Many dogs become nervous or uneasy when kids enter the picture. While some dogs are naturally curious about children, others may not be so welcoming of their presence. This can be problematic if you have young kids or plan on having them in the future. If your dog has shown to get nervous around children you’ll want to keep reading for simple steps that will get them comfortable around your kids.
Why Do Dogs Fear Children?
There are many reasons why your dog may fear children. One of the most common reasons is because they have never been exposed to them before. For example, if you have a new baby in your family, your dog likely hasn’t seen it yet and could be very scared by its presence at first. Dogs that are not used to being around kids may have not had much experience with them, which can lead to fear.
Secondly, your dog’s lack of socialization may be a reason for their fear of children. If they are scared by the presence of other people or animals in general, they may simply be overwhelmed when kids are included in the mix. For example, if your dog is scared by men, they could become intimidated when a little boy comes into the picture.
Lastly, your dog may have been attacked or harmed by kids in the past. If this is the case, they are likely to be very cautious around them to protect themselves from future harm. For example, if you have taken your dog to the park and kids have touched them, jumped on them, or hurt them in any way, your dog will likely fear children.
How To Get Your Dog Comfortable Around Kids
Luckily there are ways to help your dog get used to the presence of kids. Here are some tips that can be extremely helpful with teaching your pup to be comfortable around kids:
1. Begin Socialization From A Young Age
If your dog is new to you, or even if it isn’t, you’re going to want to start socialization with them as early as possible. This will help them get used to being around children at a young age and will hopefully set the tone for future interactions between the two. It’s the safest way to get them acclimated to kids and prevent future fear or anxiety.
2. Make Sure Your Dog Is Calm Before Interacting With Kids
Before they have a proper interaction with children, you’ll want to make sure your dog is calm, cool, and collected. Put them in a happy state by feeding them their favorite toy. If you have a treat ball, that’s even better. In addition to this, make sure your dog is relaxed and not tense in any way before interacting with your kids.
If they are tense, it can cause them to be stressed around children which could lead to negative interactions.
3. Always Supervise & Enforce A Good Amount Of Space
Whenever your dog is interacting with kids you must supervise the interaction closely. You don’t want your kids to start playing roughly with your pup or push them in a way that might cause fear or stress. In addition to this, having a good amount of space between your kids and your dog is also key. This will ensure the safety of both parties involved in the interaction.
4. Don’t Force The Dog To Socialize With Kids
If you have a great relationship with your pup and have been working on it for a while, you may become tempted to push the envelope. Don’t do this unless your dog is completely comfortable with kids and their presence doesn’t make them uneasy at all. If they are fearful of children, forcing interactions between them can cause more harm than good.
When You Should Seek Professional Help
If you have been struggling with your dog’s fear of kids, it may be time to seek professional help. In some cases, your dog might have a phobia when it comes to being around young children and their presence could cause increased anxiety in them. Many professionals can put together a behavior modification program for you and your pooch that will get them acclimated to kids and help them learn how to properly interact with them.
In other cases, if your dog has been attacked or harmed by kids in the past, you may want to consider training them to be around them again. If your dog is being attacked or harmed by children, it’s in your best interest to get professional training from a qualified behaviorist that will help you teach your pooch how to properly enjoy their presence without feeling fear or anxiety.