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Tuesday Training Byte: Kids and nipping pups

Many people have an idealistic view of raising a pup to grow up with their kids. Dogs can be great companions for children, however, most dog bites are from the family dog to one of the household children under age 10. The problem is that young children often behave in a way that they are perceived by the pup as "prey". This includes jumping, running, swinging arms, squealing- in general typical kid behavior. Then the dog gets in on the fun and becomes the "predator" by chasing and nipping at the kids, even knocking them over. If your children are permitted to tease the pup and encourage the chase, the matter can quickly escalate. If neighbor kids come over, the dog may even make sure the home team wins- usually resulting in someone getting bitten. The problem is that the dog will be a dog (predator), and kids will be kids (acting like prey). It is actually surprising that more kids do not get bit. How to correct the problem: supervise and teach your children to move calmly and slowly around the dog. If friends come over, put the dog up (to avoid a lawsuit or having to euthanize the poor pup). Have a rule of no teasing or playing rough in any form. If the pup tries to nip at their heels, teach your child to be like a tree. Stop moving, stand up straight, arms folded across in front, looking down & away. If the dog tries a sneak attack from behind, have the child slowly pivot in place so the dog remains to their front.


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