From Timmy and Lassie to Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, popular culture and literature of all sorts are littered with the special relationship that a child can have with his or her dog. And as many of us have witnessed at first hand, the phenomenon is not restricted to the small screen or the pages of fiction. Dogs are loving, loyal and playful and can make a perfect companion for any child.
Of course, this sort of wonderful and rewarding relationship only comes about if both the child and the dog have a perfect understanding and trust in each other. If you considering buying one of the many puppies or dogs for sale in Manchester, here are some tips to make sure everything goes well for some perfect Enid Blyton style adventures!
Establishing the hierarchy
Dogs are pack animals and understand hierarchies. This is one of the things that makes them such perfect pets – we all know that cats make good pets too, but as they are by nature solitary, it can sometimes be a case of a square peg in a round hole. A dog, on the other hand, understands and welcomes being part of a family dynamic.
The problem that can arise is when the dog’s position in the hierarchy is not clear, and that can be the case when children are involved. The dog will understand that the adults are pack leaders, but will often think that he is next in the pecking order, above the kids.
This is why an otherwise obedient dog might ignore a child’s commands, and it could even result in the dog displaying aggression if the child approaches. It is imperative that the “pack leader” adopts a zero-tolerance approach to this sort of behaviour before it becomes in any way entrenched.
Understanding the rules
It is equally important for the child to understand the ground rules. There is a time and place for play, but if the dog is eating, sleeping or in its bed or crate, leave it alone.
At the same time, encourage the child to do more than just play with the dog – teach him or her to instruct the dog to sit, stay, lie down and so on, and also to attach and unclip the lead at walk times. Supervise closely to make sure the dog does as instructed, and soon your four-legged family member will understand that although the child is smaller, he or she is still the boss.
Don’t go looking for trouble
Almost every problem that arises between kids and dogs is completely avoidable when you bear in mind that for both, most behaviours are learnt. If you do not teach a dog that it must never jump up at people, then do not be surprised when it knocks your child over, and if you feed a dog snacks from the table, then you can expect it to steal from your child’s plate when your back is turned.
Put the time and effort into making sure you have a well-trained dog with a regular routine, and you can sit back and watch the special relationship blossom between child and dog.