How To Train Your Dog To Handle A Toddler

According to a survey, around 67% of households in the United States own a pet. Out of which most of them are dog lovers. Dogs tend to be the most faithful and obedient pet animals. But the actual scenario is not as simple as it seems. A lot of hard work and training goes behind that unbreakable bond for both the human parent and his pet dog. It takes quite some time for a pet dog to adjust and adapt to the family as well as the change in the environment.

Now, one of the concerning factors is what kind of dog training will ensure safety for kids? Every owner must have in-depth knowledge about the behavioral nature of their dogs. Along with other essential pieces of training that the pet undergoes, it is also necessary to understand that they are not the only loved ones at home. There can be an increase in aggression, possessiveness, or fear in their nature after adoption. Specific training is essential while introducing them to a baby or a toddler. This will help to grow their emotional bonding with children and reduce the risk of harming them. Proper precautionary measures are also a must along with disciplining them.

Benefits of training a dog 

As time goes by, the bond between a child and his dog becomes stronger. However, while introducing each other, both of them need their share of training. Some significant advantages of regular training and practice are as follows:

  • Training will ensure that both pet owners and their pets are safe and sound. 
  • Every dog has a different emotional characteristic depending upon their age, lifestyle, and breed, disciplining them will help them socialize.
  • They can do necessary and daily activities on their own.
  • Training a dog will control their fear and aggression. 
  • A well-trained canine will know the life skills and use them as and when required. 
  • Proper training will help them to lead a happy and content life with his human family.

Along with training to pets, it is also essential that the family members, too, bestow the required time and love upon the new addition. A contribution from both sides will enhance the relationship.

What kind of training methods will help a dog be comfortable around a toddler?

The reaction of dogs can change when introduced to a human baby. Dogs that are otherwise quite friendly and discipline suddenly changes their behavior when around a toddler. It can be due to various reasons. Dogs may feel a sense of threat from toddlers as they are quite naughty and fear towards making sudden loud noises. They may not like the frequent touching and pulling off their ears and tail. Some dogs are also possessive for the affection that his family gives the toddler. Thus, children possess a high risk from dogs without proper training at the right time. Below are a few training strategies for imparting in a dog when introduced to a child:

Command training: 

Every dog in his initial years must first learn about a few basic commands. The command must accompany the name of the dog as well. It will be easier for the canine to relate to the particular order. The general authorities can include:

  • Heel- This command will improve his walking style
  • Sit- The pet will follow whenever you order him to sit. A light touch on his body will make him sit if he doesn’t do it himself.
  • Come- Also, teach him to come to a definite place whenever asked. The use of a non-retractable rope for this can be beneficial.
  • Stay- This command will help them to know when he is said to halt. 
  • Fetch- Dogs love to play. A command related to it will distract them from another activity whenever necessary.

These basic commands are easy to teach a dog when they are less than three months old. Early training has its advantages. With toddlers around, commanding a dog to involve him with his activities can be a method of involvement as well as distraction. 

Obedience training: 

Along with commands and orders, it is also necessary to train the pets to be respectful. Such drills include activities like potty training and food training. While preparing a dog to handle a toddler, he must know where he should urinate and defecate. A trained dog will not snatch the food provided to a kid and shall be content with his share. A dog-free toddler room will ensure that a trained pet does not enter that room.

Household training: 

A family with little kids and pet dogs, it is advisable that the dogs know the basic rules of the house. These may include which room to enter and which not, eating area, areas where he is permitted and prohibited, etc. These rules depend on the provisions of the respective homes as per requirement.

Socializing: 

It is also necessary for every pet dog to know people other than his family members. It shall help him to control his fear and threat from outsiders and minimize his aggression. Similarly, while introducing to a child, the canine will feel accommodated and not threatened. A stroll in the neighborhood or a nearby park can help them socialize with new members, kids, and guests.

Space and time: 

Training on different characters will be fruitful when the pets have their necessary space and time to adapt and adjust. Similar to humans, dogs, too, may not be receptive to training on the very first day. Patience and practice will gradually make them comfortable with their surroundings.

Sports: 

Overaggressive dogs can redirect their aggression in other activities. When basic training does not work to minimize a pet’s temperament, one can introduce them to outdoor activities and sports. A lot of their energy will divert to a different sector, and they will look forward to it every day.

Bonding with other kids: 

Familiarization of pet dogs to other kids will help who are pet lovers too. This process will help them understand kids better. When they are around a toddler, this training strategy will gradually make them less vulnerable.

Accustom with baby sounds: 

If pets are not aware of any previous baby nature, their training can include the habit of baby noises and sounds. When the toddler is around and makes sudden noises, the pet will not feel threatened and will be able to impart his skills, if necessary.

Strict supervision: 

Training dogs is an ongoing process. Completion is not possible in a day or two. Thus, along with practice sessions, when the dog is with a toddler, he will also have the practical sessions. It will give better results. But they should never be left alone. At least one grown-up must supervise them to prevent any unfortunate incident.

Training a pet dog is not an easy task. Pet owners who are aware of the skills and procedures can provide these basics on their own. But others, who are new pet parents, ask for professional help or admit them to dog schools.

Tips while training a dog

  • Start training at a young age for puppies.
  • For older dogs, training should start soon after adoption.
  • Prior training will give them comfort around toddlers.
  • Small food treats will help them learn better.
  • You may provide them with new toys as per the requirement as a token of appreciation.
  • Dog cones around their head will prevent them from biting.
  • Ensure regular vaccinations and other medical check-ups

However, the training procedure of a dog for handling a toddler is a two-way process. A toddler, too, must be made aware of their actions towards their pet. Both of them must be made aware of each other’s presence from a tender age. It will give them ample time to make their bond stronger.

As parents, their love and attention should not discriminate. Dogs can be possessive. Providing them their undivided attention and warmth will ensure them that they are parents to both of them. In this modern world, pet owners need to train their pets. It is not only to safeguard their family members’ safety, but also a positive relationship with neighbors and toddlers in and around society.

As dogs cannot express in words, pet parents must follow their actions and activities to check any anomaly. Proper training, healthy meals, and regular exercise will ensure all-round development of the pet dog with the parents, kids, and other community members.

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