Kids and puppies seem to be made for each other. I believe all kids should have a dog, but children need to be taught the rules, and parents need to remember that proper supervision is necessary whenever the dog is around the children.
How irresistible is this cute, little furry “live stuffed animals” that kids want to pick up, hug, and squeeze and carry around like a doll? Children should be shown how to property pick the puppy up, they should first sit down on the floor with the pup and be taught to put both their arms and hands around the puppy’s belly and hold it close to the chest. Puppies are big wiggle-worms and children need to know how to hold firmly and not squeeze the pup, they are to be taught not to pull tails and ears, puppies are not “stuffed” they are live beings. A puppy’s mouth is his defense, hurting or teasing is top reasons that a dog can bite a child.
Children may not be aware that they are teasing the dog, they get all excited and jump around making noises, raising their hands over the puppies head trying to make him jump, the child thinks it a fun game, but the pup may see it differently. To the pup, its chase and catch, the pup is trying to catch the object, causing him to use his teeth and mouth to grab, and soon we have a child running to mommy crying he has been bitten “caught”
I can not stress supervision enough. Just as you teach your children to keep their hands off the stove, you must teach them not to take things out of the dog’s mouth. I encourage you as the adult to be able to do this, but a child should be taught what they can do with there own dog is not the same with every dog and if kids think they can do it at home, they do not realize that dogs on the street are different.
You are the adult, a pack leader, the educator, the specialist, you must teach both the child and the pup the rules. The dog must quickly learn his place in the human family pack. The pup must learn its place is at the bottom of the pack. Never make the dog more important then the child, and it’s easy to do without realizing it. The dog must learn that the child is not his equal, not just a playmate but above him in the family pack.
A good exercise for this is what we call, “popcorn therapy”.
In a family group usually there are people of different ages and sizes. Most times dogs will respect the authority figure of the household, and will have less respect for those with less authority.
So we want to condition the dog to respect all the human animals in the pack.
Popcorn therapy will go a long way in helping you with this lesson.