Skip to the main content.
APPLY ONLINE NOW Owner Portal
APPLY ONLINE NOW Owner Portal
Book Grooming

RESOURCES

NEW HERE?

Purchase one full day of doggie daycare, and your dog gets to come back for the second day of fun absolutely FREE! T&Cs apply.

APPLY ONLINE NOW  Get In Touch

 

2 min read

Aim for co-existing rather than being besties

Aim for co-existing rather than being besties

When we have dogs and children in our homes, we sometimes aim for too much with their relationship. We want them to be best friends; we want them to do everything together.

We expect too much.

We expect our dogs to know how to act around a tiny human; we expect them to understand that their shrieks and cries aren't anything to worry about; we expect them to understand what are human toys and what are dog toys.

We expect children to know to use gentle hands around dogs; we expect them to leave a dog that is sleeping or eating, and we expect them to know not to climb or stand on a dog.

Start lowering your expectations to have them co-exist together. They are in the same room but are not actually interacting. Help them slowly learn about one another while they are both calm.

You can start doing simple activities with both the child and dog, but please make sure you listen to any cues that either one doesn't want to do.

Some easy activity examples:

  • a short walk - attach a second lead to the handle of your dog's normal lead. This means your child can't accidentally pull or apply pressure to your dog's lead. It also means that your dog is still attached if your child no longer wants to hold the lead and drops it. Please keep an eye out for your dog, constantly monitoring what the child is doing; it could show the dog's discomfort with the activity.
  • highchair fun - letting your child drop dog-safe food items from their highchair for your dog to eat is a fun activity for both. I often save this until the end of meal times when there's usually already food on the floor, so the dog has to focus on the floor and then. Interacting with the child for food is a bonus for the dog.
  • fetch - start playing fetch with your dog, and then when your dog drops the ball for you, pass it to your child for them to throw. Occasionally, give your child a go at throwing the ball. Please ensure your dog returns the toy to you rather than your child trying to take the toy off of the dog. If your dog chooses to end the game, that is fine; the same goes if your child doesn't want to throw the ball. It may be a good idea to have two of the same ball/toy, so if your child doesn't want to play with the dog anymore but keeps the ball, then you still have a second one to continue the game with the dog.

I adore seeing the relationship developing between my two little girls and my dog, Kai.

The most significant and crucial aspect of their relationship is the no-pressure part. There is no pressure to interact; the child and dog can say no.

The exciting part is that they're not being asked to interact; they choose to. They have a relationship that has been built out of mutual trust and learning about each other slowly and at their own pace.

In the below photo, Kai was asked to lie down and chose to lie where he is. Would the picture be more perfect if he was a bit further back and in line with the girls? Sure, but this photo is all about his choice to be close. The girls can still touch him, so they're happy, but everyone can also move away from each other and stop the interaction without confronting one another.

Untitled design-81

What other easy activities do you get your children and dogs to do together? I would love to hear your comments below.


Laura is the Staff Training Manager for Pets In The City. She is responsible for training caregivers at Pets In City Wairau Park and Silverdale. Laura's philosophy is centred around building a relationship with your dog. She believes that it should be a collaborative effort rather than a situation where the owner demands obedience from their dog.

Laura holds several qualifications and is currently studying for more. She is also a full Association of Pet Dog Trainers New Zealand member.

When she is not at Pets In the City, Laura runs her own successful Dog Training Company, Constructive Canines. To learn more about the training services that Laura provides, visit her website: https://www.constructivecanines.co.nz 

Coprophagia

Coprophagia

Ever wondered why your dog eats poo?! I mean, surely it can't taste yummy!!

Read More
Grapes and Raisins: A Hidden Danger for Dogs

Grapes and Raisins: A Hidden Danger for Dogs

Learn about the potential dangers of grapes and raisins for dogs and how to keep your furry friend safe.

Read More
Protect your furry friend this Easter!

Protect your furry friend this Easter!

Easter is a wonderful time for families to come together, enjoy each other's company, and create lasting memories. As for me, I adore chocolate,...

Read More