his eyes out. Dad has look on face that suggests i have just whooped his kid within an inch of his life and am preparing to roast him alive.

The kid is now scared of dogs and his mum and dad aren't taling about th whole affair and im on pain of death from my partner if i mention the affair for the next 30 years !

what a laff. The kid was unharmed (physically at least ) and i can't help thinking that the major upset has happened becasue this little affair has highlighted to his overly protective self absorbed parents that their ownly child isn't the big brave boy they think he is and the year and a half of very very expnsive karate lesons they hve been sending him to were of no use what so ever when the chips were down !

:lol:
 
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