Credits: Elena Nasledova

5 Tips for Teaching Kids to Play with Dogs Safely

by | November 21, 2018

Every kid should learn how to act around dogs, whether you have a dog at home or not. A lot of kids are naturally drawn to dogs. But, they need to learn a few rules to be able to play with dogs safely. Here are 5 tips all parents should teach their kids about respecting dogs and protecting themselves:

play with dogs safely
Credits: Alena Ozerova

Tips to teach your kid to play with dogs safely

1. Always ask permission before petting.
“Teach your child to always stand back and ask before petting a dog,” says Bobbie Bhambree, the director of pet behavior at North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington, New York.

2. Show the dog you’re friendly.
Reaching out quickly can startle a dog. Instead, your child should offer an open palm a couple of inches away from her own body, allowing the pup to approach and sniff.

3. Pet smartly.
“Once the dog warms up to you, gently stroke it under the chin,” says Bhambree. “The dog can see where your hand is, which makes him more comfortable.”

4. Think like a dog.
Ask your child: “If you were eating or sleeping, would you be happy if your sister started poking at you?” Thinking from dog’s perspective ensures your kids is able to play with dogs safely. 

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5. Play fetch with two balls.
As soon as the dog brings one ball back, have your child show it the other. “The dog will drop the one in his mouth to catch the new one. Then your child can safely pick it up,” says Bhambree. This trust building exercise is an essential step towards teaching kids to play with dogs safely. 


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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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