When your loving family enjoys family time, it can hardly go without your precious dog, can’t it? Still, there is one little, yet no so little a problem – your little one is scared of the family god. As a caring parent, you are somebody that needs to help your child deal with any sort of problem. Since the problem is friendship between your four-legged fluffy friend and your little one, these some useful advice that you can implement and help your child overcome the fear of dogs and enjoy the time spent together:
Let’s start with what your child shouldn’t do in order to get along with your dog:
It is an expected reaction from a child (or anyone who is afraid and doesn’t know better) to scream, flap their arms, run away, freeze, or get anxious. Even though to your child this is signal of fear, a dog will perceive it as an invitation to play and run, therefore there will surely be some running, chasing after your kid and so on. Plus, dogs being dogs, they easily become aggressive in this play. So, in order to stop this from happening, teach your child the way to behave around dogs. Encourage him/her to act calmly and not make sudden moves. Obviously, the kid will be afraid at the beginning – but practice makes perfect. Thus, after your kid repeats this several times, it will become an inherent reaction, your child will realize that the dog isn’t reacting to their being calm and the fear will be gone.
If the kid is really afraid…
There is a possibility your child has a pathological fear of dogs and this can’t be overcome with simple steps. It usually involves talking to an expert. Still, if it’s not as serious a situation, yet your child simply cannot stand being around a dog, a thing he/she can do when the dog is there is cross their arms and turn their back to the dog. This way, the dog gets the signal that there will be no playing, jumping and running around and he immediately loses interest into interacting with the child. Also, teach your child to, if he/she is addressing the dog, to do it in calm, soothing tones. Additionally, don’t forget to tell your child straying dogs are not always friendly.
Overcoming the fear
Engage your child into dog feeding, walking the dog, bathing him…
Even though it sounds ridiculous to have your kid around a hungry dog, trust me – it’s a start and a wise plan. Why? With being engaged in an activity such as feed, the kid creates a connection with the dog and realizes not everything is so bad. Also, when the dog realizes that the kid giving him food is friendly, he will instantly recognize he/she is not his target audience for biting or similar. Each next time, the dog and the kid will create a deeper connection. This also goes for dog walking – let the kid hold the leash from time to time. Eventually, the kid will want to walk the dog alone. When you bathe the dog, let the kid watch and learn how it’s done. Step by step, and your child will engage into washing and bathing of the dog and overcome the fear. At the beginning, make sure you are always there. You can even feed the dog together – this is good for 2 reasons: first one, the dog knows, likes you and trusts you and second one, the kid will feel safer knowing you are there if anything bad happens.
If your child doesn’t have a pathological fear, everything is fine. Basically, you need to have a lot of patience and be a connective tissue between your child and your dog, and help things balance out. The ideas we’ve given are just some. You can be creative!
Andrea Hudson is a full time mom and a passionate dog lover. In her free time she enjoys exercising and reading about alternative medicine. Useful information for this article has been kindly provided by Stefmar.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents of children afraid of dogs.