Kids and Dogs: How Kids Should and Should Not Interact with Dogs?

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When you decide you want to adopt a dog for your family, you take into consideration a lot of factors: costs, the time you need to take care of him, the space available, and many more. However, adopting a dog is a nice and beneficial experience. Dogs offer you a purpose and help you stay healthy. But their presence has positive effects not only on adults’ mental and physical health but on children’s too. 

Children that grow up having pets are more responsible and empathetic when they reach adulthood. So, it’s clear that dogs have positive effects on everyone’s mood and health. 

At the same time, you should not forget that dogs are animals and they simply do not like certain things. Kids usually are not aware of these small behaviors and end up interacting in the wrong way with your new dog. So, here are some tips and tricks on how kids should interact with dogs. 

How Kids Should Not Interact with Dogs 

Kids are very playful and will easily get head over heels when they will see the new puppy. Their excitement will reach a high level and all they want will be to smother and cuddle the new family member. Dogs need space and time to get comfortable with people and the best way you can do is to take this introduction phase slowly. 

However, kids should avoid adopting some habits that might disturb the dog. 

Kids Should Not Bother Dogs When They Are Eating 

We all know that food is one of the most important resources for us, and so it does for dogs. It is something that makes even the most peaceful dog more aggressive, as it awakens its survival instinct. Food is important for dogs and they should not be disturbed when eating. Teach your kids to not stick their hands in the food bowl when the dog is eating, as he might think that they want to steal his food and will attempt to protect it. 

Kids Should Not Disturb Dogs When They Are Resting 

Dogs do not have tight schedules as we do. They can rest whenever they want or feel to, no matter the hour, day, or place. Kids should avoid disturbing dogs when they rest, as they need sleep to recharge their batteries. 

Dogs need their safe spot where they know they can relax and sleep without being on alert. Sometimes they can wake up scared and agitated if someone has disturbed them. 

The most useful thing to teach your kids is to call the dog by his name. If he wakes up and comes to them, it means that the interaction is okay. On the contrary, if the dog avoids coming, it means that he wants to be left alone to rest. 

Kids Should Not Take Bones or Toys from Dogs’ Mouths 

Dogs are very playful and full of energy, so they are open to a play session almost anytime. They are similar to kids, as they also want to play a lot. When your kids are playing with dogs, they should avoid taking a bone or toy from their mouths. Even though dogs are trained to share and let their toy down, sometimes they might be more determined to make your job of taking the toy back harder. 

Kids Should Avoid Squeezing Dogs 

Kids do not entirely understand the concept of private space, which is valid for dogs too. Hugging is a way kids express their affection towards humans and animals. For them, it is something natural to tightly hug the dog to show their love. Toddlers are not aware of the difference between a gentle pat or hug and a hearty thwack. 

Dogs might easily feel threatened, especially if their private space is invaded so kids should avoid being too harsh in gestures with them. 

Kids Should Not Tease Dogs 

Most kids are curious to find out how dogs (and maybe other pets) react to pokes, blowing, or even riding him as a horse. 

All these behaviors, no matter how funny they might seem, might turn out to be disturbing for dogs. And because they cannot talk to us the way we do; they will have other forms of sending the message that what kids do is wrong. 

They might bite, growl, or show their teeth as a defense mechanism. Some of these behaviors, such as horse riding the dog, can be very painful for dogs and might lead to severe health problems. 

How Kids Should Interact with Dogs 

Kids can be taught how to interact with dogs, and some healthy behaviors are easy to adopt. It may seem that they cannot interact at all with dogs with all these DON’Ts, but this is not true. All you need to do is to teach your kids to do their enthusiasm, read the signs the dogs are sending, and games to play. 

Kids Should Be Polite to Pets 

Teaching your kids how to interact with dogs is important not only in a family setting but also on those occasions where your kids meet other dogs. Keep in mind that every dog reacts differently to people and he should not feel threatened or scared. 

Kids Should Play Appropriate Games with Dogs 

There are some universal games that every dog loves playing. While some will engage in play after they get to know you better, most dogs are happy when they find a play partner. 

Kids should be taught to avoid displaying teasing behaviors towards dogs and instead learn a few nice games. Fetch the ball, the stick or any other object works perfectly. Also, dogs are quite good at hiding and seeking, as their olfactive sense is way more developed than ours. 

Kids Should Teach the Dog Tricks

Kids can also involve more in dog education and they can teach dogs how to shake, beg, or rollover by offering delicious treats. Like this, dogs will learn to associate the kids with a positive experience and they will be more open towards them. Don’t forget to check out an ESA letter to keep your pet with you at all times.

The first thing kids should do with dogs is walk with them. This is an experiential journey where they learn things about each other. Your kids will learn to give your dog the time and space necessary to poop or play with other dogs, while your dog will learn that your kids are protecting him and he should listen to them. 


Dogs are incredible and they can lift your mood instantly. They are playful, full of energy, and very smart. Kids, and especially toddlers, are not always aware that some behaviors might be disturbing to dogs. Teach your kids to let dogs rest and eat and to avoid teasing them. They should learn nice games, such as fetch the ball or hide and seek. 

Dogs can give your life purpose and they make people and children more responsible and empathetic. 

Author bio for the article: Tiffany Harper is an experienced writer and proofreader, currently works as a consultant with She is a subject matter expert for the dissertation writing services and essay help on topics such as the wellbeing and mental healthcare. Tiffany has adopted three dogs and two cats with challenging personalities. Please contact her on twitter.

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