National Dog Warden Association (NDWA)
33
years
1984 - 2017

KEEPING CHILDREN AND DOGS SAFE FROM EACH OTHER

Wed, 19 Feb 2014

Like the rest of the country, the members of the National Dog Warden Association are shocked at the two dog related fatalities involving children in Lancashire and Wales and as an association we offer our heartfelt condolences to the parents and families of both children.

Whilst dogs are treated as members of the family and while your own dog may be totally attuned to a baby or a small child living in the family group and will tolerate being trodden on or played with, not all dogs like this kind of interaction or may have never interacted with children.

The majority of dog owners know their dogs likes and dislikes and will recognise that whilst the dog is fine with children, it does not like cats or dogs. Other dogs may be okay with all three or a combination of these, or may not like any? It is not illegal to own a dog that does not like children, cats or other dogs, the dog owners knowledge of their own dog prevents any kind of incident occurring as they take appropriate action to prevent the dog interacting.

Likewise animal and dog rescue organisations will carry out an assessment of a dog as being suitable for rehoming and therefore not a risk to people. Many will have a caveat that dogs will not be rehomed where there are small children. As that is a particular animal organisations own procedure, that in itself offers protection to children.

There are many dog behaviour experts available to advise a dog owning family on how to introduce a baby or small child into the family as there is also advice on how to introduce a new dog into a family with small children.

All dog owners should never ever leave small children and dogs on their own in any environment and NDWA urges those who are thinking of introducing a baby or a dog into a family group to seek appropriate advice before doing so.



DOGS TRUST'S GOLDEN RULES

Never leave your dog alone with your baby/child

Never punish or shout at your dog for approaching your baby/child

Always praise your dog for behaving gently with your baby/child

Always keep your baby/child well away from your dog&rsquos food bowl

Never let your baby/child interrupt his sleep or take away his toys

Never let your baby/child shout in your dog&rsquos face or pull his tail Involve your dog in as much family life as possible so he feels included

If you are a new parent, always make time to stroke or groom your dog

Train your dog to go to his den or room when necessary, and remember to keep your baby/ child &ndash and extra guests - away from him when he is there.

If the family dog has started to show signs of aggression towards your child we recommend a two-step plan:

Firstly take him to a vet for a check-up to make sure he is not in pain If he is healthy, request a referral to a trained behaviourist.

If your dog has been adopted from Dogs Trust, keep in contact with the trained behavioural advisers- they can offer you the correct advice and support. 

For information on how to stay safe around dogs and our top tips, go to www.dogstrust.org.uk


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