By: Katie Clark, Director of Training at Peace Love Dogs,

The bond between children and dogs can be special and, quite frankly, adorable!

However, maintaining a safe and harmonious relationship can take a lot of work. Here

are a few tips to create an environment where kids and dogs coexist happily:

Prevention is everything! Establish a safe space for your dog, such as a crate or pen,

where they can relax independently. This not only provides a refuge for the dog, but

also teaches kids to respect the pet’s personal space. Setting these parameters early on

lays the foundation for a mutually respectful relationship.

Guidance is equally essential. It is important to show kids how to appropriately interact

with their dog. Teach them to approach the dog calmly, avoid sudden movements, and

to be gentle with their affection. Children can also learn to identify canine body language

with the use of picture books, videos, and real life opportunities.

Inclusion is a powerful tool for cultivating bonds. Involve your dog in various family

activities safely, from daily walks to relaxing evenings watching TV or even car rides to

and from school! These shared, positive experiences strengthen the connection

between children and their pups.

Clarity in communication is critical. Teach both your dog and children the expectation of

respecting personal boundaries. A strong “Leave It” cue for dogs can set these

expectations clearly, and spare your child’s favorite plush toy from a tragic de-stuffing!

Limit access to high-value items, such as chews or bones, to your dog’s safe space to

avoid potential conflicts and ensure a safer environment for everyone.

Involve the whole family in dog training! Get everyone involved in age-appropriate

exercises, turning training sessions into a collaborative activity. This not only enhances

the dog’s behavior, but also promotes a sense of responsibility and teamwork among

family members.

By incorporating these principles into your family routine, you can create a secure and

loving environment where the relationship between kids and dogs thrives, ensuring the

well-being of both tiny humans and their pups. If you need help implementing any of

these tips, ask a professional dog trainer!