Child and Dog

Child and Dog

Children and dogs can be best friends.
And nowadays there are also scientific indications that the keeping and taking care of animals is a stimulation during the development of a child.
But, children are also many times the victim of dog bites.
Of people treated in hospitals for dog bites, 43% is younger than 10 years in age.
Children often love dogs so much, that they do things precisely opposite the dog likes.

Stroking suddenly, hanging around his neck, pulling his tail, take away his toy; all activities a toddler likes, but normally not appreciated by a dog.
A dog who in this case (very logical) snarl, is not understood by the child
A child is very vulnerable: Its head is at exactly the same height as the mouth of a dog.
So in case the dog bites, it’s normally a strong hit.
Children must learn that a dog or any other animal, is not a toy.
With applying some basic rules for a good relation between child and dog, both can enjoy each others company.



Make sure the dog likes the child.
Children must learn to handle dogs, but dogs need to be made aware that a child in the house (for instance a new born) is nothing more than a nice asset.

When a dog is left out regularly from the normal day to day things like when the baby gets fed, or gets punished when he tries smell at the child, he will soon associate the phenomenon “child” with trouble.


    • Send the dog away when the child gets attention.


    • Grumble at the dog when he’s interested in the child.


  • Teach the dog to stay at its place after the child is at home.


    • Give the dog attention or a snack in the presence of the child is.


    • Let the dog make the connection between “Child and Fun” by, for instance, give him a snack each time you change diapers, or by taking him with you when you go for a stroll with the baby buggy.


  • Give the dog its own safe place already during pregnancy and teach it to go there and stay on command, preferable by means of a snack as reward.



Dogs already live for many decades together with humans, but their behaviour is still partly determined by their instinct.
Food and a save place to lie down are so important to survive, that a dog will do anything to get these and to keep them.
Children have no notion of this and put as a act of fun their head in the dogs bowl, “to eat with the dog” or crawl into his basket to say goodnight.
Lucky enough many dogs do not care about this, but there are also dogs who find this very threatening.
They have no other choice than to growl as a warning but when this not give any result, they will bite.


    • Let the child crawl or walk to the dog, certainly not when it’s on its own place.


    • Let the child interfere with the dog while he’s eating, has a toy or a bone.


    • Let children scream or run in the neighbourhood of the dog.


    • Let children crawl in the neighbourhood of the dog.



    • Let the dog come to the child to do something enjoyable.


    • Let the (somewhat older) child feed he dog by hand, unless the dog does not like others around or is very tense when eating.


    • Children play with the dog for example a “look for” game , whereby the child hides a snack and the dog needs to find it.


    Both will love the game, its not threatening for the dog and it improves the link between them.



It’s simply not possible to learn a child to be master over a dog.
A child is physical and mentally not able to force the dog in a lower position.
Dogs normally recognize this very well. So they will consider and threat the child as lower placed in the herd.



A quarter of all bite accidents is caused by unknown dogs, which by itself is no reason to make a child afraid of dogs, but enough reason to teach a child what and what not to do.
Dog owners are responsible for the education and well behaviour of their dog.
Like in traffic, children need to be teached the rules how to deal with unknown dogs on the street.
You can like dogs or not, but a fact is that they are simply part of every days life.
Lucky enough there are many nice and friendly dogs. But some dogs on the street are (like humans) not nice and unfortunately to many parents allow their children to stroke every dog they encounter.
They think its giving pleasure to their child, but do not realize that a dog can have a complete different opinion on this.


  • Let the child stare at the dog. For a dog this is threatening.
  • Have children walk the dog alone.
  • Let the child hang on to the neck of the dog.
  • Let the child command the dog.


  • Teach the child to look alongside the dog.
  • Take the dog and the children together for a walk.
  • Have the child stroke the dog gentle over its chest.
  • Play a nice game with child and dog.


Every dog can bite whether it’s large or small, black or white, with or without a tail.
A large dangerous looking dog can be a sweet good-natured dog, while a small cuddle dog can do very vicious and the other way around.
Besides that even the most friendly dog can be startled of a child, or is simply not in the mood for being cuddled.
Try yourself, without speaking or the use of your hands, to explain to a total stranger on the street, you don’t like to stroked on the head.



The biggest misunderstanding in the world is that a dog who wags his tail, is a happy dog.
Wagging look nice, but can mean different things like; “hallo, how nice to see you” or “be careful, this is my territory, I’m the boss here, you see?”. But also, “what are you creepy, please go away!



Many people think that another dog will not bite their child, because they have a dog at home.
The dog which sits outside the supermarket waiting for his boss has no message with this!
He does not want to be stroked, or he considers children simple scary. The fact that a child might not be afraid itself, does not influence the dogs behaviour.


  • Let a child stroke an unknown dog
  • Make a child afraid for dogs
  • Allow the child to scream or run away when a dog approaches.
  • The harder it screams or runs, the more interesting the child is for the dog.
  • Let the child stick his hands in the air, or make a beating move to the dog.


    • Teach your child the three rules for stroking a dog.
    • First ask your father or mother. When they are not around: Do not stroke.
    • Than ask the dogs boss. When he’s are not around: Do not stroke.
    • When both have given their permission, than you have to ask the dog: carefully stick out your hand and check or the dog comes closer.

      • When not, he’s not in the mood and must be left alone.


    • When he does, tickle him quietly under his chin or chest. Do not stroke him on the head, most dogs don’t like this at all.




  • Teach a (frightened) child not to run away when a dog approaches, and look the other direction.
  • Teach the child to keep his hands in its pocket or behind its back. Most dogs know from experience that hands often hold snacks and will therefore go for these.
    With hands on the back a dog might sniff at them but will soon loose his interest.
  • Let children and dogs never, absolutely never, alone with each other!!!