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11 Things You Should Beware Of When Kids And Dogs Are Living Together

11 Things You Should Beware Of When Kids And Dogs Are Living Together

Kids and dogs usually get along just fine. They can be great playmates and having a dog around can teach kids a lot about respect and kindness for our animal friends. But problems may arise when kids and dogs are left unsupervised or training has been neglected. This can lead to aggressive behavior and may result in injury. There are 4.7 million dog bites a year in the USA and half of these victims are children. It is a well known fact that 9 out of 10 victims knew the dog in question. It was either a neighbor’s dog or the family pet. One study showed that the family pet was responsible for about 30% of bites.

The bottom line is that children and dogs need training so that they can learn to respect their territories. Here are 11 tips if you happen to be a dog owner which is in contact with kids or you have a dog at home when children are born.

1. Dogs need to be trained

If your dog is part of the family, make sure that you have dedicated time for basic training so that when kids play around him, there are no problems. This is easier if the dog is a puppy so that you can start early on. Dogs should not be allowed in the dining room or kitchen at mealtimes because this can set off a whole series of incidents and problems and may end up with the dog trying to steal the child’s food. Basic obedience training needs to cover the following:

  • Sit
  • Walking with a leash
  • Down
  • Stay
  • Come

Using treats such as food, favorite toys or physical contact such as a tummy rub are great ways to reward the dog as it makes progress. You also need to be calm and consistent and avoid any punishing treatment which will turn the dog off training for ever.

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2. Supervise kids and dogs playing

This is essential as kids have to get used to dogs and how they react to being played with. Many dogs cannot stand all the shouting and shrieking. At least, if you have started with the basic training, it is fairly easy to keep things under control. Experts say that kids should be at least four years old before they can be left alone with dogs but you have to be the best judge of that. There is some excellent advice in the book by Colleen Pelar, Living with Kids and Dogs . . . Without Losing Your Mind: A Parent’s Guide to Controlling the Chaos (Volume 2)

3. Kids need training, too

You have to teach toddlers from early on to respect the dog’s territorial limits. No dog likes the facial close-ups or being stared at in the eyes. Also teaching the child early on to teach the dog to sit is a good way to start.

In addition, kids have to become aware that there may be problems if the dog is playing with a toy and the child comes too close. Similar problems could arise when the dog is eating his food.

They also need to be careful about poking things into the dog’s ears or yanking its tail. Teaching the child about how a dog reacts to pain, aggression or fright is important, too.

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4. Think about having your dog neutered

There are some advantages in this as the dog tends to be less aggressive and also will not bother too much about roaming. That could save him or her from being put down or ending up in misery in an animal shelter. Also female dogs will urinate less, thereby avoiding intrusion by neighbors’ dogs looking for a mating partner. This makes for a quieter home life for dogs, parents and kids alike.

5. Dogs need their space, too

There will be times when it is not appropriate that the dog is around such as when a toddler is learning to walk. A dog also wants a bit of peace and quiet so creating a space for them in a back room, or outside if the weather is clement, is a good idea. Very young children should not have access to the dog’s private area. You can find a kennel or crate or both. It also reduces a lot of the mess when older dogs become incontinent. Pet doors or dog flaps to their own area is an excellent idea as it saves you or the kids opening the door for them all the time!

6. Dogs can be helped with homeopathic medicine

When dogs get too nervous, agitated or stressed out, you may find that there is a lot of barking, scratching and growling going on. This can sometimes happen when the pet is under stress or there has been past abuse. A great way to avoid any problems with the kids is to administer a homeopathic remedy which can calm the pet down. Look for remedies which contain Scutellaria, Chamomilla, Arsen alb and Belladonna. It makes life easier for everybody.

7. Choosing the right dog

There may come a time when your kids really want a dog or you may have to replace a previous pet. There are several things to bear in mind when choosing one:

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  • Large dogs may knock children over too easily
  • Guard dogs may not be appropriate
  • Dogs who bark a lot are not recommended
  • Consider certain breeds of dogs which are more adapted to families such as beagles, bulldogs and labradors.
  • Avoid highly strung and hysterical small dogs

8. Monitor your dog training

Dog experts recommend that you watch out for problem areas which may indicate that more dog training is needed. You may find that the dog jumps up on children or growls and snaps at them. At this point you may have to be much stricter with the obedience training and more vigilant in your supervision.

9. Teach children how to treat dogs gently

It is amazing to see how some children are always tugging, poking and pinching dogs and most of the time, dogs put up with it. But one day, they will react and there could be serious consequences.

It is much better to teach kids how to pet a dog and they can practise with a toy before trying their gentle strokes on the dog.

10. When dogs bark too much

Sometimes dogs will bark at the slightest noise and this may be a problem with a sleeping baby or adults. There are electronic anti-barking collars available now and this may be one solution. Another possibility is to move the dog as far away as possible while the baby is sleeping.

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11. Decide on sleeping arrangements

It is incredible that some parents allow their kids to sleep with the family pet. This can lead to enormous problems down the road, not least with hygiene and behavior. Obviously, the dog must have his own bed, preferably in its own private area.

If parents are committed to living together in harmony with a dog, they will need to dedicate time and effort to make sure that the experience is a happy one for the whole family.

Let us know how your kids and dogs get along together in the comments and how you prevented any problems from developing.

Featured photo credit: Jules and the boys/Kristopher Volkman via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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